Pretty as a Pixel
The Road to El Dorado
Review by Ross Anthony

Rich rain forest green, as brilliant as those iridescent plankton at the bottom of the ocean. And deep blue like the ocean too, pure crystal like Linda Carter's eyes. Contrasted and balanced by crimson shadows cracking the digital landscapes like a rainy day dawn casting blood-red beams across the bottoms of surly purple storm clouds.

This may just be the first animated feature that's worth seeing for the landscape scenery alone: a breath-taking crying waterfall, The Road to El Doradoa flock of pink and red butterfly flowers fluttering from the jowls of a grizzly cave. But that doesn't mean there isn't a fun story. There is. Miguel and Tulio, best buddies in light-hearted con set off for the riches of El Dorado - the city of Gold! But greed, the mighty Cortes and his army, godly admiration of the masses, and of course, a woman, challenge their friendship and purpose.

Most of the chatter between Miguel and Tulio (Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh) is clever and charming (on an adult level), although the picture relies upon it just a little too long leaving a lull or two for us to endure between action sequences. The Road to El DoradoAt the same time, Cortes' mighty army, along with Rosie Perez as the Eldoradan love interest are underused, leaving the picture less 3-dimensional than it could have been. In fact, Rosie's sparse dialogue would barely rival this paragraph in length. Having Rosie in a film and not giving her a fiery speech of at least 30 seconds in length would be like forcing Jennifer Lopez to wear a bra.

But I still liked this film! The action scenes charge and roll like bulls through the streets of Pamplona. Kline and Branagh are more often charming than not while the paint and pixels DreamWorks set swirling on the screen effectively whirl excitement both aesthetically and physically inside their viewers. The film's vivid wonder and wholesome story are sure to leave an impression.

Despite its title, this isn't a "road" picture, but I suppose "Waterways to El Dorado" didn't quite chime. Enjoy.

  • The Road to El Dorado. Copyright © 2000. Rated G.
  • Voices of Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Rosie Perez, Armand Assante, Edward James Olmos, Jim Cummings, Frank Welker and Tobin Bell.
  • Directed by Eric "Bibo" Bergeron and Don Paul.
  • Written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio.
  • Music by Elton John.
  • Produced by Bonne Radford and Brooke Breton at DreamWorks.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:55:37 PDT