Geek Review: Dora And The Lost City Of Gold

I’ve never actually seen an episode of Dora the Explorer.  The show came out when I was too old to be part of the intended audience, and I don’t have any kids.  But I do recognize the characters thanks to cultural osmosis.

At any rate, there’s now a live action movie about a teenage Dora titled Dora and the Lost City of Gold.  Would someone like me dig something like that?

It turns out that I could enjoy this movie.  It was a lot of fun.

Opening with a brief flashback, we see a six year old Dora playing explorer with her cousin Diego.  Some of the small bits from her show turn out to be imaginary, but there’s still her loyal monkey friend Boots.  Sadly, Diego is leaving the jungle to go live in “the city” (implied to be Los Angeles), but Dora, well, she’ll be staying in the jungle, learning how to explore and survive.

Flash forward ten years and the now sixteen year old Dora (Isabela Moner) gets some bad news.  Though her parents (Michael Pena and Eva Longoria) are close to finding a fabled lost city and its fabulous treasure, Dora is moving to the city to go to school with her cousin Diego.  Dora doesn’t want to go, but she’s an overwhelmingly positive person.  Whether its naivety or just a positive personality, Dora is still Dora anywhere she goes.  Almost completely lacking in any sort of self-consciousness, Dora ignores all of Diego’s advice on how to fit in.  She barely notices she’s an outcast.

Not long after her parents disappear in the jungle though, Dora, Diego, snobby class president Sammy, and dorky outcast Randy are kidnapped by treasure hunters after the same lost city and its huge stash of gold.  Can Dora outwit the bad guys long enough to rescue her parents and find the lost city?

Now, as I said, I have never actually seen Dora the Explorer.  That didn’t block my enjoyment of this movie in any way.  Moner is a likable Dora, and the movie combines kid friendly humor with a few references for parents.  Seriously, this movie referenced things like The Wire and The Terminator at various points.  Sure, it doesn’t quite make sense why Swiper the fox is still an anthropomorphic talking creature, but why not?  Besides, he has the voice of Benicio del Toro.  Combine that with Danny Trejo’s cameo and you have a really top notch cast having fun.  It shows.

Also, the kids at my screening really seemed to enjoy the movie.  They especially liked the comedic mugging of Eugenio Derbez, so if you need something kids will like and won’t bother you, this Dora movie will probably fit the bill.  8.5 out of 10 impromptu Spanish lessons.

Hey, it’s better than all the live action Disney remakes I’ve seen this year.

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