The Road To El Dorado (***) (Out of 4) – Dreamworks seems to have settled nicely into its animation department. The Road to El Dorado is the third feature from them after Antz and The Prince of Egypt (two films which were near the top of my list in 1998) and while its not nearly as accomplished as either of them, it’s a worthy entry and a fun ride.The ride begins by introducing us to two incredibly appealing characters, the con artists Tulio and Miguel. Sure they live on the edge, but Tulio is more cautious and Miguel likes to seek out new adventures – such as when they win a map supposedly leading to the legendary City of Gold, known as El Dorado. After some narrow and entertaining escapes, they reach the city only to be mistaken for Gods, leading to a power struggle between the city priest and the chief. It’s this struggle that provides some interesting debate about religion using Gods to seek out and destroy those who fail to believe in what they want them to believe. This debate remains in the background though as the story is more about fun and adventure than theological discussion and that’s fine since seeing anything as deep as that in an animated family tale is most appreciated by the adults while they enjoy the hi-jinks alongside their children. It’s nice to see animated films coming out with a PG rating more frequently. Moralists will deem this a reflection of Hollywood trying to destroy the kids, but I see it as a way of animation maturing even more as an art form. Sure, I was a little shocked to see a moment here where a character appears to get gratifying stimulation off screen (by a hot little number named Chel, voiced by a surprisingly sexy and understandable Rosie Perez), but how many kids under the age of 10 will really understand what is truly happening and kids over the age of 12 will not be getting this information the first time from a cartoon. The songs by Elton John and Tim Rice aren’t as profound or as fun as their work in The Lion King and of the five songs here, I probably enjoyed, maybe three of them – but won’t be buying the album. The opening and closing credits numbers are appropriately rousing and the best song is “Friends Never Say Goodbye”. The other two, one chronically their search for the City of Gold and the other about how hard it is to be a God (the only one to be actually performed by the characters), didn’t do much for me, but I didn’t come for the songs anyway. I came for the adventure and there’s plenty of it along the way. Many sequences build up some incredible excitement, before unfortunately being cut a little short. But that’s only so we can get to more laughs and the next exciting moment. Even a shark attack gets a huge laugh as not only is it unexpected, but the way the beast is drawn is identical to the poster of Jaws.The Road to El Dorado is thoroughly enjoyable viewing for both young kids and older adults. The animation is wonderful, particularly the glowing pillars of El Dorado and any moment involving raging water. The characters are likable and funny and the story moves along briskly all adding up to another fun trip to the movies to see a cartoon from Dreamworks.