Verdict: A heartfelt adaptation that brings Dora closer to the real world.
It’s the age of live-action adaptations and the latest cartoon character to come to life is Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer. Directed by James Bobin, the adaptation ages the children’s show character to a teenager. Dora is facing her biggest adventure yet – finding a city of gold while also trying to rescue her parents.
What’s Dora And The Lost City Of Gold About:
Dora (Isabela Moner) has grown up in the Amazonian jungles, being home-schooled by her professor parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) and playing with wild animals and her monkey Boots (voiced by Danny Trejo). When her parents find a lead on the lost city of gold named Parapata, they send Dora away to stay with her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) as it would be a long expedition. Dora now has to attend high school and socialize with other teens her age. However, she’s soon kidnapped along with Diego, Sammy (Madeleine Madden), and Randy (Nicholas Coombe), so she can lead the mercenaries to her parents and Parapata. The teens escape with the help of Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez), an associate of Dora’s parents, who provides help on their adventure. They must reach Parapata before the mercenaries who are accompanied by Swiper the Fox (voiced by Benicio Del Toro) so they can save Dora’s parents and hopefully, the treasure too.
Dora And The Lost City Of Gold doesn’t try to be very realistic, making it more suitable for the young audiences who will also appreciate the film’s humor. Boots’ cleverness and a talking Swiper the Fox are accepted as normal in the film’s universe. The jungle is hyper-realistic and the Incan sets are stunning. But what carries this film is the titular explorer, Dora.
Isabela Moner is wonderful as Dora, making her more real than ever. She portrays the character’s constant positivity with ease while adding a charm to the character that makes her more likable and relatable than she was in the animated show. The adaptation also addresses the odd quirks of Dora – from addressing an invisible audience to making up songs for every situation. Staying the jungle hasn’t prepared her for the vicious high-schoolers either. She’s more comfortable with snakes than with other teenagers and her attempts to be herself are seen as weird by others.
The first half of the film is enjoyable but it’s when the teenagers are kidnapped and taken to South America that the movie truly starts to take off. Dora knows how to navigate the jungle even better than the adult who’s supervising them and the others begin to appreciate her skills. As the adventure leads them step-by-step closer to Parapata, they encounter obstacles that make them closer as a group. Dora And The Lost City Of Gold centers around staying curious and embracing the true self, which is as good a lesson as any that can be learned from a film aimed towards children.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film’s tone is a little inconsistent and the plot will be predictable for most adults who are familiar with the adventure films of their time.
Why You Should Watch:
If you’re looking for a fun family-friendly film, you can’t go wrong with Dora And The Lost City Of Gold. It provides consistent entertainment and runs quite short at a little less than two hours. For kids who love the show, Dora’s big screen appearance is going to be a delightful watch too.