For animation buffs only!
Adventure, music, humour, romance, animation, colours.
Dreamworks' latest endeavour, The Road To El Dorado, has got all the requisites of a potential kiddy adventure. Yet, the movie lacks spirit.
First let's go through the plot and then analyse why I said the film lacks spirit.
Two Spaniard rogues, Miguel and Tulio, win the map to El Dorado -- the city of gold, in a lucky toss. A series of adventures, misadventures rather, follows when the bungling duo and a comical horse, Altivo, find themselves on the doorway of El Dorado.
Fortune favours them as the higher authorities, a roly-poly Chief Tannabok and a foxy priest Tzekel-Kan, mistake them for gods.
In the course of their stay, Miguel finds himself attracted to the simple pleasures of life. And the impish beauty Chel bewitches Tulio.
Trouble brews when the evil Tzekel-Kan discovers the so-called god's true identity. What happens next?
We won't spoil the fun for you; check it out for yourself.
The camaraderie between Miguel and Tulio has been drawn out excellently by Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline. Rosie Perez lends the perfect dose of sensuality to Chel's character. Assante oozes a good deal of wretchedness as the contemptuous Tzekel-Kan.
The plot has been liberally lifted from Rudyard Kipling's classic, The Man Who Would Be King. Contentwise, the film is satisfying to some extent, but the animation and special effects leave much to be desired.
The end result is not a patch on Disney films. Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was at the helm of affairs in Dreamworks' debut enterprise The Prince Of Egypt, obviously needs to get his act together.
An absolutely weary score by Elton John also slackens the film's pace to great lengths. Considering that he is the one who composed the memorable music for The Lion King, this one lets you down.
The key ingredients of an entertaining animated bonanza -- special effects, visuals and music -- though present, lack focus, reflecting a sorry state of affairs.
Pity, since the story is full of opportunities waiting to be exploited.
What goes in favour of the film is perhaps its release timing -- right in the midst of the Diwali vacation. You'll be sure to find the theatre swarming with kids of all ages and sizes.
Walt Disney's Dinosaur, releasing next week, might prove tough competition, though.
Bottomline: Only for animation buffs. Though for Bombayiites, What Lies Beneath is still a good option.
Kenneth Branagh (voice of Miguel)
Kevin Kline (voice of Tulio)
Rosie Perez (voice of Chel)
Edward James Olmos (voice of Chief Tanabok)
Armand Assante (voice of Tzekel-Kan)
Elton John (narrator)
Director: Bibo Bergeron, Will Finn, and Don Paul.
Screenwriters:Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio
Music: Elton John