Some of the effects here are stupid and don’t look for logic, but the jokes are great in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and the cast is a delight. You’re going to be pleased with the movie if you’re a fan of the animated series (or even a fan’s parent).
For more than a decade, Dora the Explorer ran as the animated series of a kid and was translated into dozens of languages. A generation of kids sang along with the singing map, told the fox not to swipe and followed through all their adventures a little explorer and her monkey. While the movie version of the popular series begins when Dora and her cousin Diego are children, Diego has to leave the jungle for Los Angeles, and Dora is mostly left to her own devices to explore on her own.
This has been going on for ten years, and now little Dora is growing up. Sort of. Imagine what would happen to you if you were to hang out with no one but a monkey, some jungle animals, and parents of your teacher. The Dora we see in the movie (Isabela Moner) hasn’t really grown up, she sings to herself, speaks to the animals and is highly concentrated on the quest for the lost Incan town of Parapata by her relatives (Eva Longoria and Michael Pena). She has to discover a new jungle— high school— when they send her off to live with her Abuela and the family of her cousin, and the bad girl has totally no idea how things function.
She never saw a bus from college. She’s got a backpack full of emergency supplies holding up the line at the metal detector of the school (and giving adults a chill, reminding them of the world we’re living in where it’s needed), and she’s outrageously positive. Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) doesn’t want to be seen with her and Sammy (Madeleine Madden) smart pants from the school can’t manage the fresh girl being as quick as she is. It’s the usual tale of high school, with a protagonist appearing to be more of a 10-year-old than a 16-year-old, though with incredible comic timing.
Are you looking like a poor thing? It’s not that. It’s surprising that the filmmakers decided not to maintain the children as tweens, as they’re all acting like that, but it’s going to be aspirational for little kids to look at high school children like that. Even when they play stereotypes, the youthful cast is amazingly joyful. A standout as the geek Randy is Nicholas Coombe. Yes, sigh, here we do the geek stereotype, but he’s lovely. In Randy, who has all the knowledge of video games, you might see yourself. As soon as the gang-kidnapped to help the bad guys find Dora’s parents and their discovery-gets into the temple, you know Randy’s going to figure out all the traps as he’s playing a lot of Tomb Raider obviously. I saw them coming as well as someone who did that very thing. He’s the geek, yeah, but he’s near to my core, and loving him was simple.
Sammy dresses like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so it made me bristle when she comes after Diego for being se*ist, thinking they made her the wrathful feminist. However, it was apparent after a while that she was putting up the same obstacles as Diego, the jock that his very open friend is uncomfortable with. In reality, seeing a woman friendship melt her cold heart rather than a boy’s love was lovely. That’s also in there, but it’s not her change’s cause.
You probably shouldn’t read much about a little girl’s characteristics of a kid’s film based on a cartoon, but it’s difficult not to. Dora and Gold’s Lost City have a lot to say about breaking down your obstacles and how hard it is to be around others. You have to take on a persona to stand out if you don’t feel seen, whether that makes you accessible, an overachiever, a hard young girl, or a geek. Dora was alone and permitted her interests and character to be developed in a transparent manner. It is changing for the better everybody around her. It’s hard to think of a more lovely message for a children-oriented film.
As for the other protagonists, this movie is steeled by Michael Pena as he does every other movie he is in. Please let me know if someone begins a petition to get him to adopt us all. Eugenio Derbez, as the nice man who might not be so lovely, is wonderfully goofy. Although we’re only listening to Danny Trejo voice boots for a time (more about that in a little bit), his one brief speech is about ideal.
Final Verdict: And the cartoon right now. Fans will get a healthy dose of nostalgia, including a sequence that would make the audience laugh like crazy. Let’s just say they manage to make sure you remember what you used to look pretty deftly like as a child. We see how he received his name from Boots, singing a map and talking backpack. And then Swiper’s there. Yes, you’re going to hear the classic line, “Swiper, no swiping.” But here’s the issue; Swiper, who’s a fox in a mask, talks in the voice of Benicio Del Toro, but no one seems to think that’s odd. Later, when Boots talks, Dora is shocked. Didn’t she just hear the talking fox? She also appears to be able to regulate the behavior of a poison frog.