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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Road to El Dorado

It's almost like having Bing and Bob back

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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April 3, 2000 -- "The Road to El Dorado" is a takeoff on the old "Road" movies, like "Road to Singapore" and "Road to Rio," "Road to Utopia," all of which starred Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. Each had light-hearted adventure surrounded by songs and comedy, so it is with this latest animated version.

While "Road to El Dorado doesn't have the comic talent of the old road movies, and no singer to compare with Crosby, it does have the musical talents of Elton John and Tim Rice and an all-star cast of voices to support some marvelous animation. It isn't a Disney animated feature, but an identical Disney clone created by Dreamworks.

The plot has Tulio (voice by Kevin Kline) and Miguel (voice by Kenneth Branagh) winning a map in a game of craps in 16th Century Spain and then running for their lives when their opponents find out the dice are loaded. Fleeing, they end up as stowaways on Cortez's ship bound for South America. Escaping from the ship's brig with a very smart war horse named Altivo, they make a dash for freedom, and using the map, discover the city of gold, El Dorado. That's when their trouble really starts.

Along the way, they pick up a cute animal sidekick, Bibo the armadillo. They also pick up Chel (voice by Rosie Perez), who figures out they are not gods and she wants a piece of the action. She out-cons them at every turn. The high priest, Tzekel-Kan (voice by Armand Assante) turns out to be a formidable enemy. He is also the most distinctively-drawn character.

While the songs in the movie are not memorable, the characters are, and the images are dazzling. The City of Gold reminds me of the Waterfall City of Dinotopia, where humans and animals live in harmony. That is far from the reality of the Incas and Aztecs. The Spaniards also brought with them diseases that wiped out the natives by the millions, but this movie is a light comedy. It does not try for historical accuracy. It is funny and harmless family entertainment. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2000 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]