Tulio and Miguel (voiced by Kline and Branagh) are goofy con men in Spain who accidentally wind up on board Cortes' (Cummings) ship bound for the New World. They escape with his horse and somehow beat him to shore, where they stumble into El Dorado, the mystical city of gold. Of course, the locals mistake them for gods, so they bumble along with the charade in hopes of a big haul. But to do this they must join forces with a nubile native (Perez) and navigate through a feud between the temple high priest (Assante) and the city's chief (Olmos). Oh, and Cortes is getting closer.
Not only is the story reed thin, but it's also undercut by continual anachronistic dialog that's funny but alienates us from the adventure and characters. I mean, this kind of film doesn't have to be high art, but does it have to be so haphazard, formulaic and soulless? That said, it is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, the characters are amusing (and very nicely voiced, of course), and the animation is often impressive. Elton John and Tim Rice's songs are adequate but unmemorable (the number sung by Kline and Branagh is a jumbled mess). And perhaps the most surprising thing is that it's such a step backwards after DreamWorks' wonderful genre-breaker The Prince of Egypt.
[U--themes, suspense, grisliness] 1.Aug.00
US release 31.Mar.00; UK release 4.Aug.00
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