Miguel (Kenneth Branagh (voice)) and Tuilo (Kevin Kline (voice)) are two Spanish con artists who end up finding their way to El Dorado, the hidden City of Gold. When they arrive, High Priest Tzekel-Kan (Armand Assante (voice)) and the Chief (Edward James Olmos (voice)) mistake them for gods. With the help of Chel (Rosie Perez (voice)), they play the part until they can get out of the city with as much gold as they can.
I don’t know what it is about The Road to El Dorado, but I always have a good time watching it. I think part of it may be the two main characters, Miguel and Tulio. They seem more like the goofy sidekick characters than the main characters. Tulio is the level-headed one, always trying to do the smart thing in a given situation and Miguel is the care-free adventurous one. Together they go through all the antics you would expect them to. Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh are excellent in their roles. I wasn’t sure about Branagh at first, but he grew on me as the film went on.
It can be hard to have an animated film that works as a comedy, but The Road to El Dorado manages to pull it off. This stems from Kline and Branagh. They bounce off each other so well. When they recorded their lines, Kline and Branagh recorded together, which is probably the main reason they work so well. Numerous jokes may go over a younger viewer’s head; it feels many of them are geared towards adults. Crude jokes are right up my alley so I think added to my enjoyment.
Armand Assante absolutely kills it as the villainous Tzekel-Kan. His voice is exactly what I imagine that kind of character sounding like. It was fun to watch him compete with the Chief, voiced by Battlestar Galactica’s Edward James Olmos. Olmos has a deep voice that fit with the Chief’s large stature. I haven’t gotten to Rosie Perez as Chel. She brings a sexy spunk to her character that not many animated characters possess.
Elton John, Tim Rice, and Hans Zimmer, the team responsible for the fantastic music from The Lion King, reunites for The Road to El Dorado. However, their music isn’t as memorable this time around. It’s hard to compete with what they did in The Lion King, where every song was memorable (I bet you could recite any one of them right now). In this movie, they weren’t as memorable. My favorites were “It’s tough to Be a God” and “Out of the Blue” but they don’t stick with you the same way as “I Just Can’t wait to be King” or “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” do.
The Road to El Dorado may not be up towards everyone’s tastes, but it does have its qualities. The voice cast fit perfectly to their characters. If the adult humor wasn’t as prevalent, I would still have liked this movie, but its crudeness pushes it into the next level for me. Despite the same musical team as The Lion King working on this film, the score doesn’t have the same memorable qualities. Some aspects of The Road to El Dorado fall short, but for the most part, this movie works.
Cast & Crew
Eric ‘Bibo’ Bergeron – Director
Don Paul – Director
Terry Rossio – Screenplay
Ted Elliot – Screenplay
Kevin Kline – Tulio (voice)
Kenneth Branagh – Miguel (voice)
Rosie Perez – Chel (voice)
Armand Assante – Tzekel-Kan (voice)
Edward James Olmos – Chief (voice)
Jim Cummings – Cortes (voice)
Frank Welker – Altivo (voice)
Robin Bell – Zaragoza (voice)