The Road to El Dorado

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The Road to El Dorado is a 2000 American animated adventure musical fantasy comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation.


In Spain 1519, two con artists, Miguel and Tulio, win a map to the legendary City of Gold, El Dorado, in a rigged dice gamble. After their con is exposed, the two evade the guards and hide aboard one of the ships to be led by Hernán Cortés for the New World. During the voyage, they are caught as stowaways and imprisoned, but break free and take a rowboat with the help of Cortés' horse, Altivo.

They reach an unknown shore at the edge of Guatemala, where Miguel begins to recognize landmarks from the map, leading them to a totem marker near a waterfall that Tulio believes is a dead end. As they prepare to leave, they encounter a native woman, Chel, being chased by guards. When the guards see Tulio and Miguel riding Altivo as depicted on the totem, they escort them and Chel to a secret entrance behind the falls, into El Dorado. They are brought to the city's elders, kindhearted Chief Tannabok and wicked high priest Tzekel-Kan. The pair are mistaken for gods and given luxurious quarters, along with the charge of Chel. Chel discovers the two are conning the people but promises to remain quiet if they take her with them when they leave the city. The two are showered with gifts of gold from Tannabok, but disapprove of Tzekel-Kan attempting to sacrifice a civilian as the gods' ritual.

Tulio instructs Tannabok to build them a boat so that they can leave the city with all the gifts they have been given. During the three days this will take, Miguel explores the city, and Chel gets romantically close to Tulio. Miguel comes to appreciate the peaceful life the citizens seem to enjoy. When Tzekel-Kan sees Miguel playing a ball game with children, he insists the gods demonstrate their powers against the city's best players in the same game. Tulio and Miguel are far outmatched, but Chel is able to substitute the ball with an armadillo, allowing them to win. Miguel spares the ritual of sacrificing the losing team and chastises Tzekel-Kan, much to the crowd's approval. Tzekel-Kan notices Miguel received a small cut and realizes the two are not gods, because gods do not bleed. Tzekel-Kan conjures a giant stone jaguar to chase them through the city. Tulio and Miguel outwit the jaguar, causing it and Tzekel-Kan to fall into a giant whirlpool, thought to be the entrance to Xibalba. Tzekel-Kan then surfaces in the jungle, where he encounters Cortés and his men. Thinking Cortés is a god, he offers to lead them to El Dorado.

With the boat completed, Miguel says he will stay in the city. As Tulio and Chel board the boat, they see smoke on the horizon and realize Cortés is close. Tulio suggests using the boat to ram rock pillars under the waterfall and block the main entrance to the city. The plan succeeds with the citizens pulling over a statue in the boat's wake to give it enough speed. As the statue starts to fall too quickly, Tulio has difficulty in preparing the boat's sail. Giving up on staying in the city, Miguel and Altivo jump onto the boat to unfurl the sails, assuring the boat clears the statue in time. The group successfully crashes against the pillars, causing a cave-in but losing all their gifts in the process. They hide near the totem, just as Cortés' men and Tzekel-Kan arrive. When Tzekel-Kan finds the entrance blocked, Cortés brands him a liar, and takes Tzekel-Kan prisoner as they leave.

Tulio and Miguel, though disappointed they lost the gold (unaware that Altivo still wears the golden horseshoes with which he was outfitted in El Dorado), head in a different direction for a new adventure with Chel.

Why it Rocks

  1. Okay story.
  2. The animation is pretty good.
  3. Tulio, Miguel and Altivo are funny and likable characters.
  4. Some funny moments.
  5. Some of the songs such as "Friends Never Say Goodbye" are pretty catchy.
  6. Amazing voice acting.

Bad Qualities

  1. Some forgettable songs.
  2. Some of the humor is rather weak and unfunny.
  3. Thin plot.