Cast: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Pena, Eva Longoria
Director: James Bobin
For a show that’s been on the air for 19 years, now seems like a very strange time to make a live-action adaptation of a children’s show. Maybe Nickelodeon is just trying to capitalize off the massive popularity of the series before it goes off the air, but realistically this idea would’ve been more successful about a decade ago. Regardless of the release date, how does the film’s quality compare to its premise? It’s almost exactly what you thought it would be. Juvenile yet harmless, Dora and the Lost City of Gold doesn’t exactly leave the franchise going out on a high note, but will probably satisfy younger viewers and fans of the show.
The movie follows Dora (Moner), a teenager who spends her time in the Amazon and helps her parents Cole (Pena) and Elena (Longoria) during their archeology research. When Cole and Elena think that Dora would be better off socializing with kids her own age, they send her to the United States to give her a normal high school experience. When rival archaeologists kidnap Dora and her friends and bring them back to the Amazon, it is up to them to rescue Dora’s parents and discover the Lost City of Gold. As you can probably tell based on that description, this is an incredibly generic movie that doesn’t contribute anything new or unique during the viewing process. Any semblance of a plot twist is highlighted from a million miles away and you can see almost everything happen before it ever hits our screens. On top of this, if you aren’t into juvenile humor, you may have a bad time with this movie. I get that the target audience is kids who already watch the show, but for the parents out there, it means you have to sit through 102 minutes of farting in water type jokes. This may seem like a minor thing to complain about compared to other issues that movies in this genre face, but it gets very old after the first or second joke and these segments don’t hold up very well. Outside of the plot and the humor, the CGI characters look very out-of-place when they interact with human characters. Swiper the Fox looked like a rejected character from the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie and I’m surprised a studio as big as Paramount let this movie go out this way. Maybe they figured that little kids aren’t going to care about subpar graphics, but honestly it alienates anyone who cares even a little bit. When it’s all said and done though, Dora and the Lost City of Gold really is just a who cares type of movie. If you aren’t in love with the lore of the show and caught up to date with every single episode, you’ll still be ok when you watch this movie. Ultimately, Dora and the Lost City of Gold wasn’t intended to be watched by me and the targeted audience will probably enjoy it much more than I did.
Overall, Dora and the Lost City of Gold rides the line between a good children’s movie and a bad one, with its inconsistency keeply afloat at a slightly above-average end product. Definitely a victim of Hollywood writing, this movie had the potential to stand out and be something special, but it looks like the studio got in their own way. The thing about generic children’s movies is that they’re made for a reason; they make a ton of money. In the case of Dora and the Lost City of Gold, not only do they have a built-in fan base, but they have the resources to make something average, immature, and docile to the point where only small kids will want to watch and drag their parents to the theaters with them.
Overall Score: 5.5/10