Dreamworks SKG's second feature-length animated film blends comedy and drama in an unusual historical adventure. Two genial swindlers working as stable hands stow away with Cortez, the legendary Spanish conquistador, as he searches for El Dorado, the lost City of Gold. Luck smiles on the two con men, and they happen to find a settlement in Mexico that they believe is El Dorado; however, while the two exotic strangers are at first embraced by the Mayan people, they've also arrived just in time to be offered up as the next human sacrifice. The Road to El Dorado
was directed by Don Paul, who helmed the first DreamWorks animated feature, The Prince of Egypt
; Will Finn, a featured animator on Beauty and the Beast
; Bibo Bergeron, who worked on Ferngully: The Last Rainforest
; and David Silverman. It features new songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, and the voice cast includes Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Rosie Perez, Edward James Olmos, and Armand Assante.
The usual extra fare found on DVDs takes a back seat in this family film. The main feature, a fun game for kids 6 and older, contains puzzles, math problems, and crafts projects. The player follows a map not unlike the one the characters in the movie use to find El Dorado. The only thing missing is a kid's favorite: coloring pages. Also included is Elton John's amusing music video and a PC game demo. For older folk, a short documentary on the film and a ho-hum commentary from the filmmakers (which would have been better if the troubled production history of the film had been discussed). --Doug Thomas