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Waaaaaay back in the year 2000, DreamWorks Animation released an animated comedy entitled The Road to El Dorado. Taking inspiration from the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road to..” films, El Dorado tells the story of two swindlers named Miguel (Kenneth Branagh) and Tulio (Kevin Kline), who end up winning a map to the fabled city of gold “El Dorado.” After unwittingly stowing away on the ship of conquistador Hernan Cortes (Jim Cummings), the pair (accompanied by a horse) escape and make landfall in the New World. There, the two use the map and successfully locate the city deep in the jungle. Conveniently, Miguel and Tulio bear more than a passing resemblance to the two gods who created the city in the first place, and the pair are hailed (after a rocky start) as deities, with the entire city at their disposal.
During their first night in the city, the Chief throws a huge party for the “gods.” While Tulio is skeptical about this whole “being a god” thing, Miguel, the eternal optimist, loves it, and swears that being a god is the easiest thing in the world! This is how “It’s Tough to Be a God” begins. I think the title of the song is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because while the pair bemoan how tough it is to appear godlike, all you really see is the two having a good time, partying and drinking the night away. I love listening to these two sing, Branagh and Kline are great together. The style of the music is very much in keeping with what you might expect from a Disney musical (even though this is DreamWorks) and the animation is gorgeous! In fact, this is my favorite song from the film, considering it’s the one I remember the most.
There is one spoken verse where Tulio reminds Miguel that if they DON’T pull off this “god” gambit, then they could very easily be sacrificed (i.e. killed) to the real gods. Miguel acknowledges Tulio’s point, but doesn’t seem overly concerned, and why not? Right now the entire city believes they’re immortal beings who can do whatever they please. It seems that the pair should have no trouble collecting as much gold as they like and eventually leaving when the time is right.
But considering this is a movie, you KNOW things aren’t going to be nearly that simple. Hopefully Miguel and Tulio enjoy this night of partying, because things get really hairy starting the next morning (but that’s a story for another time).
*All images are the property of DreamWorks Animation
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