Tag Archives: Savages

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

At the conclusion of “Savages, Part I”, the English settlers and the warriors led by Powhatan were preparing for battle (with the latter planning to execute John Smith first thing in the morning). Meanwhile, Pocahontas has fled to Grandmother Willow, upset and depressed that everything is falling apart and the man she’s so recently fallen in love with is going to be executed and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

Grandmother Willow tries to give some advice, reminding Pocahontas of her dream, but she isn’t in the mood to hear it. Meeko, however, is inspired to dig inside his hole in the tree for something.

This “something” turns out to be John Smith’s compass, which contains a large arrow shaped needle inside (Meeko had swiped it during an earlier meeting and Smith had let the raccoon keep it). Pocahontas watches the compass and realizes that as she turns it in her hands, the arrow/needle spins, just like the arrow in her dream!!

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From the moment Pocahontas picked the compass up, the music has begun to pick up in intensity (clearly signalling that something big is about to happen). When she makes the connection between the compass needle and her dream, it picks up a little more. At the peak, there is a short, instrumental refrain of “Listen With Your Heart” as several things happen at once: the sun rises (it’s time for the execution) and the compass needle comes to a stop pointing directly east. The meaning is clear: Pocahontas needs to stop the execution.

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With this decision made, the song resumes with an abrupt cut to Ratcliffe literally walking out of the sunrise, cutting a villainous figure in his black armor. At the same time, Powhatan and his warriors begin the march to the execution site (with Smith in tow) while, in a THIRD musical thread, Pocahontas begins her run to stop an all-out war!

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And, according to the song, Pocahontas truthfully doesn’t know if she can stop this war from happening, but with the power of the spirits (which she invokes along the way), she’s certainly going to try. This semi-hopeful verse is sharply contrasted with the two warring sides who are basically singing the same words (so I’m copying the verse in full):

(Them:)This will be the day/This will be the morning/We will see them dying in the dust

(Pocahontas): I don’t know what I can do/still I know I have to try

(Them):Now we make them pay!

(Pocahontas): Eagle help my feet fly!/(Them): Now without a warning

(Pocahontas): Mountain help my heart be great/(Them): Now we leave ’em blood and bone and dust

(Pocahontas):Spirits of the Earth and Sky/(Them): It’s them, or us

(Pocahontas): Please don’t let it be too late!!/Them: They’re just a bunch of filthy, stinking…

(Them): Savages, savages/demons, devils (kill them!)/savages, savages, what are we waiting for? Destroy their evil race, until there’s no a trace left!

(Pocahontas): How loud are the drums of war!!/Them: Now we see what comes, of trying to be chums/ Pocahontas: Is this the death of all I love, carried in the drumming of…

(All): WAR!!!

Towards the end, all three groups converge at a cliff where the tribe has assembled to execute Smith as revenge for Kocuom’s death. While the approaching settlers watch in horror, Powhatan prepares to crush Smith’s skull with a war hammer (a club with a large stone set in it). At the last moment, Pocahontas darts forward and throws herself over Smith before the hammer can fall.

Saved!!! For now anyway. Pocahontas has an ultimatum: if Powhatan wants to kill John Smith, he has to kill her too, and also she loves him (to the surprise of her father). All of this, Pocahontas says, is the result of walking a path of anger. She, meanwhile, will choose love.

Moved by what his daughter has said, and seeing the slaughter that will come if they continue, Powhatan swears that if there will be any more killing “it will not start with me” and he orders Smith to be released. Everyone begins to lower their weapons, and war seems to have been averted…which is great…right?

Ratcliffe doesn’t think so. This was his big chance to take the Indians out and now the battle isn’t happening at all!. He tries to take advantage by shouting for his men to fire, but the settlers aren’t having it. The whole point of attacking was to rescue Smith, but the tribe has let him go so clearly they don’t want to fight (and therefore neither should they). Seeing his control slip away, Ratcliffe decides to force the issue, grabbing a musket and taking aim at Powhatan. Smith sees this and shoves the chief out of the way just as Ratcliffe fires, taking the bullet instead. Instead of sparking a new conflict, this backfires horribly and Ratcliffe finds him at the receiving end of the settlers’ wrath (a great comeuppance for Ratcliffe by the way, since he ends up being hog-tied by the end).

So on the one hand, the day is saved, but on the other, John is badly injured. This is one Disney film that won’t have the typical ending. How do I mean? Well, you’ll have to check out the finale to find out 🙂

It nearly goes without saying that “Savages, Parts I and II” are one of my favorite Disney songs and I hope you enjoyed reading about it and listening to it.

You can become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Pocahontas, see also:

Pocahontas “The Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine!” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

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Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

I wanted to save this song for last, but I couldn’t hold out any longer!!!

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With practically every Disney film ever made, there comes a point where events spiral out of control and everything is on the verge of disaster!! “Savages, Part I” begins at such a moment: Kocuom is dead at the hands of Thomas, but only Pocahontas and John Smith know that. The warriors who capture Smith assume that, as the only white man present, that HE fired the shot, and even if Pocahontas told them the truth, they wouldn’t believe her. Chief Powhatan is beyond disappointed in his daughter and he also blames her for Kocuom’s death (“because of YOUR foolishness, Kocuom is dead!”)

Pocahontas “Savages Part I” (1995)

But the turmoil in the village is nothing compared to what’s brewing in the English camp. Thomas has gone racing back to report Smith’s capture, rousing everyone in the process. Ratcliffe is secretly delighted by this turn of events; he’s been itching for any excuse for an all out attack on the “savages” and this provides the perfect opportunity.

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“Savages” begins with Ratcliffe stirring the settlers into a frenzy, reminding them that these “savages” are no good, they deserve to die because they’re different, etc.For example:

What can you expect/from filthy little heathens/here’s what you get when races are diverse!

Their skin’s a hellish red/they’re only good when dead/they’re vermin as I’ve said and worse!!

Actually, the soundtrack version of the song is much nastier, the opening line goes: …from filthy little heathens/their whole disgusting race is like a curse! (I think they realized when they developed this song, that they were going a step too far and they adjusted the line for the home video release of the film.)

Theses opening verses are so openly racist that in the years since its release, this song in particular has gotten a lot of flak, with critics saying the song’s sentiments are completely inappropriate.While is is true that “Savages” expresses racist sentiments, that’s also the point of the entire song!! This song is fully exposing Ratcliffe as the evil, racist villain he’s always been, and the settlers are fully caught up in the wake of his ranting (except for Thomas, who has his own doubts).

They’re savages!
Savages! Barely even human!

Savages! Savages! Drive them from our shore!
They’re not like you and me, which means they must be evil
We must sound the drums of war!

They’re savages!
Savages!
Dirty shrieking devils!

Now we sound the drums of war!

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With the English settlers ramped up to go to war, the song switches to Powhatan’s village, where the villagers are making preparations of their own. While the English consider the Indians to be “savages”, the natives consider the white men to be “demons” who must be wiped out before anyone else can die.

This is what we feared/the pale-face is a demon/the only thing they feel at all is greed.

Beneath that milky hide/there’s emptiness inside/I wonder if they even bleed??

They’re savages! Savages!

Barely even human! Savages! Savages!

Killers at the core…

They’re different from us,
which means they can’t be trusted…

We must sound the drums of war!

They’re savages!
Savages!
First we deal with this one
Then we sound the drums of war!

John Smith can only watch as the war preparations continue, with the Indians planning to execute him before the battle. The camera cuts back and forth to show how alike the two sides really are: both are arming for war, both are really angry and both are beating “the drums of war” (no matter how different they look, a drum is a drum.)

The truth is, both sides are blinded by hatred. Neither can see that they are equally human because one looks different from the other. It’s interesting how, in the song, each side is color-coded and made to look increasingly not-human (the English are colored orange/crimson and the Indians are colored indigo with war paint added on top of it).

Things are definitely out of control, and if the two sides meet, it’s going to be bad (mostly for the Indians, because the English settlers have a lot of muskets and cannons and arrows and spears will have practically zero effect on that kind of firepower.) What’s going to happen? Will John Smith die at sunrise? We’ll find out in “Savages, Part II” !!!!

You can become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Pocahontas, see also:

Pocahontas “The Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine!” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂