Directors: Eric Bergeron, Don Paul, Will Finn, David Silverman
Producers: Brooke Breton, Bonne Radford
Executive Producer: Jeffrey Katzenberg
Co-Executive Producer: Bill Damaschke
Script: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Songs: Elton John (music), Tim Rice (lyrics)
Score: Hans Zimmer, John Powell
Art Director: Raymond Zibach, Paul Lasaine, Wendell Luebbe
Production Designer: Christian Schellewald
Digital Supervisor: Dan Philips
Cast: (Supervising Animator / Voice)
Brewster / Kenneth Brannagh
Tulio: James Baxter / Kevin Kline
Chel: Rodolphe Guenoden / Rosie Perez
Tzekel Kan: Kathy Zielinski / Armand Assante
The Chief: Frans Vischer / Edward James Olmos
Altivo: Kristoff Serand
Cortes: Kristoff Serand
Domestic Release Date: March 31, 2000
In the tradition of the classic
buddy movies, The Road to El Dorado is a comedic tale of friendship and
Tulio and Miguel, a pair of two-bit con men, believe they have found their path to fortune and glory when they win a map to El Dorado, the legendary City of Gold. After a daring escape from the Spanish explorer Cortes they find their way to El Dorado, only to find their troubles are just beginning. Proclaimed as gods by the High Priest, who is using their arrival to take control of the city, Tulio and Miguel have to sustain the ruse with the aid of the beautiful native Chel, who matches them con-for-con. But even as they fulfill their dreams of gold, their friendship-and the very fate of El Dorado-hang in the balance.
David Silverman was one of the
directors, but he left the project and headed up to Northern California to work
at Pixar. Some months later, Will Finn also left the project. The film needed
more work storywise, and he felt he was perhaps standing in the way of the changes
that needed to be made.
Originally scheduled for November 5, 1999 release, the film was pushed back till March 2000 because it had encountered numerous production and story problems along the way.
Elliott and Terry Rossio had the idea of doing a buddy comedy/road-type
picture in animation when they were at Disney, and actually wrote a Sinbad
script that played with those concepts. We wanted to do an animated picture
that featured, say, Bill Murray as the main character instead of the helper.
Basically, what if you did The Lion King, but instead of it being about
Simba, you did the same story about Timon or Pumba., said Ted Elliott.
When they came in on El Dorado, Jeffrey Katzenberg had already optioned a book (a big, academic tome) about the conquest of Central America by the Spanish, and he was more interested in making a comedy then a drama (looking to differenciate it from Prince of Egypt in as many ways as possible).
So Ted and Terry suggested doing a fairly straight-forward adventure story, but instead of making the protagonist the traditional Disney-type 'innocent' hero, or the world-weary professional (which is what it would be in a live-action feature), making the leads a couple of characters who would be sidekicks in a straight-forward adventure story. Which led to the Road pictures, which led to the scene in Road to Zanzibar where Bob Hope wrestles the Gorilla (Why, Junior, I do believe these boys think we're gods.). Which folded back onto the source material -- Cortes was mistaken for a god by Montezuma.
So they started working out the story based on those ideas, while keeping at the back of their minds the fact that the Spanish conquest of Central America had very tragic consequences for the natives of Central America (which seemed to demand a story that had some real tragedy to it).
The root of the 'story problems' was when the directors came on board. They did not want to do an adventure-story-with-tragic-elements with comedic leads, that they agreed to direct. They wanted to do a comedy.
Because they did not bother to inform them of this, they were left in a situation of writing scenes to one intent, and scenes being boarded to another. Which led to any number of story pitch meetings where Terry or Ted said If you do it this way, it won't work or If you don't do it this way, it won't work. And then, after the first reels were shown, it was considered 'proof' that their story didn't work, and needed to be changed.
After that, Jeffrey asked Ted and Terry to step back from the picture, and brought in a new writer. Together with the directors, the created a new plotline they thought would be better for a comedy (eliminating the tragic elements entirely). Problem was, it was a plotline completely devoid of any real drama, and there was an odd aversion to playing what drama there was with any real impact or conviction. This is the 'vision' that was pursued for two and a half years (as opposed to the six months it took to decide the original story didn't work).
About six months ago, it finally became apparent to Jeffrey that the movie didn't work (it took Steven Spielberg, Walter Parkes, Tim Rice, and Elton John, among others, to convince him, but once convinced, he took action). That's when Terry and Ted came back on the movie in full capacity (they'd been offering comments and criticisms, and doing some writing all along, but we had no influence at all in terms of the overall plot). It's also when the second original director left the project (the other had departed earlier).
Unfortunately, they are locked into any number of decisions that were made without any real understanding of story, so their job is basically to try to find ways to introduce character, conflict, drama, the 'off-screen' movie, etc, in and around the pre-existing material.
There are wrong scenes in the movie where the solutions have been passionately presented, and fourty diferent versions of possible solutions have been tried...(but NEVER the solution that the writers think is the best). Then, parts of the movie become animated, and so 'locked in' (prohibitively expensive to change.) Therefore all new solutions are handcuffed by previous decisions, even if they were completely wrong.
This girl is Chel animated by James Baxter in a test for the movie:
Elton John has composed 9 songs for the film, although only 6 of them are included in the film (one of them, in the credits). The songs will be sung in the background by Elton himself, all except It's Tough to Be a God, which is sung by Kevin Kline and Kenneth Brannagh. These are the titles of the songs:
The rest of the songs can be heard in the soundtrack, which also includes two songs written specifically for the album: The Panic In Me and My Heart Dances. The 11 songs on the record are produced by Patrick Leonard, who co-wrote with Elton John the music of Someday Out of the Blue. Sung onscreen by Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, in the record, the song It's Tough To Be A God is sung in duet by Elton John and Randy Newman.
2. Someday Out Of The Blue
3. Without Question
4. Friends Never Say Goodbye
5. Trail We Blaze
6. 16th Century Man
7. The Panic In Me
It's Tough To Be A God
9. Trust Me
10. My Heart Dances
11. Queen Of Cities
13. The Brig
14. Wonders Of The New World
So, the album is more than the traditional soundtrack, it is a collection of songs almost wholly written for the film but entitled to stand on their own. Instead of just having the usual five songs on a soundtrack album and the rest of it being score, John explains, I said, 'Let's make an album out of this and include songs we wrote that didn't make the movie. He says of the project's evolution aside the film's development, The plot changes, the jokes change, the songs change scenes, but that's par for the course.
Elton John's The Road To El Dorado also presents excerpts from the score to the movie: Cheldorado and The Brig, both composed by Zimmer, and Wonders Of The New World, composed by John Powell. Zimmer and Gavin Greenaway produced the film's score. It's a shame only these tracks of the score have been included. Although the songs are very important, it seems as if the scores were lately ignored. Anyway, besides these two tracks of the score, the album also features Zimmer's first songwriting collaboration with John; the two co-wrote the music for The Panic In Me. John says of his creative partnership with Rice and Zimmer: Tim likes what I do with the melody, I like what Tim does with the lyric, and we love what Hans does. So it's not a really complicated thing, primarily because we have so much respect for each other. Rice, sole lyricist on the project, concurs: Hans is one of the great film composers. And Elton, of course, is a legend in every way. So I feel quite privileged. Remarked DreamWorks Records executive Michael Ostin of the album: It's so great to be part of a musical event like this. I still can't believe I'm working with Elton John, Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer. These guys are at their creative peaks, and we're really lucky to be able to bring their combined talents to so many people with this amazing record.
Released on March 31, 2000, the movie which has mostly had negative and mixed reviews, opened #2, with $12.8 million. This figure is behind the other DreamWorks animated projects Antz and Prince of Egypt, but that's no surprise, since, besides its great animation and effects, it doesn't seem DreamWorks payed as much attention to this movie as they did with Prince of Egypt, and took even more references to the Disney formula. So.. the problem? As with most recent Disney animated features, the story.
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* * * * *
This movie is the absolute shit it kicked total ass.
This review may be late but this movie is sweet.
* * * *
Gorgeous, sexy, adorable and hilarious - anyone who doesnt find this movie at least wittily entertaining must have had a humorectomy and should go back to watching South Park where they belong. Easily one of the most beautiful films ever produced the main characters were wonderfully entertaining although, admittedly the anachronistic tone of the film takes some getting used to. The music score was weak - but it grows on you - the armadillo was confusing - and I got the impression they threw him in at the last minute to sell the toddlers. Adore this film and have to say - it absolutely ran circles around Groove - now that was a pathetic waste.
* * * *
This is probably one of my favorite movies for the soul sake of plot. How many times do you get to hear an animated character curse 3 times in a movie, put the moves on the hottest girl in said movie while his sidekick gives him some pretty interesting looks. El Dorado has goregous, if not the best soundtrack I have heard since Sleepy Hollow. Tulio is flat out my favorite character because he is /real/. He curses, he doesn't believe everything he's told and he's seduced by Chel like any normal human would be. Miguel is fabulous because he's basically like me in a way. Always wanting that adventure and not too quick witted. The only thing I have to readily admit I wasn't too thrilled about the film was the fact that it could have gone much deeper plot wise. They shouldn't have been afraid to do a much more dramatic cartoon, and that is what me and several of my friends are always looking for. Cartoons that go to the extreme. Even this one shows anatomically correct nakedness. It'd be nice if more studios could make more "grown up" films like El Dorado where they aren't afraid to show blood, lust and the occassional swear word or two.
* * * * *
I loved The Road to
El Dorado so much that I've been to see it four times! I love the humor,
script, and characters. Miguel, the romantic and reckless adventurer is
my favorite, followed by Tulio, Altivo (the horse), and Bibo (the armadillo).
The animation is stunning, from the beginning "creation" sequence to the
"crashing the gate" scene at the very end. The characters' facial expressions
and gestures were smooth and realistic, and alot of the humor is visual
(I crack up every time I see miguel's facial expression as he strums his
guitar dramatically during Tulio's dice game). Symbolism is also abound
if you look closely enough. The stone monolith with the carvings of the
two gods resembling Tulio and Miguel breaks in half when Tzekel-Kan conjures
the stone jaguar to life. After the two buddies are attacked by the stone
jaguar, their friendship officially "breaks in half". The emotional impact
of the film was also great. I cried when Miguel decides to stay in El
Dorado and Tulio plans to leave. The expression on Tulio's face when he learns of his friend's plans made me burst into tears. As for the Music, I loved the versions in the movie, especially the catchy "It's Tough to be a God" sung by Kenneth Branaugh and Kevin Kline and the upbeat "The Trail We Blaze" sung by Elton John. I bought the CD and love it, but was disappointed that it did not contain the upbeat, exotic movie versions of the songs. The score was very powerful, upbeat, and colorful. It fit the film well and I often hum it to myself on occasion. Chel is probably my least favorite character, although she is funny in some scenes and I do beleive she played a vital role in the film. She was just too much of a flirt for me. Although most reveiws for this film are bad, I'm not going to follow what the critics say like a mindless lemming. I love this movie and you'll probably find me singing along with the songs and staying for the credits the next time I go see it. :)
Although I was fairly entertained
by this film, by no way was it a great animated feature. First of all,
the script was sooo boring. It was extremely flat and dull and nothing
really funny, (most of the good comic scenes were visual). Next, the characters
weren't really that impressive. Although Tulio and Miguel had some funny
parts, they really didn't have distinct personalities, and I didn't really care
about them. Chel was a total waste and she didn't add anything to the
story (although she is pretty attractive!) The only character that I enjoyed
was the horse (forgot his name), but I got pretty annoyed by the armadillo creature.
I know the storyline really isn't the focus of this film, but I still thought
it was pretty weak, with hardly any emotional connection. The music was also
disappointing. What I did like about the movie was the animation.
WOW! It was spectacular! From the opening scene I was in total awe, and
I was mesmerized by the visuals throug!
hout the entire movie. Simply beautiful, with great, bright colors and excellent character animation too. Another thing I liked was the comedy, which was kind of weird and rather sporadic,but still amusing. I liked the "shark" and the "hoofs" at the very end. Despite all the weaknesses, I was still able to enjoy the film because of these few positive aspects. No way is El Dorado in the same league as Tarzan, Mulan, or Toy Story, but it's still a nice viewing experience, especially for the animation.