In Brief: Dora’s live action movie is — sorry for the pun — adorable.
Dora the Explorer started its TV run in 2000. I don’t know that much about her other than knowing she exists. That’s not a surprise since the series wasn’t made for me and neither is her live action movie.
The movie has Dora doing the kind of expected exploring that Dora and her monkey pal Boots have done for years. The twist this time comes with the type of exploration. Dora goes to a new, and very dangerous place. High school. No surprise, the overly effervescent Dora doesn’t fit, quickly makes an enemy of her class’s president and totally embarrasses her cousin Diego.
That story ultimately takes Dora to more familiar territory when she, Diego, the class prez and the class geek end up kidnapped and taken to the jungles of Peru where Dora’s explorer parents are missing. They were searching for a legendary Incan city that is packed with treasures.
Isabela Moner is perfectly cast as Dora. She bounces through the movie like Dorothy skipping down the yellow brick road. At times, and as she prances along, I almost expected her to start singing, “we’re off to see the Wizard.”
Moner has an electric personality and a ton of talent. She totally shined in Instant Family and was the only bright spot in the last — awful — Transformers movie. Hopefully, she doesn’t get typecast and stuck doing Dora forever. If not, Moner has a very bright future.
Her supporting cast of young and older talent includes Jeff Wahlberg (Mark’s nephew), Eva Longoria, Michael Pena, Eugenio Derbez, Madeleine Madden and Nicholas Coombe. They — like Moner — have a blast with this sometimes funny script.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold isn’t rocket science. It’s packed with CGI and other effects, has a short animated section and is as predictable as you are already predicting.
But it wasn’t made for you, or for me, or for anyone approaching the designation, adult. We all think of Dora as a little girls thing. It’s actually not. I sat in a theater full of girls and boys of all ages and they all seemed to love it. That led to another surprise. Usually animated fare turned real life action running over 90-minutes has kids squirming.
Though it’s definitely 20-minutes too long, in this case the kids were riveted. So the children begging you to take them, pulling at your pant legs, stomping their feet and crying, will love it. You — interestingly and surprisingly — will likely find Dora adorable, too.
Director: James Bobin
Stars: Isabela Moner, Jeff Wahlberg, Eva Longoria, Michael Pena, Eugenio Derbez, Madeleine Madden, Nicholas Coombe, Benicio Del Toro, Danny Trejo, Q’orianka Kilcher
Click here for theaters and show times.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold is for kids and for kids that are now adults that fell in love with Dora when they were kids. However, while it is at least 20-minutes too long, the rest of us will likely find the movie bringing out the child that still resides within. Give Dora an adorable 4 out of 5 on the Friday Flicks 0 to 5 scale.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.