Childhood television shows hold a special place in our hearts, bringing us back to the days where adventure lied in every episode. Eager minds waited for the next episode to come, fooling ourselves that something different was going to happen to our hero and push them to the edge, only until we realized it was predictably the same ending. So movies that come out to potentially extend a hand back into the past and relive those moments are very intriguing and we may just find ourselves flocking to the movies to figure out what they writers could have in store for our heroes. Well, today that movie trend tries once more, this time in a pop culture icon who had mixed reception depending on the age you started with her. Robbie K here with another review on the former cartoon now brought to life in the trend of live action movies. Yes, I review:
Dora the Explorer And The Lost City Of Gold (2019)
Director: James Bobin Writers: Chris Gifford (based on the series created by), Matthew Robinson (screenplay by)
Stars: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña
Short, Fast Paced, Good for Kids, Funny Feels Like A Dora Episode Nostalgic Boots
Predictable, Simplistic, Lackluster Ending Under Utilized Cast Still Too Kiddy Preachy
For a movie that is based on a kid’s program, the Nickelodeon studies managed to keep the kid-friendly atmosphere alive and appropriate for the younger audience members. Utilizing the young adult morale issues for the generation to latch onto and have a rapport with. Those who aren’t looking for the preteen dilemmas and high school shenanigans though will enjoy the humor in this film. The director and writers knew that the older population would be looking for something more enjoyable and the movie hits that mark by making fun of itself and trying to rationalize how Dora had the adventures she did. It’s this self-punching humor that had me laughing up a storm and if you get the references remain into the movie at what next piece of humor you would get. And for fans like me who had younger relatives obsessed with the explorer, you pick up a few references that bring back the nostalgia of the animated adventures and the ridiculousness at hand. As for Boots, the little monkey is adorable and funny, bringing a dynamic set of jokes to the mix and relieving some of the other plot devices.
Yet the movie fails on the story aspect, working too hard to hit itself with the absurdity of the whole story. The adventure is predictable with lots of obvious foreshadowing laid out in the first third of the act. Trekking through the jungle lacks the bite Indiana jones and others had, again diluting to simplistic sequences that were perfect for the little kids it targets. The end of the path holds a rather disappointing, lackluster finale that leaves much to be desired in terms of wow factor, though it manages to nail that morale heavy lessons we all want in a Nickelodeon themed movie. Much of the disappointment for me was the underutilized cast, many of Dora’s friends, rivals, and even other characters like Swiper were overshadowed by the fabulous explorer and her can do attitude. In doing so, the supposedly threatening group to antagonize the trip were one-dimensional throw away that served mainly to give slight suspense to the film. Yet, there was still plenty of time for them film to put those preachy lessons right at the end, with music, forced dialogue, and everything else to the delight of families.
Dora’s real-life adventure is a cute dive to help bridge a lot of audience members. I concur with the rest of the reviewers that it is better than you expect, primarily in the humor, pacing, and fun references that are all contained in the short 100 minutes run-time. Sadly, the humor and kid friendly atmosphere left much to be desired in the form of story, acting, suspense, and overall finale for the adventure. I applaud them for making this thing short and fun though, and would say that this is a decent family film if you are looking for one to close the summer on. Yet, if you need a more quality film overall, look elsewhere, as there are several other films that will assist your viewing pleasures.
My scores are:
Adventure/Family: 7.0 Movie Overall: 5.0
Review by rgkarim