This review contains spoilers regarding the movies storyline.
The Road to El Dorado is an animated adventure musical comedy film made in 2000 and produced by Disney DreamWorks, the same company of which produced others Disney classics such as Antz, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar.
Many other reviews I have seen on this movie have been written by what seems masterful movie critics of an older age, whereas I am a man who was born in the 90’s, therefore meaning I was of a young age during this movie’s release. It’s fair to say that my opinion is one of the most reliable, as I am going by what I remember as a young child.
One thing that I disagree with immensely is how people seem to forget the fact that Disney movies are mainly aimed towards the younger audience. Criticizing movies because of their ‘flat storylines’ is something that just shouldn’t be done whilst talking about Disney movies, especially not in the case of The Road to El Dorado.
The Road to El Dorado is a movie about two con artists who go by the names of Miguel voiced by Kenneth Branagh and Tulio voiced by Kevin Kline. During a rigged gambling match the pair win a map of which appears to be able to lead them to the legendary land of El Dorado.
Following the win, they both stow away upon a ship of which turns out to be captained by a man hoping to come across what is known as ‘a new world’. Miguel and Tulio are soon captured upon the ship and are kept in the brig, until they receive the help of a horse which they bribe with an apple to get the keys to the brigs cages.
They both then, as well as the horse, escape the ship and soon after wash upon an island which appears to be just on the edge of South America. Luckily this is exactly where they want to be, as around this area is the supposed entrance to El Dorado.
Once they find the entrance to El Dorado, they of course enter. However, what they find inside isn’t exactly what they expect. Of course they see the city of gold, but instead of just that they also come across a number of inhabitants of which live within the city.
The people of El Dorado mistaken Tulio and Miguel for gods which they of course they go along with to ensure a life of fair treatment and wealth. During the movie however, their old ways kick in and they decide that they are going to make the people of the city trust them enough to make them think that the gods must take the god away, just as a way of getting the gold away to spend for themselves back in the real world.
However having spent time with the people, Miguel has a change of heart and decides he wishes to live his life forever with them. Tulio however is too blinded by greed to feel what Miguel is feeling and decides to make a ship to transport the gold from El Dorado, with his new found girlfriend Chel.
When a force of evil is brought upon El Dorado it is up to Miguel and Tulio to protect the people of the city of whom they have come to know and love.
Will Tulio give up his chance of future wealth to protect the people of the city?
Quality of Animation
The lack of superb quality animation in The Road to El Dorado is clearly shown in this movie, however it must be remembered that this movie is a product of Disney DreamWorks back in the year 2000.
With the movie being aimed towards an audience of children of both genders aged 6-11, it is fair to say that it really doesn’t have to be fantastic in terms of quality, as honestly children of that age really won’t care about the animation, I certainly didn’t. It is good enough for what it is, and the loveable characters and movie tunes more than make up for what the quality of animation doesn’t provide.
There is only one thing that I personally would have changed if I were in charge of writing/directing the movie.
That being the over the top sexual connection between Tulio and his love interest Chel. Although the movie is of a Universal rating, meaning it has been deemed for all ages to watch, the film writes went slightly over the top with how the relationship between Tulio and Chel is shown on screen. For example, Miguel catching them fooling around as it were isn’t the greatest thing children of a young age should be exposed to seeing at their age. Not to mention the awkward questions that will follow with the parents… “Mummy, what were they doing”…
It is something that could have easily been toned down like they have cleverly done in so many of their others movies. For example, the most children see in terms of a connection between male and female in other Disney DreamWorks movies would be the simple nose touch between two lions in the second Lion King.
The Road to El Dorado is a musical as well as other things, and like other Disney musicals the songs are just too special to us to let go of. A prime example would be Hakuna Matata from Lion King. The original songs were written by Tim Rice and Elton John and performed by Elton John; however the songs of which we hear in the movie were written and performed by both Hans Zimmer and John Powell. Each song in this movie provides the listener with a mix of emotion.
For example, in the song ‘Friends Never Say Goodbye’ it could bring on a feeling of sadness, whereas as a song from the movie such as ‘It’s Tough to Be a God’ could bring upon feelings of great joy. The point is all songs from the movie don’t just allow for a depth of feeling to be felt, but they also all bring back memories of the best parts of the movie and even your childhood.
Listen to ‘It’s Tough to Be a God’ by clicking below:
Click here to purchase The Road to El Dorado’s soundtrack from Amazon.
Overall, judging by the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie as a young boy I would strongly recommend this movie to those of a similar age and to those of both genders. It is a light hearted fun movie that I would be more than happy for my children to watch one day.
I would not recommend this movie to those of an older age however, as the dialogue as well as the quality of animation and storyline is something that probably won’t be appreciated by those who are older and have seen better.
Click below to watch The Road to El Dorado movie trailer:
Click here to purchase The Road to El Dorado from Amazon.