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The Road to El Dorado

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Road to El Dorado

Starring: Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh
Director: Don Michael Paul
Rated: PG
RunTime: 89 Minutes
Release Date: March 2000
Genres: Action, Animation, Kids

*Also starring: Rosie Perez, Armand Assante, Edward James Olmos

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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Like the classic Bob Hope-Bing Crosby road movies, this family comedy chronicles the misadventures of two bumbling, somewhat inept con-artists whose enthusiastic camaraderie is as much fun as the excitement they encounter. The story begins in 1519 in Spain, where Tulio (Kevin Kline) and Miguel (Kenneth Branagh) win a map to El Dorado, the legendary City of Gold, and inadvertently become stowaways on the ship of the Spanish explorer Cortes. With the help of Ativo, a clever war horse, they escape and stumble into idyllic El Dorado, where they're proclaimed as gods. Only a smart, sexy schemer named Chel (Rosie Perez) sees through their ruse. "I want in on the scam so I can get out," she declares - and they agree. But, as the evil High Priest (Armand Assante) plots to grab power from the Chief (Edward James Olmos), Cortes and his army are marching on the city. That's when Tulio and Miguel have their ingenuity and friendship truly tested. Road to El Dorado is the first major studio animated feature of the new millennium - following the trail of Antz and Prince of Egypt. The joke-filled script is character-driven with Tulio as the cynical realist and Miguel as the romantic idealist; and the lush visuals - combining traditional and computer techniques - are exquisite, drawing extensively from the Mayan culture of the Yucatan. The music is catchy and the lyrics clever in the six original songs written by Tim Rice and Elton John, who does the vocals - except when Kline and Branagh croon the witty, comedic "It's Tough to be a God." And there's definitely a PG-rated moment when the bantering rogues skinny-dip in the hot-springs. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Road to El Dorado is a fast-paced, raucous 8 - great fun for spirited adventurers of all ages.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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