The Road To El Dorado Movie Review

Subscribe Kevin Kline

How Hollywood's animated filmmakers can continue to crank out pictures built on the same template year after year and have them continue to be even occasionally entertaining is something I'll never completely understand. But "The Road to El Dorado," a 100-percent formula cartoon adventure set against Cortes' arrival in the Yucatan, does it again.

This one is about Tulio (Kevin Kline's voice) and Miguel (Kenneth Branagh), two-bit Spanish con men with a treasure map, caught as stowaways on the conquistador ship as it makes for the Americas in 1519.

Late one night on the high seas they make their escape in a row boat and wash up on foreign shores.

As the "Road To" title implies, Kline and Branagh are going for a Bob Hope-Bing Crosby rapport, so much comedic bickering ensues as they follow the map to El Dorado, an Aztec city of gold, where they're mistaken for gods and have to live up to the error while they organize a plan to go home with some riches.

Now the shopping list of trite 'toon movie elements:

  • Comic relief animal sidekick? Check! We have two: A haughty war horse stolen from Cortes and an armadillo in El Dorado.

  • Sassy, independent love interest with a killer cartoon bod? Check! Enter the voice of Rosie Perez -- turned down a few notches, thankfully -- as Chel, an Aztec girl looking to turn a little profit herself. Flirty, manipulative and super-curvy, she is far and away the sexiest cartoon hottie since Jessica Rabbit. Yowza!

  • Antagonist with an evil, echoing, muah-ha-ha-ha laugh, supernatural powers and plans to overthrow a benevolent leader? Check! Armand Assante voices Tzekel-Kan, high priest of El Dorado, who at one point brings a two-story statue of a jaguar to life so it can chase our heroes around.

    Using "Pocahontas" as a template to begin the adventure -- and completely side-stepping the fact that Spain's arrival in Mexico brought mostly misery to the natives -- directors Don Paul and Eric "Bibo" Bergeron (who both jumped ship from Disney) manage to weave an adventure that inspires ear-to-ear grins, even if it's not terribly original.

    This is thanks in no small part to the quick-witted banter brought to life by Kline and Branagh, who bring the high spirits of two actors having a blast in the recording studio to their head-butting buddy characters. The script (by "Aladdin" scribes Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio) offers them plenty of comedic material as the two adventurers try to maintain their divinity charade.

    The animation is splendid, of course, seamlessly blending hand-drawn and computer-generated elements for a vivid depiction of El Dorado as a handsomely-appointed city of guilded step pyramids and lush vegetation.

    Dreamworks has yet to get past the notion that cartoons must be musicals, so "El Dorado" is engorged with overly-orchestral Elton John-Tim Rice ditties (sung by John, not by the characters), and that gets a little grating after a while.

    But if none of Hollywood's animation houses can find the courage to turn out something fresh in this genre -- save Warner Bros., who made last year's brilliantly original "Iron Giant" and got spanked for it at the box office -- at least some of them are occasionally finding ways to keep the formula as effervescent as "El Dorado."

  • Cast & Crew

    Director : Eric "Bibo" Bergeron,

    Subscribe Kevin Kline


    The Road To El Dorado Rating

    " OK "

    Rating: PG, Opened: Friday, March 31, 2000


    More Kevin Kline

    My Old Lady Movie Review

    Every threat of sentimentality and melodrama is averted by a seriously strong cast working from a snappy script. It may be warm and gentle, but...

    My Old Lady - Trailer Trailer

    Mathias (Kevin Kline) is penniless and pretty down on his luck in New York despite having come from a wealthy family. In what seems like...

    Last Vegas Movie Review

    An almost ridiculously strong cast and a witty script by the writer of Crazy Stupid Love make this silly film a lot more entertaining than...

    'Last Vegas'- Legendary Cast Fail To Hit The Mark With Cliché Heavy Comedy. Review Roundup.

    Hollywood's newest comedy 'Last Vegas', which features one of the most star studded cast in recent memories, hit theatres this Friday (Nov 1st) to an...


    Oh No - Is 'Last Vegas' Bad? Say It Ain't So! De Niro + Legends Fail to Deliver

    What a risk this was: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline sharing a screen as four old friends travelling to Las...

    Last Vegas - Cast Interviews

    The Oscar winning cast of adorable comedy 'Last Vegas'; Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Robert de Niro; talk about their characters, Vegas itself...

    Last Vegas Trailer

    Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam may well be getting on in years physically but, on the inside, they haven't changed in 40 years, so when...

    Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas Team Up For Last Vegas [Trailer]e A

    If the thought of Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro hanging about Las Vegas like they’ve still got it enthuses you,...