|The Road to El Dorado|
Theatrical release poster
|Based on||El Dorado|
|Narrated by||Elton John|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures1|
|Box office||$76.4 million|
The Road to El Dorado is a 2000 American animated adventure musical buddy slapstick comedy film directed by Eric "Bibo" Bergeron and Don Paul, with additional sequences by Will Finn and David Silverman, starring Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, and Rosie Pérez, and produced by DreamWorks Animation. The soundtrack features songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, as well as composers Hans Zimmer and John Powell.
The movie begins in 16th-century Seville, Spain, and tells of two swindlers named Tulio and Miguel who, when playing dice, win a map that supposedly shows the location of El Dorado, the legendary city of gold in the New World. However, when it is discovered that they are using loaded dice they attempt to escape, only to end up as stowaways on Hernán Cortés' fleet to conquer Mexico. They are discovered, but manage to escape in a boat with Cortés' prize war horse and eventually discover the hidden city of El Dorado, where they are mistaken for gods.
The Road to El Dorado grossed $76.4 million worldwide on a $95 million budget, making it DreamWorks Animation's only box office bomb. However, the film has managed to gain a "cult classic" status online over the years.
In Spain 1519, two con artists, Tulio (Kevin Kline) and Miguel (Kenneth Branagh), win a map to the legendary City of Gold, El Dorado, in a rigged gambling match. After their con is discovered, the two evade capture and hide aboard one of the ships to be led by Hernán Cortés (Jim Cummings) to the New World. During the trip, they are caught as stowaways and imprisoned, but manage to break free and take a rowboat with the help of Cortés' horse, Altivo (Frank Welker).
Later, they land at an unknown shore at the edge of Mexico, and Miguel begins to recognize landmarks from the map, leading them to a totem marker near a large waterfall. They see a native woman being chased by guards, but when the guards see Tulio and Miguel riding Altivo as depicted on the totem, they treat the two as gods, and along with the woman, escort them under the falls and into El Dorado, a city truly made of gold. They are brought to the city's elders, kind-hearted Chief Tannabok (Edward James Olmos) and wicked high priest Tzekel-Kan (Armand Assante). Tzekel-Kan, seeking to seize the city from Tannabok, insist the two demonstrate their powers. Tulio and Miguel bicker between themselves, while a nearby volcano begins to erupt. When Tulio yells at Miguel to stop pestering him, the volcano suddenly stops erupting, and the citizens take this as proof of their godhood. Celebrations are held, and the two are showered with gifts of gold, and given luxurious quarters to stay, along with charge of the woman, Chel (Rosie Perez). Chel is aware the two are conning the people but promises to remain quiet if they take her with them when they leave the city.
Tulio convinces Tannabok to build them a vessel that will allow them to leave the city with all the gifts they've been given, which will take a few days. Chel convinces Miguel to explore the city, which allows her to get romantically closer to Tulio. Miguel comes to appreciate the peaceful life the citizens seem to enjoy, and joins in with some of their activities. When Tzekel-Kan sees Miguel playing a ball game with children, he insists that the gods demonstrate their prowess against the city's best players in the same game. Tulio and Miguel are far outmatched, but Chel is able to substitute the ball with an armadillo named Bibo, allowing them to win; the two spare the ritual of sacrificing the other team, much to the crowd's approval. During the match, Miguel received a small cut, which Tzekel-Kan sees and realizes the two are not gods. Tzekel-Kan conjures a giant stone jaguar to chase them through the city. Tulio and Miguel manage to outwit the stone jaguar, causing both it and Tzekel-Kan to fall into a giant whirlpool, thought to be the entrance to Xibalba, the spirit world. When Tzekel-Kan comes to, he finds himself facing Cortés and his men, and offers to lead them to El Dorado.
With the boat completed, Miguel states his intention to stay in the city. Tulio and Chel board the boat, loaded with the gifts, when they see smoke on the horizon and realize Cortés is close. Tulio concocts a plan to use the boat to ram rock structures under the waterfall to collapse the main entrance to El Dorado, preventing Cortés from finding it, but requires the citizens to pull over a statue in the boat's wake to give it enough speed to ram the rocks. As the statue starts to fall, Tulio has difficulty in preparing the boat's sails, and Miguel, riding Altivo, jumps onto the boat to unfurl the sails, assuring the boat clears the statue in time. Tulio's plan works, though the boat and their gifts are lost. Tulio, Miguel, Chel, and Altivo end up near the totem and hide as Cortés' men and Tzekel-Kan arrive. When Tzekel-Kan finds the entrance blocked, Cortés has him taken prisoner as they return to their boats. Tulio and Miguel, though disappointed they lost their treasure, takes off in a different direction for a new adventure with Chel, unaware that Altivo still wears the golden horseshoes he was outfitted with in the city.
Under the working title El Dorado: City of Gold, the film was originally scheduled for release in fall of 1999. During production, the filmmakers drew much inspiration for the characters of Miguel and Tulio from those of the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Road to... films. "The buddy relationship [between the duo] is the very heart of the story. They need each other because they're both pretty inept. They're opposites — Tulio is the schemer and Miguel is the dreamer. Their camaraderie adds to the adventure; you almost don't need to know where they're going or what they're after, because the fun is in the journey", remarked one of the film's producers, Bonne Radford. Unusually for an animated film, Kline and Branagh recorded their lines in the same studio room together, in order for the two to achieve more realistic chemistry. This resulted in a good deal of improvised dialogue, some of which ended up in the film. However, it also made work more difficult for the audio team.
In late 1996, Tim Rice and Elton John were asked to compose seven songs, which they immediately worked on. In February 1999, before the release of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, it was announced that ten songs had been composed for El Dorado. It was also announced that the release date had been pushed to March 2000.
The film holds a 48% rating out of 104 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, with 50 positive reviews, making this the first DreamWorks animated film to earn a "rotten" rating; the consensus states: "Predictable story and thin characters made the movie flat." Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 51 based on 29 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
In contrast, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a thumbs up and commented that it was "bright and zesty," having enjoyed it as a simple comedic farce, while Joel Siegel, on Good Morning America, called it "solid gold," claiming the film was "paved with laughs."
The film earned $12,846,652 on opening weekend at #2, behind Erin Brockovich's third weekend. The film closed on June 29, 2000, after earning $50,863,742 in the United States and Canada and $25,568,985 overseas for a worldwide total of $76,432,727. Based on its total gross, The Road to El Dorado was a box office bomb, unable to recoup its $95 million budget.
The Road to El Dorado was released on DVD and VHS on December 12, 2000.
|Annie Awards||Animated Theatrical Feature||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Storyboarding||Jeff Snow (Story supervisor)||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Production Design||Christian Schellewald (Production Designer)||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Character Animation||David Brewster (Senior Supervising animator - Miguel)||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Character Animation||Rodolphe Guendonen (Supervising Animator - Chel)||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Effects Animation||Doug Ikeler (Effects Lead - Crashing the Gate)||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Voice Acting||Armand Assante ("Tzekel-Kan")||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Music||Hans Zimmer (Music)
John Powell (Music)
|Critics' Choice Awards||Best Composer||Hans Zimmer||Won|
|The Road to El Dorado|
|Soundtrack album by Elton John|
|Released||March 14, 2000|
|Producer||Patrick Leonard, Hans Zimmer, Gavin Greenaway|
|Elton John chronology|
|Singles from The Road to El Dorado|
The Road to El Dorado is an album released by singer Elton John to accompany the DreamWorks animated motion picture The Road to El Dorado. The songs were composed mainly by John with lyricist Tim Rice, with score contributions by Hans Zimmer and John Powell. John, Rice and Zimmer had previously collaborated on the soundtrack to The Lion King, another animated movie. Zimmer had also previously composed the music score to The Prince of Egypt.
In some instances (such as "The Trail We Blaze"), the songs have been altered musically and vocally from the way they appeared in the film. A "Cast & Crew Special Edition" recording of the soundtrack exists, but was never released to the public. It includes the theatrical versions of the songs, including "It's Tough to be a God" recorded by Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, and several of the score tracks by Hans Zimmer.
Backstreet Boys provided backing vocals on "Friends Never Say Goodbye", but were uncredited due to record label problems. The group is "thanked" by John following the credits in the CD booklet. Eagles members Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit are credited as background vocalists on the song "Without Question".
|1.||"El Dorado"||Elton John, Tim Rice||4:22|
|2.||"Someday Out of the Blue (Theme from El Dorado)"||Elton John, Patrick Leonard, Tim Rice||4:48|
|3.||"Without Question" (featuring Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit)||Elton John, Tim Rice||4:47|
|4.||"Friends Never Say Goodbye" (featuring Backstreet Boys)||Elton John, Tim Rice||4:21|
|5.||"The Trail We Blaze"||Elton John, Tim Rice||3:54|
|6.||"16th Century Man"||Elton John, Tim Rice||3:40|
|7.||"The Panic in Me"||Elton John, Tim Rice, Hans Zimmer||5:40|
|8.||"It's Tough to Be a God" (Duet with Randy Newman)||Elton John, Tim Rice||3:50|
|9.||"Trust Me"||Elton John, Tim Rice||4:46|
|10.||"My Heart Dances"||Elton John, Tim Rice||4:51|
|11.||"Queen of Cities (El Dorado II)"||Elton John, Tim Rice||3:56|
|12.||"Cheldorado" (with Heitor Pereira)||Hans Zimmer||4:26|
|13.||"The Brig" (with Triology)||Hans Zimmer||2:58|
|14.||"Wonders of the New World (To Shibalba / Save El Dorado / The Ball Game)"||John Powell||5:56|
|Best Buy exclusive tracks|
|Game Version||Released||Developed by||Published by||Licensed by|
|Game Boy Color||April 30, 2000||Planet Interactive||Ubisoft, Light & Shadow Production||Nintendo|
|PlayStation||November 16, 2000||Light & Shadow Production||Ubisoft||Sony|
|PC||Dec 28, 2000||Revolution Software||Ubisoft|
The PlayStation & PC version of the game is drastically different to the Game Boy Color version. The main difference between the two games is that the PlayStation & PC version is a 3D adventure game with similarities to Resident Evil, while the Game Boy Color version is a more traditional 2D side-scrolling platformer.
Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado received mixed reviews. Aggregating review website GameRankings and Metacritic giving the PC version 60.40%, the Game Boy Color version 59.20% and the PlayStation version 51.89% and 34/100.
The movie features the voices of Edward James Olmos, Armand Assante and Rosie Perez and is tentatively scheduled for a fall release.
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