DreamWorks Review: The Road to El Dorado

DreamWorks Animation's 3rd feature length film.

DreamWorks Animation’s 3rd feature length film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcOfJwN0bdY

Watch Full Movie ON LINK

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.

Production

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.

Story

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.

So they are wanted criminals, but wander through the street with no one noticing them... I'll let that one slide.
How did they end up being criminals? Never explained or hinted.

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).

The CGI is beautiful, but was it really necessary for this. They could have at least made it look 2D.
The CGI is beautiful, but was it really necessary for this. They could have at least made it look 2D.

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.

el dorado

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.

El Dorado is really colorful and pretty.
El Dorado is really colorful and pretty.

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.

It is funny how these two (Tzekel-Kan on the left, Tannabok on the right) try to anger one another.
It is funny how these two (Tzekel-Kan on the left, Tannabok on the right) try to anger one another.

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.

el dorado

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.

You think this is bold for sexual content... This is nothing. I have to give them credit that this is ballsy for them.
You think this is bold for sexual content… This is nothing. I have to give them credit that this is ballsy for them.

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.

It astounds me how selfish and douche-like these two are. Here are our protagonists.
It astounds me how selfish and douche-like these two are. Here are our protagonists.

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.

We are midway through the film, and the main plot just started.  :) :) :) :) :)
We are midway through the film, and the main plot just started.
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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.

el dorado

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”).

You cannot tell me otherwise. They are not Disney.
You cannot tell me otherwise. They are not Disney.

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.

I have never seen a movie that promotes cheating so much.
I have never seen a movie that promotes cheating so much.

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.

el dorado

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.

So Miguel chooses to stay at El Dorado to live his "god" life. Wouldn't realize that he is not a god when he ages? I guess it would be too little too late.
So Miguel chooses to stay at El Dorado to live his “god” life. Wouldn’t realize that he is not a god when he ages? I guess it would be too little too late.

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. el dorado

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).

The story was....ok. It was not gapign with a bunch of holes, though it did not make much sense. There we have it; no moral, nothign learned, the characters got away with robbing and being selfish. Nothing to teach the audience.
The story was….ok. It was not gaping with a bunch of holes, though it did not make much sense. There we have it; no moral, nothing learned, the characters got away with robbing and being selfish. Nothing to teach the audience.

Characters

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.

I am going to put it like this; him and Miguel are almost exactly alike. They are both over-the-top, charming, clever, and cunning. But from what I can pick up that is different is that he is supposed to be the leader? but both decided to do things that the other follows on. I got something, he is more practical, but the over-the-top-ness of both characters overshadow any difference the characters have.
I am going to put it like this; him and Miguel are almost exactly alike. They are both over-the-top, charming, clever, and cunning. But from what I can pick up that is different is that he is supposed to be the leader? but both decided to do things that the other follows on. I got something, he is more practical, but the over-the-top-ness of both characters overshadow any difference the characters have.
Like I said before, he is almost the exact same as Tulio, witht he over-the-top behaviour, charming personality, and somewhat selfishness. The only difference I can find is that he si mroe impulsive. But again, the over-the-top personality overshadows almost everything else, and they sound kind of similar. It is like they are fraternal twins in only looks.
Like I said before, he is almost the exact same as Tulio, with the over-the-top behaviour, charming personality, and somewhat selfishness. The only difference I can find is that he is more impulsive. But again, the over-the-top personality overshadows almost everything else, and they sound kind of similar. It is like they are fraternal twins in only looks.
I find her to be the most engaging character of the movie, though not much is known about her. She just wants to leave her island, and joins in on their scheme to help him, but ultimately falls in love with Tulio. I have heard that she is a plot device to split up Tulio and Miguel. She is sassy, seductive, and and resourceful.
I find Chel to be the most engaging character of the movie, though not much is known about her. She just wants to leave her island, and joins in on their scheme to help him, but ultimately falls in love with Tulio. I have heard that she is a plot device to split up Tulio and Miguel. She is sassy, seductive, and and resourceful.
He wanted to take over the New World and wants gold. He is vain and evil. He is the flattest character of the movie.
He wanted to take over the New World and wants gold. He is vain and evil. He is the flattest character of the movie.
He is the High Priest who wants to destroy El Dorado becasue he thinks there si evil all around him. He is a decent villain, and his magic is cool.
He is the High Priest who wants to destroy El Dorado because he thinks there is evil all around him. He is a decent villain, and his magic is cool.
He is the Chief who worked with the High Priest, and accepted Tulio and Miguel because that is the type of person he is and to annoy the priest. He si a sympathetic and likeable character, though not really that important.
He is the Chief who worked with the High Priest, and accepted Tulio and Miguel because that is the type of person he is and to annoy the priest. He is a sympathetic and likable character, though not really that important.

Animation

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.

Music

road to el dorado

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.

Reception Today

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.

Final Score

Story = 5 /10

Characters =4.5/10

Music = 7/10

Animation = 9/10

=26.5/40=  64% (And this is being generous) Next Time……

Review: August 14th, 2013
Review: August 14th, 2013
Advertisements

19 thoughts on “DreamWorks Review: The Road to El Dorado

    1. Yeah, I read it about a week and a half ago; great article by the way. The movie met my expectations in some ways, but it didn’t in other ways. It was not as funny as I thought it was going to be by people’s reactions.

  1. Interesting, but I have to disagree that Miguel and Tulio are exactly the same. Miguel is carefree, adventurous, fun loving, and more spirited than Tulio. Tulio is a schemer, he does things out of greed and is very calculating. While Miguel does what he does with a carefree attitude, while Tulio does with an anxious attitude.

    1. It kind of comes off that way by the way they act and speak. Sometimes, Miguel is the one who gets them out of a situation and is the modest one, while in other times, Tulio is reversed in that role. The similarities and the over-the-top ness of both completely overshadow the little differences the two has. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I actually think that the movie has plot holes big enough to drive a truck through…starting with the map. That someone went there and came back is already a stretch, but why should anyone draw a map if he knows the way? Unless he wanted someone else to go, but why does it end up on a gambling table, and why does nobody simply copy or memorize it (it’s not THAT complicated after all).
    It’s just a confusing movie, which mostly meanders through the plot. With pretty unlikable characters imho.

    1. Yeah, I agree with you. I was going to give it a lower score, but I had to be unbiased, and the plot holes are not too big to ruin it. Just a lot of unanswered questions. I did not even realise the plot hole of the map. The characters are kind of unlikable, underdeveloped, and one-dimensional. The company clearly focused on the comedy and everything else suffered and was secondary. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Hello there! Very good review I must admit, going into a great amount of detail which is something you don’t get from other reviewers sometimes (myself included). I must admit that I disagree with you on a lot.

    I admit that The Road to El Dorado is not a “classic”, but it’s fun in a way that I found The Emperor’s New Groove is fun. And I thought Tulio and Miguel did learn a lesson (sort of), being that they learn to value people over gold, even though Tulio does lament the loss of the gold at the end, but then again so would I. Also, I think the financial side of things was kind of due to it coming out after The Prince of Egypt, which had earned so much money and had much more attention to it, as seen in the animation quality.

    If you like, you can have a look at my review of The Road to El Dorado and tell me what you think. I’ve also done The Prince of Egypt and I’m planning to do the rest of DreamWorks now mostly forgotten traditionally animated films. I look forward to your comments if you want to give them. Brilliant review otherwise though and I apologise for my blatant advertising.

    http://chronicchronicler.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/the-road-to-el-dorado-its-fun-to-be-a-god/

    1. Welcome to the AnimatedKid blog.

      I have not had the chance to read your review yet (will do soon). It just does not seem like they learned anything. They got away with everything they did, suffered no consequences, and would have gotten away with a con if a psychopath was not after them.

      So are you doing absolutely all the DreamWorks films, or only the forgotten ones?

      1. For now, I’m only doing the forgotten traditionally animated DreamWorks films, since they only ever produced five of them and, when I asked friends to name them, they could only think of one at a push. I’m trying to see if we’ve forgotten them as they are bad films or just because they’ve been lost in the sea of computer animated films over the years.

        I’m not sure they wold have gotten away with their con as, even before Tulio and Miguel find out Cortés is going to arrive (with the assistance of Tzekel-Kan so they may have never found it) they are trying to get away as quickly as possible with as much they can get away with.

        I think the fact that Tulio, the one who wanted the gold above all else (and Chel obviously), sacrificed his gold for the safety of El Dorado is a lesson of sorts. But yes I agree there is no major moral theme, I just see it as a friendly romp between likeable, if roguish, characters.

    1. I wanted to give this film an unbearingly low mark. It is just ridiculous in every single level, other than the animation. I have never watched a film where there is absolutely no message. I will check out your review soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s