Two swindlers get their hands on a map to the fabled city of gold, El Dorado.
In its third foray into animated features, The Road to El Dorado
, Dreamworks came up with something unfortunate: the routine animated picture. Plagued with production problems (it was originally conceived as a mould-breaking 12-rated adventure), the likable film is a Hope/Crosby-style road picture about two scallywags who stumble upon the Latin American paradise of El Dorado, the mythical city with riches of gold. Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline are quite fun as Miguel and Tuilo, two Spanish con artists who are shipwrecked in the New World with a scene-stealing horse. The pair follow a map to the secret city where their loyalty will be tested: do they return home rich men or continue to live in this paradise? Of course there are some obstacles: a high priest (Armand Assante) is locked in a power struggle with the benevolent chief (Edward James Olmos) and the perfunctory girlfriend (Rosie Perez) puts the two friends at odds. Like too many of the animated features of its time, The Road to El Dorado
impresses only on a visual level (it's drenched in gorgeous greens and golds). The story and Elton John's songs are quite forgettable; only Branagh and Kline's playful banter keeps the film alive. Slick and light, it's a fine 83-minute entertainment for ages 5 and up, including the non-discriminating adult. --Doug Thomas, Amazon.com