The Road to El Dorado picture image

The Road to El Dorado

Road to El Dorado is a 2000 American Animated movie made by Dreamworks. All and all, I wasn’t excpeting a lot out of this movie and that is pretty much what I took away from it, it was ok to tepid. I didn’t dislike it but I can’t say I liked it either.

Tulio, Miguel, and Tzekel-Kan The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio, Miguel, and Tzekel-Kan

The story follows two Spanish con-men, Miguel (Hamlet) and Tulio (Phoebus). They get a map to El Dorado and managed to get there. When they reach the city they are worshiped as Gods. They go along with the rouse to get a lot gold and have a little adventure. They meet a thief named Chel (Rosie Perez) who knows the truth but goes along with them and helps them out with understanding whatever Pan-Mesoamerican culture this movie is going for.

Miguel and Tulio pit the chief and the high priest named, Tzekel-Kan against each other and convince them get build them a boat. The High Chief who apparently just wants to sacrifice things to them finds out they are not gods and then attacks with some bullshit magic and them teams up with the conquistadors, but Miguel and Tulio managed to save the city from the Spaniards but they lose most of the gold but it’s cool because they are off to have more adventures in sequels that were scrapped because this movie was bomb at the box office.

Chel and Bilbo The Road to El Dorado picture image

Chel and Bilbo

First off, this movie should have annoyed me more because I took one course in college on Meso-American cultures so I’m pretty sure that makes me an expert of the subject, but seriously aside from a general look and the mention of Xiabalba, which is the Mayan netherworld and the ball game which in the Popol Voh the Hero twins do play, there isn’t a lot cultural integrity. It’s like the creators has some basic knowledge but no enough for even a half accurate portrayal. To be fair it’s not Mayan but there some strong urging that it is kinda is. Basically it’s like an Epcot pavilion, an approximation at depicting a different country/culture at it’s most basic. And gold is wasn’t really highly regarded in Meso-American culture, they liked Jade especially for the Olmec and the Maya. In fact word for gold in Aztec is teocuitlatl which means excrements of the gods. Any back to the movie….. tangent done.

Tulio & Miguel The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel

The characters in this movie are all fairly likable, I didn’t have a problem with them. I wish we could have gotten to know Tulio and Miguel’s friendship origins, or Chel’s backstory or what is the deal with the high priest, he really lacked a strong motivation. We get a basis for the characters but nothing really concrete and you could make the argument that it’s for the plot that they need to sacrifice in-depth characterization but the plot and pacing were not strong, they could have added lines here or there but maybe they were saving it for sequels but did we really need 5 minutes stretchs of nothing happening like them walking to El Dorado or the ballgame at the expense of one line about why Chel wanted out of the city? Or did I miss that? It’s a nitpick as I liked the main characters well enough. The Armadillo was the best though at least we got to learn its origins and I liked the horse.

Tulio & Miguel singing It's tough to be a god The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel singing It’s tough to be a god

Speaking of the scene where they walk the road to El Dorado, the songs are forgettable. I know Elton John and Tim Rice did them but I really don’t remember any of them. The characters only sing one song, “It’s tough to be a God” which I can’t recall and it’s not like I wrote this review within a few days of watching it. I recall it being bright and cute but that’s it. The other songs I know were there but I couldn’t say anything about the lyrics or melodies. Is being forgettable worse than being bad?

Tulio & Miguel The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel

Then there is the animation which is really good, almost too good for the comedic tone of the film. It’s bright and colorful but they are trying very hard to make it pretty which is distracting. It should have either been a a live action movie or been goofier in the animation. Maybe hollywood should re-boot it of course if they did Miguel and Tulio would be dark and brooding which would ruin it but that what Hollywood does so whatever, seriously though Hollywood don’t, what you’re doing is bad, you should just stop.

Tulio & Miguel The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel

The Road to El Dorado is at best is okay-ish and at worse tepid. It’s not bad enough to be memorable but for a fun little adventure movie it’s ok.

The Prince of Egypt Picture image

The Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 animated film based on the bible story of Moses and Exodus and the 1965 movie The Ten Commandments. It was one of Dreamsworks’ first movies and did fairly well at the Box-office. But the real question we have to ask is this a bad movie or is just ok? It’s great, shut-up.

Moses and Ramses The Prince of Egypt Picture image

Moses and Ramses

Ok the plot, So Ancient Egypt total sucks in you’re a Jewish slave under Seti I. This go shit to crap when Seti decides to killing the Jews babies. One mother decides to send her baby boy adrift in a basket on the Nile and he is delivered to the Queen of Egypt who adopts him and calls him Moses.

Years later Moses has grown into a care-free trouble making type and is best pals with big bro Ramses II. The toy cause some shenanigans and get in trouble with their dad and he says one weak link can ruin a dynasty, these words haunt Ramses. I just want to point out this Egyptian Dynasty isn’t that old, like Seti is the second Pharaoh of the 19th so yeah. Anyway Moses ask Seti to give Ramses a chance to prove himself and later that night at banquet. Ramses is named Prince Regent. The priests also offer him a capture woman from Midian. She is bit to wild for Ramses so he gives her to Moses.

When Moses sees her escaping her sort of helps by distracting the palace guards and follows her. He then runs into two salves, Miriam and Aaron who are his siblings. Miriam knows this because she followed the basket to the Queen. She sings the lullaby their mother sang to baby Moses and the stirs something within him. He confronts his mother and father and learns that Seti ordered infanticide because he fear their numbers. The nest day Moses accidently kills a Slave driver when he was over whipping an old man. Moses runs off despites plesa from Ramses.
Moses then runs into the Midian lady he helped and her people. He because a shepherd and falls in love with and marries the Midian lady who is named Tzipporah. Life is peaceful for Moses but then he runs into a burning brush which is God. God tells Moses that he needs to get the Jews freed from stinky-pants Pharaoh and God give Moses‘ stick special powers do his wonders.

Moses tells Tzipporah who is shocked but decides to go with him. Moses returns to Egypt and though delighted to see his brother who is now the Pharaoh is also now his adversary. Moses tries to convince Ramses to let his people go but Ramses refuses and the Jewish people don’t warm up to Moses either. Moses uses performs God’s wonder only to have the Priest use pallor trick to undermine him. Then the plaque come and Ramses still says no. Moses tries to warn him that something worse is coming but Ramses remains stubborn claiming he will not be the weak one and threaten Moses with infanticide of the Jewish people. Then the Egyptian first borns are taken including Ramses’ son. Ramses gives in and releases them.

The Jewish people are free and they walk and ended at the Red Sea. Ramses then shows up with his army. God sends a fire tornado to stall them (fill that sucker with sharks and think you have the plot to the next Sharknado movie). Moses then splits the Red Sea and the Jewish people get cross while the Egyptian (guess that awesome firenado did last) aren’t so lucky though Ramses lived, though historical dude lived to be like 90. The movie ends with Moses and the ten commandments.

Moses and the burning brushThe Prince of Egypt Picture image

Moses and the burning brush

Former Disney chairmen, Jeffrey Katzenberg had always wanted to make an animated version of The Ten Commandments but Micheal Eisner refused the idea. So when Katzenberg formed Dreamworks pictures with Steven Spielberg and David Geffan they went for it. Unlike some of the other Knock-off Disney movies, this one doesn’t use the sweet, sweet Disney formula, instead it opts to use the basic indigents that make Disney movies great; great stylish animation, sweeping music with great characters.

Moses and RamsesThe Prince of Egypt Picture image

Moses and Ramses

One of the best parts of this movie is the dynamic between Moses and Ramses. Their relationship is genuine but they also have to honor their adult reasonability that puts them at odd with each other. This makes for some great drama and in a lot of way this story and relationship is more mature than most straight up movie aimed at adults.

The down side is that that the rest of the characters are not that interesting and don’t have much personality to them. Miriam sort of does as she is hopeful but that that much considering Ramses and Moses. The comic relief priest are a little annoying but they don’t get that much screen time so it’s not that bad.

Tzipporah, The Prince of Egypt picture image


Then we have are vague princess-like character Tzipporah. She is the daughter of teh high Priest of Midian and is very similar to Esmeralda is character type. She feisy and mature, heck she is voice Michelle Pfeiffer who was akin to Demi Moore in the 90s. The trouble is Tzipporah don’t do all that much but considering that her personality does come though very well.

A Lovely Shot from The Prince of Egypt , picture image

A Lovely Shot from The Prince of Egypt

The really stand out in this movie is the animation and the visuals. I will just say that I’m not in love with the square angularness of the characters design but it’s a style and I can appreciate that especially when the other visuals and very cinematic looking shots and angles are truly beautiful. This movie has real scope to it and it one of the best looking animated movies with out a doubt.

I personally love the shot of both Ramses and Set in profile against the statues. I love that right before the passover scene Ramses, his son and Moses are mirroring the image on the wall depicting the death of Jewish babies, with son between the crocodile foreshadowing his death. My favorite image from the film though is the whale in the Red Sea as they cross it, that just makes me want to cry big sappy happy tears . Speaking of the Red Sea scene, I love the atmosphere as the depend down in the sea and the sound of the sea and the darkness is just wonderful.

The music is also great. I really love the background music especially the lullaby leitmotif and the burning brush music. The songs are good, I don’t love them but I don’t hate them. No song was that bad and they moved the story along. Some people question their existent in the film narrative but they didn’t bother me. I think they had more of lead in it would have been better.

Moses with Miriam and AaronThe Prince of Egypt Picture image

Moses with Miriam and Aaron

This this film perfect? No it’s not it has a bog flaw that hold it back, the running lenght. I feel this film could have stood to be longer. Moses learn about his origins with little to no breathing room between him seeing Tzipporah run off, his feeling bad over the Egptian children and his brother pain is cut too short because of the Exodus and When you believe. I think ten minutes would have help with the flow and maybe that would have fleshed out some the minor characters a little bit more.

Moses and the Jewish People leaving Egypt when you believe The Prince of Egypt Picture image

Moses and the Jewish People leaving Egypt

The Prince of Egypt is a very good movie despite any minor faults it has. It has real beauty and drama and you can just tell that the production team believed in this movie an delivered a great movie in return, see what I did there, because of the songs When you Believe and Deliver us?