Dora and the Lost City of Gold (PG) | Home Ents Review

Dir. James Bobin, US, 2019, 102 mins

Cast: Isabela Merced, Jeff Wahlberg, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria

Review by Michelle Moore

Dora the Explorer has become a house hold name within the last decade or two with a long living television series (among its countless items of merchandise).

She is known as a young Spanish speaking child who talks to the animals (and her backpack) and encourages her young viewers to join in with her on screen adventures and learn new words along the way. This Nickelodeon star now hits the big screen as a teenager in yet another adventure – Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

Thanks to her parent’s exploratory lifestyles, as a child, Dora and her cousin Diego loved nothing more than heading out on adventures, engaging with animals and seeing things in the jungle no other child has experienced. Things change when Diego heads back to the big city and Dora is left with only a monkey called Boots for company. As she grows into a teenager, her parents Elena and Cole (Longoria and Pena) decide she needs more than the jungle is able to provide for her, she needs to meet children of her own age. Dora (Merced) is sent on her most dangerous adventure yet – High School. Nothing could have prepared Dora for this experience and the change that has come over her cousin within their years apart. Where Diego (Wahlberg) has grown up in a busy City and learnt the laws of the land and the rules of High School, Dora is a young, innocent and naïve child who sees the positive in everything and everyone one, assuming the solution to each problem is a song. On a school trip Dora quickly finds herself being dragged into a mission to find her parents in the jungle, alongside her cousin and two peers; their mission – to solve the mystery behind a lost Inca civilization.

Whether you are a child, a teen or a young spirit at heart you will find there is very little besides her age that has changed about Dora in this new adventure. This live action version of a much-loved TV animation series retains all the important and lovable aspects from the animation; essentially the elements that makes Dora…Dora. She is portrayed by Merced as a free spirited, adventurous and optimistic child if not somewhat naïve. At her age you would think some aspects she may have moved on such as singing her way through problems. Thankfully there is no repetition of “can you say…” as there is with the TV series (just once at the start) but a song about digging poo holes is cringe worthy. Errors in narrative, such as one minute climbing out of quicksand and the next being clean or questioning how did the bad guy follow the teens into the Inca temple and they get out, if the door was closed behind them can be forgiven by a child but does leave questions for an adult.

The insertion of a small cartoon scene of Dora as well all remember her, actually works well and is a great way of connecting live action and the animation original. If you are someone like me who doesn’t mind an animation movie or films aimed for younger audience every now and again, you may find some entertainment in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, great script and great casting.

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