The Road to El Dorado

The Road to El Dorado is a wonderful movie for the entire family. It is about two Spanish con men, named Tulio and Miguel, who, after gambling for a map, getting captured and escaping from Cortés himself, and taking his horse Altivo along, find themselves somewhere in South America. They follow the map to find the legendary city of gold. Upon arriving, they meet a wonderful cast of characters, they are worshiped as gods, Tulio forms a relationship with a woman named Chel, and they get caught up in the sinister plans of a man named Tzekel-Kan. All the while, Cortés is drawing closer…

This movie is one of my personal childhood favorites. It is a musical comedy that is perfect for children and adults. The plot is well-paced. At no point does one feel as if things have slowed down too much, which is especially good for children. The songs are memorable, the jokes are consistently funny, and the portrayal of Indigenous people is done very well.

Did you know that the people of El Dorado are meant to represent many different cultures of South America? Each aspect of the society (i.e. the buildings) is taken from a different civilization of South America.

Setting: Spain and the continent of South America in 1519.

What is this movie rated? PG

What is the run time? One hour and twenty-nine minutes.

Is there any objectionable content? There is cartoon violence in this movie, allusions to violence that is unseen, two on-screen deaths (one is a human and the other is a seagull), and two short scenes that show blood. Chel is a bit scantily clad, and there is a suggestive scene between her and Tulio. Tzekel-Kan has some scary scenes when he uses dark magic and when he is trying to sacrifice someone. This character also presents dark views of religion. Also, there are several adult jokes that are aimed at parents. However, as mentioned above, the portrayal of the people of El Dorado is not done disrespectfully.

Is this movie appropriate for children of all ages? Younger children may be scared or upset at a few scenes, but they should be fine otherwise. They will probably miss the adult jokes.

What themes are found in the movie? Themes of friendship, romance, good vs. evil, making mistakes, and adventure are found throughout this movie.

Who would like this? This movie is good for most families who like music, adventure, and comedic family fun.

Rating? Five stars.

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Three Holidays to Celebrate, Three Shows to Binge Watch

There are sparkly decorations everywhere, peppermint mochas are appearing at the coffee shop, and your mailbox is crammed with ads for door-buster sales. Yep, it’s the season for the gift-giving celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah! But you don’t have to belong to any religion to have some fun this season. Here are a few cultural holidays that anyone can enjoy, along with television series to watch for hours on end while you’re off from work and school.

December 23

Festivus

Way back in December of 1997, millions of Seinfeld fans tuned in to watch the episode “The Strike” and were introduced to Festivus, a made-up holiday celebrated by Frank Costanza as a rebellion against the commercialism of Christmas. Fast forward to the present, and lots of people have taken to celebrating Festivus in their homes, dorms, and workplaces. The common rituals of Festivus are as follows:

1) Displaying the Festivus Pole – an unadorned aluminum pole. (You can actually buy these online!)
2) A celebratory Dinner – make anything you like, as long as it’s celebratory.
3) Airing of Grievances – this takes place immediately after dinner is served. Participants take turns complaining about how everyone has disappointed them in the past year.
4) Feats of Strength – after dinner, the head of the household selects a person to challenge to a wrestling match. Festivus officially ends when the head of the household is pinned.

Fun fact: Festivus actually goes back to 1966 when Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe’s father first instituted the tradition to celebrate an anniversary, and the family continued to celebrate it whenever Papa O’Keefe felt like it. Instead of an aluminum pole they had a clock in a bag, and they shared a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&Ms

Binge Watch: Seinfeld. What else?

December 26

Boxing Day

Maybe you’ve seen Boxing Day on your wall calendar and had no idea what it was. Let’s Return Unwanted Gifts Day? A fisticuffs tournament over the last piece of pie? Nope! It’s a holiday in Great Britain and almost every place the British settled, except for the U.S. Nobody is sure where the name originated, though some believe it comes from the alms boxes set up in churches during the Advent season (which were then broken open and distributed on the 26th), or from the gift boxes presented to servants who had to work on Christmas but had the following day off.

Whatever purpose it once had, Boxing Day is now a relaxing day off to visit relatives, sit around and eat leftovers, and watch soccer. Among the wealthy, fox hunting used to be a popular Boxing Day activity before the practice was banned in 2004. Those with disposable income now hunt for bargains instead – it has become a huge shopping day, comparable to our Black Friday.

Binge Watch: If you’re not going to tune in to one of 10 Premier League games, pick up a Blu-Ray of The Paradise, a BBC series following a shop girl in Britain’s first department store.

December 26-January 1

Kwanzaa

Born out of the Black nationalist movement, Kwanzaa is a relatively young holiday, created in 1966 by Black Studies professor and activist Maulana Karenga as a way for African American to celebrate their heritage and connect to their community. It fuses elements from numerous African cultures – the term Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya Kwanza” or “first fruits of the harvest,” and draws from the harvest celebrations of the Ashanti, Yoruba, Ibo, and other West African tribes (from which most African Americans have descended). There’s feasting and singing, of course, but the most important part of Kwanzaa is celebration of the seven principles – things like creativity and self-determination – that are represented by lighting one candle each night of the holiday.

Kwanzaa reached its height in the 1980s and 1990s, and about 2% of the U.S. population celebrates the holiday today. However, Americans of any heritage can set out a kinara on the mantle and celebrate our country’s diverse history.

Binge Watch: Roots, Alex Haley’s award-winning exploration of his family’s background.

 

Which holidays are you celebrating this year?

DVD vs. Blu-ray

Is there really a difference between Blu-ray and regular DVDs, or is it all just a marketing ploy to get you to buy something else, a planned obsolescence that will cost you money for nothing?

Yes and no. It depends on how much you love technology, and how clear you want your movies. Permit me a little technobabble:
burn-cds-dvds-hive   DVDs came out around 1997. They encode data in microscopic bands that are 650 nanometers wide (for comparison, a strand of DNA is 2.5 nanometers wide). Each disc holds about 8 gigabytes of information, which translates out to about three hours of movie time at a resolution of 480 pixels – pixels being a measurement of visual detail. DVDs are read with a red laser. They’ve been out long enough that they are very cheap to manufacture and purchase.

Blu-rays came out around 2006 after a battle with High Definition video format (remember the battle of Betamax?). Blu-rays are read with a blue gallium nitride laser (hence the blue ray). A Blu-ray reads from a band that is only 405 nanometers wide, which means it holds more data – up to 50 gigabytes, or, depending on how it is bluraycoded, between 5 and 23 hours of video on one disc! The resolution, or clarity of picture, on a Blu-ray is 1080 pixels, which means, if you’re watching a blu-ray on a large screen and have good cables connecting the box to your TV, the picture is so clear you start to see the grains of makeup powder on the actors’ faces, or the lines of the edges of the contacts in their eyes. The downside of Blu-rays (other than cost)? They take longer to boot up than a conventional DVD, because they have all that extra data. Blu-ray players can read regular DVDs, but those regular red DVD lasers cannot read blu-rays, so if you do choose to upgrade to a blu-ray player (which can now be bought for as little as $30), your old DVD collection isn’t in any danger.

So how do you like your movies? If you’re a casual watcher who just wants to say “Yes, I saw that,” then carry on with your regular player. DVDs are still very much in the market and aren’t going anywhere very fast. If you live and breathe your movies, nitpick them scene by scene for trivia or like a freeze-frame that’s clear enough to hang on a wall, you may prefer Blu-ray. My husband himself thought it was all hype until he watched Star Wars in Blu-ray, and suddenly saw things he never noticed before. The larger your TV screen, the larger the difference in clarity you will notice with Blu-ray, because of the increased resolution. The picture won’t look like you want to adjust the antenna.

Yes, Blu-ray will be the standard of the future, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Cheshire Library currently purchases as many new releases in both formats (standard DVD and Blu-ray) as the budget will allow. No matter which type of disc player you have, you should be able to find plenty to check out at CPL!

Search our video collection here.