Monday, December 14, 2009

Movie Review
    — The Road to El Dorado

Via Netflix, I finally watched this animated film from the year 2000.  Some semi-spoilers below.
  • Completely forgettable songs by Elton John.
  • Every see a movie trailer which you feel like has shown you every good scene?  (Witchboard is the one that I first remember giving me that feeling.)  This one’s trailer goes a step beyond and shows the villain’s defeat!
  • Were these folks Aztecs or Mayas?  Imagery was mostly Mayan, I think, but the Spanish villain being Cortes (Cortez) points to the Aztecs.
  • Slightly puzzled by the inclusion of the Cortes plot at all.  The only menace added came from the knowledge that Cortez wiped out the Aztecs.  And after the big fight with the High Priest, the boat crash and such is denouement.  I suspect they just needed another 10 minutes of story to get things to the 70 minute mark needed for a theatrical release.
  • Curious to watch the credits and see that other than the character animation, lots of other parts of the film appeared to have been farmed out to a bunch of other animation studios (probably doing various computer work, I guess).
  • Can we draw thematic connections between this and the Hope/Crosby “Road” movies?   (Apparently so.  IMDB trivia says Miguel and Tulio’s reflections twist into Hope and Crosby at one point.)
  • No one died.  Not even the guy who was stomped on by the giant stone jaguar.  Sigh.  Kid’s film in the end.
All this said, the movie itself was pretty enjoyable.  (RottenTomatoes rates it a 49%, which gives it a Splat value there but really means that it’s probably okay but not stellar.)  The themes were reasonably adult, the backstory interaction between the Chief and the High Priest had more subtlely than you expect in what is usually kid’s fare, and there was only one obligatory humorous animal sidekick and it actually supplied an important plot point.

And the Mayan imagery was way fucking cool to have running in my head during that hot sex scene we had the next night.  Jaguar gods, rivers of gold, feathered headdresses, pyramids erupting out of overgrown jungle, stone altars… wow!

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