Netflix Fantasy Adventure Comedy Is A Generation’s Secret Gem

By Nina Phillips | Published

road to El Dorado

DreamWorks has a history of some pretty amazing movies, including How to Train Your Dragon, Chicken Run, and ANTZ. However, there was one that did far worse than the rest, known as The Road to El Dorado. Despite the company trying to pretend the movie doesn’t exist, there are still a few people out there who consider the movie a secret gem.

The Road To El Dorado

road to el dorado

The Road to El Dorado is an animated musical about two Spanish con artists, Miguel (Kenneth Branagh) and Tulio (Kevin Kline), who find a map supposedly leading them to El Dorado, the city of gold. While escaping from captivity, the two find signs of the lost city and follow the map’s clues.

A Big Pain For DreamWorks

road to el dorado

While following the map, the two bump into a native woman, Chel (Rosie Perez), who takes them to El Dorado. Due to a coincidental natural disaster, the natives of El Dorado believe Tulio and Miguel to be gods, and they are showered with gifts and provided sacrifices.

As the situation starts to devolve, Miguel and Tulio must choose between doing the right thing or taking the gold they’re given and running away.

While some people love The Road to El Dorado, many more people dislike it, and the film became a huge headache for DreamWorks. First, the film was delayed, originally meant to be released in 1999, it got pushed back to March 2000.

Originally More Serious

The historical inaccuracies surrounding the story and the positive light placed on Spaniards meeting and interacting with ancient cultures also frustrated many viewers.

The movie was originally meant to be more serious, but after The Prince of Egypt, the company decided to make The Road to El Dorado a fun and lighthearted film.

This led to several rewrites and a struggle to determine the ideal age group for The Road to El Dorado and eventually the team created a film that was a little complicated in its premise, without a solid audience.

Some aspects of the humor were aimed more at adults, but the actual storyline and animation style fit children best, leaving many potential audience members confused, as well as offended by the implied sex scene in what was supposedly a film for children.

The Road To A Flop

road to el dorado

Fans of The Road to El Dorado will be disappointed to learn that the movie was originally planned to be the first in a series. After missing out on the gold in El Dorado, Miguel, Tulio, Altivo, and Chel were meant to travel around the world searching for other tales focused on gold.

However, the movie did so poorly at the box office that the other movies never happened.

While having flops is common for most companies, The Road to El Dorado was actually the first movie from DreamWorks Animation to not earn a profit at the box office, so the team was not willing to try and continue the series.

The movie had a budget of $95 million, but it only managed to earn $76.4 million globally, making it a pretty huge loss for the company.

Stream It Now

Even now, the movie isn’t considered much of a success. On Rotten Tomatoes, The Road to El Dorado has an average critic score of 49 percent. The audience score is higher, but still only a mixed review of 66 percent on average.

If you want to watch The Road to El Dorado, it’s available to stream on Netflix. For some, the movie offers some childhood nostalgia, while for others, it offers a new-to-them movie filled with complicated characters and catchy songs.