In 16th century South America, a large group of conquistadors are exploring the jungles, searching for El Dorado, the city of gold. Among this group are knights in full armour, maidens riding in slave-carried sedan chairs, monks, llamas, pigs and men dragging cannons, desperately trying to traverse knee deep mud and extremely dense rainforest. It was these images that first made me think this was a comedy, as the shots of these 100s of people blindly heading deeper and deeper into the lush undergrowth without even contemplating what could possibly be ahead is frankly hilarious, but when a smaller (but still fairly sizable, and weighed down with unnecessary items and people) is sent forward as a scouting party, they are rapidly picked off one by one by natives, illness and each other. Eventually leading this group is Klaus Kinski’s wild-eyes Aguirre, desperate to divert to mission to his own gain via any means necessary, even shooting the man currently in charge. After the initial hilarity the movie takes a dive towards bleaker, more surreal pastures, and although some shots, the final one for instance, of Aguirre finally controlling his raft, apart from the hoards of monkeys, are memorable, this film really isn’t worth the time.
Choose life 5/10