We're the greatest! We... we won! Hurrah for us! Right?
A traditionally-animated film by DreamWorks Animation. The Road to El Dorado follows the adventures of Spaniards Tulio and Miguel as they try to con and cheat their way to fame and fortune. A game of chance earns them a Treasure Map which seems to point the way to El Dorado: the lost "City of Gold."The two (mis)adventurers stow away by accident on Cortez's (yes, that Cortez) flagship, and their escape strands them in the New World with only Cortez's horse and the treasure map for company. Seeking enough gold to "buy Spain", they set off into the jungles of Central America, where they'll find something worth much more than treasure.The film was a pretty big flop, but it shouldn't have been; it's ridiculously fun to watch, especially so if you understand the idea behind the film. According to the producers, after seeing so many animated features whose heroes were upstaged bymore memorable sidekicks, they decided to just cut out the typical "hero" characters and center the film on Those Two Guys in the first place. Essentially, the end result is a cartoon version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. With the plot of The Man Who Would Be King. With songs by Elton John.As might be expected from the title and the two con-artists traveling plotline, the film is heavily influenced by the Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour series of Road to ...... films of the 1940s.
Achilles in His Tent: Miguel, after a fight with Tulio, decides to stay in El Dorado while Tulio and Chel sail back to Spain. When he sees that they're about to be crushed by a giant pillar, he rushes back to save them.
Big Bad Ensemble: Tzekel-Kan and Hernan Cortez until the former meets the latter and becomes subservient to him.
Big Damn Heroes: When it seems like Tulio and Chel's ship won't make it past the falling pillar, Miguel rides Altivo towards the ship to give him the impulse he needs to jump and pull the sail down so the ship can go faster and avoid certain death.
Big Word Shout: Tulio yells "STOP!" apparently stopping a volcano from erupting.
Blood Magic: Tzekel-Kan seems to power his magic with human sacrifice.
Tulio: You had to be all 'Oh, look at me, look at me, I'm a god.'
Buffy Speak: Miguel, when trying to explain why the boat is unacceptable.
Miguel: I have been around boats, believe me. And that, um... pointy tall... the-the-the long up and- up and down thing...
Chief: The mast?
Also when trying to get Altivo to find them a pry-bar.
Miguel: All you have to do is find a pry-bar! A long piece of iron with a hooky-thing at the end!
Cheaters Never Prosper: Both inverted and played straight. Miguel and Tulio do get into serious trouble for using loaded dice, but, on the other hand, if they hadn't cheated they wouldn't have gotten to El Dorado in the first place. Later on, cheating at the ball game saved their bacon. Then again, it only delayed things since it directly led to the Big Bad coming after them.
The Chew Toy: Tulio, though mostly during the "Trail We Blaze" sequence.
Comically Missing the Point: Cortez goes into a detailed explanation of exactly how Miguel and Tulio will be punished, culminating in their being sold into slavery when they arrive in Cuba. Miguel's response?
Justified Trope: They wrote special animation software to make the gold look "gold" rather than merely "yellow".
The barrels the duo hide in are also CGI.
Contrived Coincidence: The guy the duo gambles against happens to have a map to El Dorado just as the Spanish Fleet is leaving for South America, the duo happen to wash up right on its shores after days adrift at sea, and a volcanic eruption happens (and cancels itself) just as the duo are asked for proof of their divinity.
To be fair, it doesn't really get that acidy until near the end, where it's implied that they'd had a LOT to drink and smoke, and the wine/alcohol they'd been drinking was probably fairly strong, given that Tulio looks gobsmacked when he first takes a drink and Miguel spits it out.
The scene where Tzekel-Kan completes the potion that summons the huge jaguar stone-beast-thing. Orgasm much?
Speaking of orgasm face, Tulio really gets into that massage he gives Chel.
Double Edged Answer: Tulio and Miguel manage to sneak off Cortez's ship with enough food to get back to Spain, with the unexpected event of Altivo jumping off the ship in chase of an apple. After saving themselves, the horse, and the boat, Altivo eats all of their food within seconds.
Tulio: Did any of the provisions make it?
Miguel: (Looks and sees Altivo eating) Well, yes and no...
Ear Worm: The opening theme. It even appears to be one in-universe, since Chel hums it casually while blackmailing Tulio and Miguel.
Enforced Method Acting: In a good way—Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline were actually in the recording booth together (which is rare; actors usually record their lines alone with someone else filling in the other characters) so they could play off each other and banter. It worked beautifully.
Eternal English: Played completely straight. Everybody - even the people of El Dorado - speaks English (though, being generous, it could be eternal Spanish).
Gets confusing when Chel needs to translate certain words for Tulio and Miguel, like the word for "spirit world".
They even lampshade it, with Tulio asking Chel (who is watching them change) "Do you mind?" She responds "No", and bites her lip. There's more than one gif that has superimposed the Tumblr logo over her face.
Tulio: Ladies and gentlemen, we've decided it's a draw! Miguel: Thank you all for coming! You've been great, see you soon! Tulio: Adios!
The way it's staged suggests that they've done it before, and considering the film being set in the early 1500s (and the rapier being a civilian weapon) it's likely that both are in reality adequate fencers.
Miguel: Look on the positive side. At least things can't get— Massive thunderstorm starts Tulio: Excuse me. Were you going to say "worse"? Miguel: Absolutely not. I've revised that whole thing. Scene ends with a pan out showing sharks approaching.
There's a surprisingly easy-to-miss one right at the beginning: During the opening song, a pair of armadillos meet, sniff each other's noses, and disappear into a bush. The bush shakes around a bit and a moment later the two armadillos pop out again... followed by a bunch of babies.
It could just be an animation slip-up, but much has been made of the fact that when Tulio and Chel's makeout session is interrupted, her head is nowhere near his lips. And it doesn't help that she's clearly straddling him as we see her move her leg to get off of him.
And then there's Chel moaning when Tulio massages her shoulders, before he says, "Oh yeah."
Right before the natives address them when they first arrive, Miguel apologizes to Tulio about a past girl. Tulio's mouth clearly starts to form the F-word right before Tzekel-Kan interrupts.
During the "Trail We Blaze" section Miguel and Tulio are both shown stripping down before jumping into the hot springs.
At one point during "It's Tough to Be a God", Miguel sings, "So let's be gods; the perks are great!" He and Tulio promptly fall to the ground, surrounded by women.
Lighter and Fluffier: The plot of the movie is based on Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King," which was made into a live action movie with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. The original story and the live adaptation are significantly darker.
Loud Gulp: When Miguel and Tulio have to play a ball game they've never played before against fifteen of the best players in the city, and are expected to win since they are gods.
Lovable Rogue: Miguel is the closest, stealing and lying most of the time but never being malicious about it, and he outright defends strangers without asking for anything in return. Tulio and Chel are both more self-serving but come through in the end.
Mayincatec: The native culture is sort of a blend of all the typical Hollywood Aztec/Mayan/Incan traits.
Meaningful Echo: "To err is human, to forgive Divine." First used as a means of appeasing Tzekel-Kan when they dismiss his "tribute". Later, said back to Miguel by the Chief all but saying out loud he knows Miguel isn't a god but doesn't care.
Not So Great Escape: Takes on a pronounced zig zag through the beginning of the film: Miguel and Tulio avoid arrest through impressive Flynning only to fall into a bull pen. They make a dramatic exit with the bull mowing down some of their pursuers, jumping off of a high wall into open barrels full of water to elude the others. They pull the lids over themselves, only to be hoisted aboard a ship bound for the New World and have a large, heavy chest piled on top to keep them from getting out. At sea, the chest is removed, and they emerge dramatically in full view of the crew, promptly locked in irons for an involuntary audience with Cortez. They are thrown in the brig as stowaways and presumably flogged, eventually sneaking out in the dead of night with the help of Altivo's fetching skills. After another dramatic escape when Altivo jumps overboard, all three wind up at sea in a rowboat, dying of starvation and thirst. Fortunately, they miraculously beach themselves a stone's throw away from a landmark in their map to El Dorado.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Around the middle of the movie Chief Tannabok hints that he already suspected that Miguel and Tulio weren't gods. He probably chooses not to divulge this because the "gods"' presence weakened the high priest's power and put a stop to human sacrificing, which he was clearly against. The fact they were pretty fun anyway probably helped.
Ocean Madness: Referenced after Miguel, Tulio, and their horse Altivo have been floating for God-knows how long and then suddenly wash ashore:
Miguel: And it is! It really is the map to El Dorado! *he pants with excitement*
Planning With Props: When Tulio tries to formulate a plan for their boat of gold and the pillars that lead to El Dorado, he uses a stack of earrings to represent the pillars and a pendant for the boat. The armadillo spills water over the whole scene, inspiring Tulio to decide to crash the boat into the pillars
"Apparently, El Dorado is native for... "Great. Big.ROCK!!!" (echoes) "Get. On. The horse." "WHAT. Do you THINK. You're DOING?!?" "...On the one hand - Gold! On the other hand (points at mural of an execution) - Painful. Agonizing. FAILURE."
Puppy-Dog Eyes: Miguel uses this on Tulio, who calls it "The Face", to gamble for the map.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Chief Tannabok, who loves his people in spite of the high minister's bloodthirsty religious fervor and accepts Miguel and Tulio even after he figures out on his own that they aren't gods.
Record Needle Scratch: Atop their temple, looking over the majestic city below, Miguel is gazing out as Tulio is thinking inside.
Tulio: We just have to lie low. Miguel:(beautiful music swells) But Tulio, this place is amazing! I mean I wonder what's- Tulio: NO! (needle scratch) Don't even move!!!
Recycled IN SPACE!. The Man Who Would Be King. In cartoon form. In South America. With musical numbers.
Miguel: Tulio, look on the bright side! At least things can't get any- (Cue pouring rain and thunder) Tulio: Excuse me, were you going to say WORSE? Miguel: Nnnno...no. Tulio: You're sure? Miguel: Absolutely not, I've revised that whole thing. Tulio: We're at least in a rowboat. Miguel: We're in a rowboat, exactly. (Cue Threatening Sharks)
Scenery Porn: What'd you expect from the City of Gold? Also present everywhere during the "Trail We Blaze" sequence.
Screams Like a Little Girl: Miguel and Tulio - they even provide the page image. But, of course, you'd probably react the same way to a giant green stone jaguar breaking out of a temple. But less so when it's Chel.
Tulio: Miguel and Tulio! Miguel: Tulio and Miguel! Both: Mighty and Powerful Gods! Chel: Hello! Both:*squeal*
Tempting Fate: When Tulio and Miguel are stuck on the rowboat with no food.
Miguel: "Look on the positive side, at least things can't ge-" (immediate thunderstorm) Tulio: (angry) "Excuse me, were you going to say 'worse?'" Miguel: "Er... no" They argue as the camera pulls out to show at least a half dozen sharks following their boat.
Those Two Guys: The entire idea behind the film was to take Those Two Guys and make them into main characters instead of putting them in their normal sidekick role.
Thwarted Escape: After their impressive display of Flynning to avoid being arrested, Miguel and Tulio drop behind a stone wall, only to find they have fallen into the pen of a huge bull that doesn't seem too happy to see them.