15 January 2001 | Alcaminhante
Disney take notes, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT people !!
First TITAN A.E., now EL DORADO. I can´t believe another brilliant animation movie was trashed down by the critics. Trully unbelievable, specialy after inferior works, (in plot or character development) like TARZAN were a big sucess. Marketing realy is a powerfull thing...and being politicaly correct apparently still determines a sucess in the States.
I´d read so many bad reviews about EL DORADO, that i started to believe in them myself, and i was ready to never going to see it, altough i´m a big animation fan. As it is very common in the american reviews, this time EL DORADO was the chosen victim and so it seemed that every critic was playing follow the leader when reviewing it. After reading so many bad reviews , i doubt that some critics ever saw the movie before they wrote about it. Or at least they definetely didn´t saw the same movie i did !
Is there an "european" version or something playing here in Europe ?...
Anyway i went almost dragged to the cinema by my kid this saturday afternoon, and now i´m glad i did, for it´s realy the best animated film i´ve seen in recent years (as good as TITAN A.E. and Princess Mononoke).
And for someone like me who got a little bit disapointed with Chicken Run, and annoyed by yet another politicaly correct animated feature in Disney´s Tarzan, EL DORADO made me think that there is still magic and thrills in modern animation.
I started to suspect that this movie was going to be diferent, when i got in the theater, and i noticed that at least about 80% of the room was filled with an adult audience, and very, very few children, wich for a Saturday afternoon matinée of an animation movie is a particulary strange setting. Did someone knew something about this movie i didn´t ?...
By the end of the movie, i began to understand what was so special about it. First of all this is NOT a Disney movie as so many people seem to think, but a Dreamworks production. The plot altough aparently common for this type of story, ends up being much better than it seems at first glance, because of the characters development and the little details around them all, wich i won´t reveal because part of the pleasure in this movie is exactely the discovery of those scenes. And EL DORADO might look in style like a Disney product, but fortunely has none of those politicaly correct so called educational moments wich infest all Disney products. Contrary to Disney, EL DORADO even has an original story, and doesn´t use the same as in Lion King, wich is the same in Tarzan, wich was re-used again in Dinossaur, etc... EL DORADO doesn´t treat kids like braindead morons but instead presents a good original story in wich they even have to think to realy apreciate the movie wich can only be a good sign.
A good detail , is that, there isn´t realy a "bad guy" so the children can´t separate right away all the plot into good guy Vs bad guy as usual, making them pay more atention to the story to discover what is happening.
I don´t want to spoil anything, but go watch this movie , and notice how the character of Cortez was presented and used in the story without falling into the usual trap of the Disney style villain, and giving a very authentic historicaly correct feeling to the plot Another good twist, is that there is another "bad guy" in the EL DORADO story, but not another abstract villain placed there just to fight with the heros and loose. This second "villain" even has a logical reason to be a bad person, and he´s not just bad just because. Even what happens to him by the end is not the usual cliché used for the villains in the usual Disney movie where the bad guy always has to die to pay for his wrong doings. Well...this time...go watch EL DORADO and you´ll be surprised how cleverly the story uses both "villains".
This is one of the best, surprising and most inteligent moments in this excelent underapreciated film as it connects perfectely the fantasy with the historicaly events of that time.
But there is one thing i can bet was responsible for the faillure of this movie in America. And yes i´m talking about the "erotic" jokes scatered in some scenes and the "sexual" tension as a reason for conflict between the main characters. I can bet that those innocent little subtil scenes must have made plenty of puritane people in America grab hold of their Bibles and cover their kids eyes with thy covers, while the fathers themselves drooled over the sensual curves of the female leading character and the mothers complained how imoral this animation was. I´ve read an hilarious american review, claiming that this movie would incite kids to homossexuality and bigamy ! (WHAT ?!!! Because of the relation of great friendship of the male characters or their relation with the girl ? ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS ?!! )
I think DreamWorks took a bold risk, in creating an animation including those (innocent "erotic") jokes. They risked and they lost, but that doesn´t mean that their movie is as bad as the reviews say it is. And i don´t agree with the acusation that EL DORADO is nothing but a pale imitation of Disney style. EL DORADO took the Disney visual style and produced a movie way ahead of everything Disney ever did, thematicaly speaking. If anyone still wants to compare this to disney then the only thing i can say is that it´s movies like EL DORADO that Disney should be making, instead of using and re-using over and over again the same plot and formula, withou taking any risks or adding anything realy new to their products.
Think of EL DORADO as a much better and inteligent "Disney" movie with a little spice. One day all animations will be like this.