Details

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, 1994. Directed by Xavier Koller, and co-starring Adam Beach Squanto, Sheldon Peters Wolfchild as Mooshawset, Irene Bedard as Nakooma, Eric Schweig as Epenow, Leroy Peltier as Pequod, Michael Gambon as Sir George, Mandy Patinkin as Brother Daniel. Nat plays Thomas Dermer.

 

 

Plot Summary

Squanto (Adam Beach), a young warrior abducted from his homeland and enslaved must battle impossible hazards on a desperate journey home. Driven by a passion to be free, he risks everything to escape his captors, braving the wilderness and triumphing, finally, as a great leader. His ordeals begin when Squanto is abducted by British sailors. Thomas Dermer (Nathaniel Parker) is the interpreter of the sailors who are roaming the North American shore. He is the one who's taking care of the communications between the Indians and the British sailors. These white people have one goal: making money out of the natives. They have to get two or three natives to England for entertainment purposes. Squanto is the one that succeeds in escaping from his prison in England, only to realize that he has nowhere to run to. He doesn't speak the White man's language and he doesn't understand the ways of acting accordingly to the White man's codex. He meets Brother Daniel (Mandy Patinkin), which is quite an unusual man. He teaches him English, tries to get some kind of education into his head. Funny enough, the white teacher learns a lot from "his" native in return. Squanto - with the help of Daniel - finally returns to his people, only to find that they have been killed. He is the one that will help the White settlers survive the first months on his American territory.

General Review

The movie is good Walt Disney Family fun with a little educational aspect. You will get upset if you are keen on getting all the historical facts of the native Americans and their first contacts with the White right. This movie is in the best sense of the word good entertainment with no deeper thought on historically exact characters or circumstances. It points to the right direction in its message, but it is not like Amistad or Dances with Wolves, a description of American history that in some sense comes at least near to what might have been in the past. It's a small reminder on what happened to the natives that first approached the Whites on the eastern shores of America and how those natives welcomed - in spite of their experiences - the first settlers. Take comfort in the thought that no character is shown in detail, we are being shown the big picture here, right?

Nat Review

Unfortunately we don't get to see much of Nat in this one. He's being put into a ridiculous costume and his hairdo is really nuts. He's one of the bad guys who's trying to be good. He's being tugged to and fro without ever really taking one side. He has a merciful heart, but he isn't brave enough to do something for the Indian prisoners like Brother Daniel does. He knows that the natives are human beings, just like himself and they are being mistreated. And be sure that's why this character will fail. He knows that he has to help Squanto, but he doesn't. His job is more important to him than anything or anyone else, even his own conscience. Sitting between the chairs has always been the sign of weakness in Disney movies. And naturally, he fails because of this weakness. What we see of Nat is very good acting with too little space to develop his role. This comes in addition to an all too simple script. I would have loved to have seen more of Nat in this one, plus a little more courage in the message of this movie.

Status

Available on DVD 

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