In an era where animated films were starting to become serious business, DreamWorks was a pioneer in bringing the genre to such high quality. However, that doesn’t mean the films were always good. just like every film studio, DreamWorks’ popular streak of fantastic animated films had to come to a halt eventually.
in this particular case, The Road to El Dorado was the film that broke the camel’s back. After creating Antz and The Prince of Egypt, the one film that fans had high expectations for ended up in turmoil. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an entertaining film, yet compared to the quality of their previous movies, it barely stands its ground.
How to Stream or Download The Road to El Dorado
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. Check out also other DreamWorks animated movies, such as Shrek or The Boss Baby.
The Movie Review
The Road to El Dorado follows the story of two swindlers, these Spanish con-men essentially find their way into immense wealth by fooling people into trusting them. However, when Miguel and Tulio somehow end up with the map to El Dorado in their hands.
The city of gold calls them immediately as they set out on a quest to become rich forever. However, their luck runs out and eventually they find themselves in a shipwreck, cast away on an island that they know nothing about. No, with the help of Chel, a young woman, they must find a way to escape and head to El Dorado.
Just like The Prince of Egypt, this film also had three different directors working on it at the same time. Of course, each of the directors had different visions and you can see them crashing into one another as you watch the film. There’s a simple explanation for this, the directors probably had different ideas for what they wanted to put on screen. Eventually, they combined their ideas and made a coherent film. Though the issue remains that it just doesn’t work thematically.
The film has a humorous tone to it, a playful lightheartedness that doesn’t seem to go away. This sticks around even in the most emotional moments in the film, making it feel too campy, even for children. Of course, there are some good things about this as well.
The first is that there are multiple visual styles that are marinated into one here, making this an extremely pleasing feature for the eyes. So, the other thing is the writing, the dialogues feel like they are being spoken by genuinely real people, immersing you into the world even more.
The art style is by far the most important aspect of an animated film, and it’s safe to say that DreamWorks doesn’t disappoint here. This film is visually gorgeous, made in the same lane as the Prince of Egypt, it combines 2D with 3D elements. The CGI work and the visual effects work that went into this film are fantastic, whereas the 2D art design and models are genuinely individual.
That means that each character has a personality of their own, and that personality is depicted through their attire, their hair, their looks, and the way they carry themselves.
Music and Dubbing
The music is fantastic here as well, being a collaboration between Hans Zimmer and John Powell. The soundtrack is moody, going from orchestrated sections of classical music to give you a sense of grandness to this adventure. There are also somber themes, made for more emotional moments that are then disrupted by some cringy dialogue.
Honestly, though, the soundtrack might be one of the biggest advantages this film has going for it.
The voice acting, on the other hand, is phenomenal here as well. While the direction and the pacing of this film aren’t good, the actors make sure that you are engaged in its characters. I didn’t enjoy these characters as much as I thought I would, yet they’re still likable and there’s nothing to criticize about the voice acting. Kenneth Branagh is especially good as Miguel, meanwhile, Rosie Perez as Chel brings life into the movie!
The Bottom Line
The Road to El Dorado did not have a bad story, it just suffered from a poor lack of vision. If this film was handled by one particular individual, it had more chances to be a consistent film. Though, as it stands, the film is a convoluted mess in terms of its pacing. Sequences come and go, not really making much sense between the context and the characters.
- Fantastic voice acting.
- Incredibly made art style, believable models, and consistent quality.
- A phenomenal soundtrack by some of the greatest composers in Hollywood.
- A lackluster story.
- Bad pacing, the film goes too slow or too fast.
- Bland characters, not really memorable.