The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Buddy Film, Family-Oriented Adventure  |   Release Date - Mar 31, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - Turkey , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Daring to re-team after the disastrous Wild Wild West, this time with only their voices, Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh provide the lead vocal talent for another (south)western adventure, Dreamworks SKG's The Road to El Dorado. No one will confuse this with one of Disney's classics -- let's face it, the animation and the formula are the same -- but Elton John is on board with a few rousing songs, and for a minor flight of fancy released in March, it's not half bad. It's also working on levels that go deeper than the colorful and kiddie-friendly surface -- not only are the hapless adventurers cartoon homages to the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby series of "road" movies (Road to Zanzibar, The Road to Morocco, etc.), but they're characterized as ambiguously gay. It's these subtextual pleasures that elevate some animated films above the average kiddie fare. There are also a couple of clever sequences that rely on the "split-second timing" that only animation can provide, bringing to life vignettes in which Miguel and Tulio get themselves in and out of trouble in unusual ways. But as Disney continued raising the bar in animation (the deep canvas of Tarzan, the computer-generated creatures of Dinosaur), a film like The Road to El Dorado no longer registered as more than a blip on the cartoon continuum, especially without a memorable story or characters to prop it up. While still attractive, it also failed to advance the slick visual style of its Dreamworks predecessor, The Prince of Egypt.