Disneys 33rd animated classic Pocahontas was first released on the big screen in 1995. It was in 1996 that it was first released on video in the UK under the banner Walt Disney Classics. A Letterbox Laserdisc and a Deluxe CAV LaserDisc Edition both under the banner A Walt Disney Masterpiece were also released in 1996. All 1996 VHS and Laserdisc releases were superseded by the first UK DVD release in 2001 which like the VHS was also released under the same albeit redesigned banner Walt Disney Classics. This has since been superseded by this 2005 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.
This DVD is essentially the UK version of the US 2-Disc Set that was also released in 2005 under the banner 10th Anniversary Special Edition. In fact the UK version was released before the US one. Both the UK and US versions feature a new transfer in an Anamorphic 1.66.1 aspect ratio. As is expected and should be in todays world the picture is designed for a 16.9 widescreen television. All in all, the picture is a vast improvement over the previous VHS Laserdiscs and first DVD. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) the aspect ratio of 1.66.1 is the full animated negative ratio. The film would have actually been presented in cinemas in 1.85.1 for a more cinematic look. This tradition of animating Disney films at one scale and then presenting it at another for cinema has been around since 1955 with Disney's first cinemascope animated feature Lady And The Tramp. An The sound of Dolby Digital 5.1 is comparable to the previous DVD. The main featured version of the film on this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD is a new extended version. What has been added is the song If I Never Knew You sung by Pocahontas to John Smith when he is captured in the tent towards the end of the film. This had been animated in pencil test form when the film was first made so the scene already existed. It was however fully animated for the release of this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. Also in this extended version of the film is some additional dialogue and a reprise of If I Never Knew You at the very end as John Smith prepares to leave. With special edition versions of films it can often be understood why material is cut out of the film, but in this case it's astounding to me that they cut it. It has so much beauty and heart to the story, and I do believe this extended version is the superior version of the film.
When it comes to special features Disc 1 of the UK 2-Disc Special Edition DVD has an audio commentary, Disney Sing Along Songs of Just Around The River Bend and Colours of the Wind- both taken from Disney Sing Along Songs Colours of the Wind the original Colours of the Wind music video by Vanessa Williams a Follow Your Heart set-top game and Disneys Art Project featurette. Disc 2 of the UK 2-Disc Special Edition DVD has Abandoned Concept and Deleted Animation The Making of Pocahontas, Creating Pocahontas With Glen Keane, Early Presentation and James Pentecost Introduction Storyboard to finished film comparison The Music of Pocahontas Behind The Scenes Of If I Never Knew You and If I Never Knew You performed by Jon Secada and Shanice Wilson. The US 10th Anniversary 2 Disc Set has the same special features.
This 2005 UK DVD was superseded by the inferior UK exclusive 2009 Musical Masterpiece Edition DVD and the less inferior 2012 UK Blu-ray.