A Heartfelt Adaptation
70%Overall Score

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 (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.

An ideal watch for young minds

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.

Dora is more real than ever

Isabela Moner is wonderful as Dora. 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.

A message for children and adults alike

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.

WATCH OR NOT:
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 movie appearance is going to be a delightful watch too. 

Director: James Bobin
Writers: Matthew Robinson, Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, Danny Trejo, Benicio Del Toro, Jeff Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Nicholas Coombe
Language: English
Streaming on: Amazon Prime