Saturday, August 2, 2014

Dreamworks Animation Project: The Road to El Dorado

Hello viewers!

Welcome back to our 3rd installment of:

Dreamworks Animation Project!

This time around, I'm reviewing the 2000 film; The Road to El Dorado

                                       WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS MOVIE, 
                                                     SKIP  TO THE END WHERE I GIVE THE SCORE!

In Spain, Miguel and Tulio, best friends in crime, are playing a game of dice with their good friend tough bald guy. Bald guy looses all his money, and insist in one last game. He bets his map that supposedly leads to El Dorado; the lost city of gold.

They take it, for they are playing with fixed dice. Bald guy also insist that they play with his dice. They agree, praying for a miracle. They roll a seven and win, to their surprise. Tulio drops their fixed dice, and bald guy figures out they were cheating.

He gets angry and calls the guards. Miguel and Tulio distract them and run away. They soon meet a dock, and jump into some barrels of water being loaded onto a ship. Just before they jump out, some guys put a heavy box on top of them. They are trapped. They soon get out, but are discovered by the men on board the ship.

They are thrown into the brig. Tulio tries to develop a plan, but Miguel beats him to it. On board, there is a horse named Altivo. Miguel tells Altivo that he will give him an apple if he finds something to get them out. He brings them the keys. They escape on a roe boat, Altivo with them.

They are almost killed multiple times, and loose a lot of there food. They are at sea for many days, until they hit land. There, they find a bunch of skeletons. Tulio wants to leave, but Miguel sees something from the map to El Dorado. They made a plan to go into El Dorado, take as much gold as they can, and go back to Spain. So, they go into the unseen jungle, in search of El Dorado.

One journey and an Elton John song later, they find a rock. The map says this is El Dorado. They begin to turn back, when a woman comes running toward them--soldiers following her. They brings Miguel and Tulio back to their city. As you guessed, it is El Dorado.

They are greeted by Chief Tannabok (Chief) and high priest Tzekel-Kan (Priest). There they find out that the townspeople think that Miguel and Tulio are gods.

The woman's name is Chel, and is almost killed for stealing something from the temple, but Tulio makes a story for her and she lives. They bring Miguel and Tulio to the temple, where they shall stay.

Chel soon finds out that they are not really gods, and wants in on their plan to take the gold and go back to Spain. They let her in, as long as she in turn gives them knowledge of the culture of El Dorado. After a happenstance with human sacrifice, Miguel explains to Chief that they are going to leave in the next few days, so they need them to build them a boat. Three days is the fastest they can build it, so until then, they lay low. Miguel soon gets entranced by the local color

and starts to play ball with the townspeople. Priest insist that they have a real game, with challenging opponents.

The subject of this game is to throw the ball through a small hole before the sun hits a certain spot, without using your hands. Of course, this is impossible against these men, so they cheat, using a armadillo that has followed them around that happens to look like the ball. They win with one last goal.

After the game, Priest wants the losers to be killed in honor of the gods. Miquel gets upset, and says that there will be no sacrifices, EVER! Priest notices something dripping down Miquel's face. It's blood, for when Tulio accidentally kicked him in the face. "Gods" don't bleed, so obviously, they are not gods. Priest decides to take things under his own wings, uses voodoo to take control of a statue, and destroy the city of what he calls "weaklings." Meanwhile, Miguel decides to stay in El Dorado, and Chel and Tulio get ready to go back to Spain. Their plans are put on hold when Priest takes control of the beastly statue.

They use distraction once again, and throw Priest down a swirling hole, that is thought to go to the "spirit world." It actually just ends up on another spot on the island. There, Priest meets the men on the boat, who are looking for Tulio and Miguel. Priest and the boatmen, travel on to the entrance of El Dorado. Meanwhile, Tulio and Chel are on the boat, and Miguel is waving from the sideline. Someone warns them of the coming danger, and Miguel concocts an idea to slam the boat into the pillars next to the gateways. This makes it impossible to get in. Something goes wrong, and Miguel jumps into the boat to help, now not staying in El Dorado.

They make it, but loose all their gold. Priest and the boatmen arrive, and to Priest's surprise, the entrance is blocked. Priest is supposedly killed, and Miguel, Tulio, Chel, and Altivo go on to their next journey.



 The Road to El Dorado is surprisingly hard to review. Not because it's too bad or too good, it's just "eh." Not to say there are no good things to say about this movie. The animation is pretty solid, with the occasional CGI effect thrown in. The character animation is fairly similar to that of Prince of Egypt, which is not really a good thing, but not a bad either. The background animation on the other had is very beautiful and colorful. Also, I did enjoy some of the humor. It was a much better improvement compared to Antz's humor.  


This movie's story is very similar to one of Dreamworks previous films. Can you guess which one? If you guessed Prince of Egypt, you would be totally wrong and thrown into a mental institute for the hopeless in film knowledge. No, it is very much like the story of Antz. The more I think of it, it has a lot of the same problems story wise. I didn't mention this before, but in Antz, the story really didn't have a moral; something to teach the audience. The character didn't learn anything. This is true for The Road to El Dorado as well. The story is just "okay." Nothing special. I've seen it done a hundred times.

But, even with this story, can't the characters save us? Hmmm, not really. The characters in this movie could have been interesting, but came off as kinda bland, especially the side characters. The one exception would be the villain, Priest. He was very entertaining. But, just to prove what I said was true, even the villains have the same motives in both movies. They want to "cleanse" their homes by killing everyone. The humor, as I said, was an improvement. But, some jokes did fall short.

All in all, this film was just so-so. Not really good, but not truly bad. I did enjoy myself a bit. But, this suffers from something Dreamworks sometimes has a problem with: copying their own work.


  Story- 5/10

While some parts were interesting, it could have been made a lot better.

Main Characters- 5/10 

Miguel and Tulio were okay as characters. But beyond their humor, there wasn't anything.

Side Characters- 3/10

Most of the side characters were really boring and underdeveloped.

Villain- 6/10 

I actually enjoyed Priest. But, he wasn't the only villain. There was also the captain of the ship Miguel and Tulio escaped from. But, like the side characters, he was very underdeveloped.

Effects/Animation- 7/10

Very well done for the most part.

Entertainment Factor- 5/10

I enjoyed this movie well enough.

Songs/Score- 4/10

This is something I didn't talk about above. The score is okay, but nothing that made me notice or remember it. But, there were actual songs. Most of them were sung and written by the ever talented Elton John also known for the amazing songs in The Lion King. But, I'm afraid these just were not that good. Most of them I can't even remember. I can't even remember the lyric to the ones I do remember the melody of. There was one that wasn't sung by Elton John, and that's "It's Tough to be a God." The melody was surprisingly catching, but I still can't remember how the lyrics go.  

Total Score- 50%


 Next time on Dreamworks Animation Project....

1 comment :

  1. LOL I just watched this last night!! (and realized why my parents never let me watch it as a child! there were some *interesting* parts!!)