In the ongoing spew of live-action remakes, the next comes an adaptation of ‘Dora the Explorer’ from Paramount and Nickelodeon. Beginning with the opening scene, the tone is set with a self-reflexive quality noting a clear parallel to the cartoon series. Dora regularly talks to the camera, whilst her parents are bewildered and chock it up to growing up, when in clear-sight its an obvious dimension-breaking nod to the audience.
The simple way to describe this film is, it’s delightful. It respects and pays homage to the animated show, kids will love it and have such a brilliantly exciting time with this energy-filled-kids romp. The joy felt may be felt more so to us some-what nostalgic viewers who watched the 2000’s show growing up, yet I feel as if this film could be consumed by an unknowing child or parent and have a similar feel of delight.
Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle, nothing could prepare Dora (Isabela Moner) for High School, in the city. A jungle explorer, always on a mission to uncover secrets and to go dangerous missions. Dora quickly finds herself leading a journey with Boots, Diego (Jeff Wahlberg), their rescuer (Eugenio Derbez), and a group of teenagers from school on a jungle adventure to save her parents (Eva Longoria, Michael Peña). All while the impending mystery and goal looms, to uncover the impossible mystery behind a lost city of gold.
Directed by James Bobin, director of The Muppets. This film has a sharp sense of humour, delivering giggles that continue throughout. As mentioned before, the self-reflexive and referential nature adds to the comedy, essentially talked directly to the spectator in a way that garners laughs. Surprisingly, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is beautifully shot, with carefully considered framing, what is seen is a world full of glorious colour. However, when researched it is really no surprise, as Javier Aguirresarobe shot the film. Javier worked on The Others, a breathtakingly shot film.
Isabela Moner only has a few films in her catalog, yet, I have been most impressed by the majority of her work. Specifically, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, therefore my curiosity was peaked when cast as Dora the Explorer. Moner delivers a charming, innocent and charismatic performance, she really is the anchor for the film. Whereas, she is backed by a fairly average ensemble of teenage actors, including; Jeff Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden and Nicholas Coombe.
The only problems were a few scripting issues, along with the quite-stereotypical teenage performances surrounding Moner and the ace adult ensemble. Wahlberg plays Diego, unfortunately he suffers from cliche and stereotypical scripting, he offers very little. Madden is perhaps one of the weakest points in the film, she is the Dora the Explorer version of Riverdale’s Cheryl Blossom. It felt like an imitation, her performance felt staged and unnatural in execution. A lot of the humour works, however, Coombe is where it partially falls a little flat. He is essentially a one-liner-machine, delivering misfiring jokes way to many times.
However, even with its faults, this film is still a delight. The positive far out-ways the negative. Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a surprisingly delightful journey, joy will be felt from both adults and children alike.