My Opinion right after watching movie
My thoughts after watching “The Road to El Dorado” is that it is mediocre at best. I say this because it is not horrible, but it is not great either. there is no moral or lesson, none of the characters learn anything, nothing. Isn’t that the whole point of a movie? It is somewhat entertaining, but by the way people described the humor in the film, it is kind of disappointing. It is just eh.
I could not find much about the production of this film, since the company pretends it does not exist, but I did find some. Usually, voice actors record their dialogue alone, but Kevin Kline (Tulio) and Kenneth Branagh (Miguel) recorded their dialogue together, which was harder for the company. Also, a bunch of sequels were to be planned after it’s release (like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, The Croods, and How to Train Your Dragon), but were immediately cancelled after the performance of the film.
So the story starts in 1519 Spain, with our two main characters Tulio (Kevin Kilne) and Miguel (Kenneth Branagh), who are wanted criminals win a bunch of gambling matches by rigging, and the people they were gambling with wants to do one more match, with the map to El Dorado on the line. They realize that the dice the two had were rigged, so they used another dice, which the duo ironically won fairly.
The guards catch up to them, and they escape from the guards, running right into the bull. They run from the bull, the people, and the guards successfully by hiding in barrels, which are taken on board to the New World, which is being led by Hernan Cortes (Jim Cummings).
So they are put on the ship, and try to escape for the entire afternoon and evening, but a case was on the barrels the entire time. When the men take the case off, the two get caught by the ship members, and is brought to Cortes. He tells them that they will become slaves when they arrive to the New World, and Miguel is happy to go to Cuba. How would he know about Cuba if it is the 15th century. It is not like Cuba was urban like Europe at the time. Suddle DreamWorks modern humor I guess. It is day time, and an apple drops into where Tulio and Miguel are being held hostage, which a hungry horse named Alvito (Frank Welker) tries to get to. They use the apple to get the horse to get the key that will help them escape. In the night, they are now free from being confined and are escaping, but the horse still makes a bunch of noise about not getting it’s apple. Miguel fetches the apple to Alvito, but it misses, with it stupidly jumping off the ship to get the apple; almost drowning in the process. Miguel saves him, and they are floating in the middle of the ocean.
They end up on the shore somewhere in Mexico, and trying to figure out where they are, Miguel connects what they are seeing to the map, and then realize that they are in El Dorado. The montage a.k.a of the song “The Trail We Blaze” is a decent song. It is not really explaining the character’s thoughts, but saying about being a part of history and that stuff. They are following the map day in and out, and eventually find the rock on the map. They bump into Chel (Rosie Perez) who is trying to run away after stealing something, and the guards caught up to her, with all of them being taken to El Dorado.
They are brought to what seems like two very important peope in the socirty of El Dorado, Chief Tannabok (Edward James Olmos) and Tzekel-Kan (Armand Assante). Miguel and Tulio thinks are going to be executed, and the former apologizes to the latter for sleeping with a girl (they are pretty bold the way they put adult content in this film). Tzekel-Kan says he told the people that the gods would come to them, and then the two pick up on the act.
Miguel mentions how they do not want the two to unleash their wrath, which Kan (I am going to call him this form now on) wants, to prove Tannabok that it is real. Tulio says to excuse them, and the two end up arguing, which leads Tulio to scream “stop” as soon as the volcano which was about to erupt stops. As they turn around, everyone is bowing to them, and they strut like they are the almighty.
They are taken to, then left alone in the private quarters, where they laugh about how the people think they are gods and how they could use this to take the gold, and get the hell out of here (Tulio’s exact words). Chel overhears this and wants in, so she can leave El Dorado and have some of the gold. She says they will need her help because they know nothing about the culture. They change to go to the celebration, and she checks them out before leaving. The two go on and on about how she is hot (It makes sense since she barely has any clothes on and is sexualized), and how she is off limits.
The song “It’s Tough to be a God” is the only song which is sung by the characters. As the celebrations carries through, they are singing about being worshiped and needing to keep it up with it, so they won’t get caught.
The ceremony of sacrifice is to commence, and they command Kan to stop (they do have a conscience… who knew). Tannabok asks them if they want the gold sacrifice to commence, and they say yes, thinking that they will get the gold. While half of the gold is sacrificed, they tell the people to stop and put all the gold in their chambers. So the next day, Tulio tells Tannabok that they are here for a visit, and needs a boat to be built, so they can leave with all the gold they were given from the people. Tannabok tells him that the built will take minimum 3 days to build, so they are stuck there.
Tulio is bitching and complaining about being stuck there for three days and tells Miguel that they are going to stay in the room until the boat is finished, which he does not like. Chel tells Miguel that she will cover for him and he leaves, so she can get it on with Tulio. During the song (I forgot the name), Miguel falls in love with the city.
After performing sexual acts on one another, Kan goes to them and tells him Miguel is associating with the people, angering Tulio and saying that he should perform the cleanse immediately (to get rid of all the wicked people and to start the “Year of the Jaguar”).
They see Miguel interacting with the kids and Kan demands them play some sort of ball game to 15 professionals, worrying the two. Seeing as the game is impossible to them, they start to lose badly against the pros, but during a break, Chel switches the ball with an armadillo named Bibo that helps them cheat. The armadillo gets lost and they unintentionally use a real ball, and end up getting the last goal, with Altivo’s help.
Kan then sentences the pros to death via sacrifice, and says that the wicked shall be cleansed. Miguel then says how no one is evil, and how there will be no sacrifice. This angers Kan, but sees him bleed, and connects one and one together, figuring out that him and Tulio are not gods. He goes to his area where he practices magic and summons a giant stone jaguar to kill the duo.
We are shown that as the boat is being built, Tulio is flirting and charming Chel. Miguel is at the boat, and asks Tannabok if it could be rebuilt (most likely so he can stay at El Dorado), and starts to become sad about leaving. It switches to Tulio and Chel eventually telling one another that they want to be together in Spain, and makes out, which makes Miguel mad, as Tulio broke his promise. So the stone jaguar goes to attack them, and they “fight” to distract Kan and to defeat the jaguar, which it and Kan falls. Tulio tells him good job, but Miguel is actually mad. The song “Friends Never Say Goodbye” play as Tulio and Chel are about to leave, and how the two main characters are mad at one another and sad that they will be apart. It is a nice song that actually fits the theme of the moment.
They see smoke and hear noises, and they realize that Cortes has finally arrived, thanks to Kan. The duo realizes that they have to do something, and create an idea to slam the boats against the rocks that will block any entrance to El Dorado. The people pull the pillars on top of the structure, and Miguel joins Tulio and Chel to stop the entrance way. With the plan a success, El Dorado and their treasure is blocked for good. They see Cortes and his crew being led by Kan, but they see that the city is blocked, and drag away Kan to do who knows what with him.
The two then talk about how El Dorado was a great adventure, and Tulio sulks about how it was so much treasure for a bit. They then realize that they have no map or plan, and Chel says that is what makes things interesting. The four ride (or run in Tulio and Miguel’s case) off into the sunset, with the perfect opening for a sequel (that they were planning at the time, but was cancelled).
For some reason, I do not connect with the characters. Maybe because they either give us no reason for us to connect with them, or ever in the situation to. Also, the characters are pretty thin,but can be likable (including our main characters). I just don’t have much of an opinion of the characters that are really good or bad. Just neutral.
The animation is beautiful in this film. It is very colourful and bright in the way things look. The backgrounds are detailed (though a good amount were CGI), the characters were well designed and consistently designed, and it looked good. There was a lot of unnecessary effects of CGI, like the barrels? Was it really necessary for it to be CGI? and the map at one point was CGI. At least it looked good.
The music in the movie is done by Hans Zimmer, Elton John, and Tim Rice; the music team of The Lion King. Coincidence? NOT. I am positive Katzenberg did it on purpose to use it against Disney. Others like John Powell and Patrick Leonard also had a part in the soundtrack. It does have that Spanish and Latin score, but the lyrics are decent as well. Most of the songs and score does not really fit in with the theme of the movie. It is supposed to be a comedy, but with the way the score is and how most of the songs are sung by a narrator (which are usually but not limited to) epics, so most of the soundtrack does not have that fun, comedic, loose feel to it. It does sound Spanish and Latin though.
Reception at Release
The Road to El Dorado was released in March 30th 2000, and closed in June 29th, 2000. It opened at #2 $12,846,652, but ended up turning out to be a flop (one of the only DreamWorks Animation film to do so). With a $95 million budget, it only made $50,863,742 domestically and $25,568,985 everywhere else, which totals to $76,432,727. It was also a critical failure, with mixed reviews. Some said they liked it for it’s humor (which I find over the top and lacking) and adult tones, while others did not like it for it’s thin characters and predictable plot. When it came to awards, it got none, but was nominated for 7 Annie awards, all for individual achievement. This was around the time where traditionally animated films were not doing well in the box office.
Like The Prince of Egypt and Antz, it is ignored by the company completely, and people do not think of it as a DreamWorks classic. But, it did grow a huge cult following in the years since.
Story = 5 /10
Music = 7/10
Animation = 9/10
=26.5/40= 64% (And this is being generous) Next Time……
- Dreamworks Review: Introduction (animatedkid.wordpress.com)
- DreamWorks Review: Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (animatedkid.wordpress.com)
- The Road to El Dorado – My 3 cents (christianokwena.wordpress.com)
- Deals of Spectra Premium FG15B Sending Unit for Cadillac El Dorado/Seville (paintgunscof1.wordpress.com)