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From September 2000
Film Review

Film Review Hotline
THE ROAD TO EL DORADO
4 Stars

Kevin Kline & Kenneth Branagh
on making the film, in this issue

VOICES: Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Rosie Perez, Armand Assante
DIRECTORS: Don Paul and Eric Bergeron
SCREENPLAY: Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio
CERTIFICATE: UDISTRIBUTOR and Picture copyright: UIP
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 30 mins
OPENING DATE (UK): August 4

Miguel and Tulio take the long Road
"And it's about so big..."

Setting sail for the legendary city of gold, DreamWorks skilfully steers a course around the sugary sea of sentimentality which, some might say, Disney would dive straight into.

Nevertheless, as a mainstream cartoon animation The Road to El Dorado is obliged to be a little bit cute, a little bit light and a tiny bit fluffy. But the bottom line is that it really delivers as honest-to-goodness family entertainment. The kids will squeal with delight and the parents, guardians or designated adults will chortle into their popcorn.

Detractors may grumble darkly about historical accuracy, but they’d be missing the point. This is a buddy movie about two con-men who find a treasure map to a legendary, hidden, sparkling metropolis of riches. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t ruin the plot to tell you they find El Dorado and have lots of exciting adventures and touching-but-superficial life-learning experiences.

Essentially, excellent storytelling is brought to life with the very best that animation can offer. There’s a touch of the computer-augmented stuff here too, but at the root of the movie’s visual success is the energy communicated by the animators and artists.

Paul and Bergeron fuse all the strengths of live-action direction, camerawork and editing with that ‘the impossible can be possible’ sense of animation wonder. The action sequences are breathtaking and nail-biting and the dialogue scenes are full of uncanny human detail. These guys and their team really know how to do their jobs.

Of course, helping in no small measure to inject those vital elements of realism and magic are the actors. Kline and Branagh work brilliantly together as Miguel and Tulio, with Branagh just taking the lead for his wonderfully deadpan delivery of such lines as “We’re in a barrel, I have no further information”. Furthermore, Assante as the evil High Priest brings a classic, scheming villain to life – guaranteed to make kids scream, hiss or cheer. Cast off immediately. You’ll have a grand evening out.

Nick Briggs

Read our massive reviews section in this month's Film Review
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.

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Also reviewed online this month:
5 Stars; Excellent
X-MEN (FILM OF THE MONTH) • released August 18

FULL DETAILS AND REVIEWS OF ALL THESE AND MORE IN THIS ISSUE

5 Stars; Excellent
The Color of Paradise • August 4
Ring • August 18

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La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (The Widow of Saint-Pierre) • August 4

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August 18 • Himalaya
August 18 • Siberia
August 18 • Time Code 2000
August 18 • Those Who Love Me
Can Take The Train
August 25 • Rules of Engagement