General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 18 Apr 2019/12 Water
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The Road to El Dorado

The Road to El Dorado

(DVD), Dreamworks Animation 2000

Modern, fast-moving, slick, appealing cartoon based on the famous legend of the lost treasure of El Dorado (that had the Spanish - and Sir Walter Raleigh - searching for centuries all round South America...) starring ‘simpático’ characters Miguel and Tulio

Several aspects of pre-Hispanic Mexico are woven into the story and the background scenes quite faithfully (within the limitations of a cartoon!): giant (Olmec) heads, (largely Maya) hieroglyphs and names, monumental stone sculptures, myths of returning gods, murals, masks, hallucinatory dreams, the Voladores (Flyers’) ceremony, the idea of a world ‘age’ (of the Jaguar), exotic flora and fauna, human sacrifice, the ritual ballgame - invented and first played by the gods - in which the losing team might be sacrificed, ‘magic’ in the sacred books, imposing temple dedicated to Tlaloc rising above the Main Temple.

Cortés is ‘portrayed’ appropriately as a greedy, cruel Conquistador, and there is even a Malinche-resembling young woman (Chel) who befriends, interprets for and sides with the brave visitors from Spain.

The general principle of using hips only in the ballgame is respected; even the magic role of the armadillo, with its amazing ability to roll into a ball, is in keeping with ancient Mesoamericans’ respect for the creature.

The goodies win!!

This is tricky, but the concept of human sacrifice is presented in a simplistically negative way, and is supported, it seems, only by the High Priest - the entire population of El Dorado (apart from him) appear to be united against it in principle. Still, this is a good point for discussion!

Wikipedia entry on El Dorado