Don’t let the thought of a live action “Dora the Explorer” movie fool you, the new film is a delightful jungle adventure fit for both children and adults.
“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is not a simple, preschool-level adaptation of the long-running cartoon. Instead, it’s an action comedy for the whole family, with whimsy and silliness for the kids and sharp jokes and dialogue for the parents.
Most of all, the “Dora” movie is just plain fun from beginning to end.
Dora is a cheerful and overly friendly kid who grew up in the jungle with her explorer parents and her animal friends. In the new film, she’s grown into a cheerful and overly friendly teenager, who heads off to the big city to attend a real high school.
Can her eager naiveté withstand the rigors of her new school? Doesn’t matter, because soon Dora and some of her classmates are kidnapped by a band of international mercenaries, who believe Dora is the key to finding the fabled lost city of gold in the Amazon rainforest.
“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is smart — not just in the witty dialogue and storytelling, but as a whole. The filmmakers seemed to realize that it’s a silly idea to make a live action adaptation of the toddler television show “Dora the Explorer”, so they lean into that silliness and don’t talk down to their audience.
It’s the rare movie that works for both parents and their children. For the adults, the dialogue is sharp and well-written, with a dry sense of humor that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself. The story and the plot are also smart enough to keep the audience engaged at every step, never devolving into nonsense.
Children will enjoy the animals, jungle adventure and the mostly teenage cast. The new film is a nice mix of iconic elements of the show and new and original characters and stories. Actor Isabela Moner carries the movie as Dora, her cheerful, friendly nature buoying everything around her.
“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is a smartly written, well-acted film that is confident in itself, its characters and its message. It doesn’t pander to the children in the audience with modern pop culture references and stupidity. It’s too good for that, and it is really good.