Last night Diana and I watched The Road to El Dorado. It came out in 2000 but I had never seen it, although I did have the soundtrack (I love Elton John, and while it’s no Lion King, it’s pretty decent). The movie was DreamWorks only box office bomb, and I can see why. It definitely had potential, but I don’t think they quite knew what to do with it. It wasn’t a musical per se, but at one point the main characters busted out into a song (horribly sung, by the way). Sidenote: If you’re going to shell out the dollars (or pounds) to hire Sir Elton and Tim Rice to write songs for your movie, just go ahead and make it a full-blown musical. I feel like the songs were wasted… ANYWAY… There was one beautiful part in the movie, which Diana pointed out.
The movie begins in 16th-century Spain and centers on two con men, Tulio and Miguel (but they aren’t you’re typical con men, of course. They’re goofy/lovable.) Through a series of adventures they find themselves in the ancient city of El Dorado – a city of gold. The people of El Dorado immediately think Julio and Miguel are gods (and somehow everyone speaks English, but suspension of disbelief…). The people are expecting angry gods. The high priest keeps trying to offer them human sacrifices to please them, which they refuse.
In one scene, Miguel frees a man who the high priest wanted to sacrifice. The man cowers in fear of Miguel. Miguel tries to offer a friendly gesture, but the man runs away. Then Miguel does something unexpected of a god. He takes out his guitar and starts strumming. At first, children are afraid of him. But soon they can’t resist. They gather around him. And it doesn’t stop there. The adults take notice. Miguel begins dwelling with the people of El Dorado. They enjoy his company, and he enjoys theirs. Their “god” doesn’t desire sacrifices. He takes pleasure in relationships. And the high priest is stunned. He says, “This is not what I expected.” You can watch the scene here.
The crazy thing is, the high priest seemed to prefer an angry god. A god he could manipulate with sacrifices. A god who can be understood with formulas.
A personal god can be scarier. A god who invites you to sit down and chat with him is not what we might expect. It will cost us our lives in a different kind of way. That god might ask us to do something we’d rather not do. But if we choose to obey it will not be out of fear, but out of a sense of love and gratitude. And, as the people of El Dorado would tell you, that’s a god worth following.
And this probably won’t shock you, but I think Jesus is that kinda God.
The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father. And the Word was full of grace and truth. – John 1:14