As somebody who has never seen a single episode of the Dora The Explorer cartoon, and have only been exposed to the memes and parodies, I managed to have a lot of fun watching this movie.
I’m sure kids; now probably older, who have seen the animated series, will probably get a kick out of seeing all the easter eggs and references, but those who don’t shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
One of the main reasons as to why I was entertained by this adaptation, was because it wasn’t afraid to directly call back to its origins, while still remember that it’s suppose to stay right on the edge of being a more grounded and realistic live-action film as well. One could say that this is in fact a live-action cartoon, that follows both laws of reality and rules of make believe.
Dora doing the more cartoony stuff like 4th Wall Breaks, singing songs, and interactions with an animated monkey, contrasted to her dealing with high school social pressures, introspections, and things in the jungle that could actually kill her, are what I found to be quite charming about this movie.
The self-aware sense of humor, mixed in with the adventure aspects of the plot, helped drive this pass the finish line of being a worthwhile movie to watch. It’s like a more lighthearted version of Indiana Jones, but for younger people. It’s even got the entertaining “jungle puzzle” elements that you’d like to see in a story like this. In terms of humor and plot points, this movie is capable of pleasantly surprising you.
What really really helps makes this movie work the way it does however is Isabela Moner as Dora. I have absolute admiration at the fact that she was able to completely throw herself into this role. A character that is essentially this relentlessly positive and energetic live-action cartoon, that still has to look and act believable in a real world setting. Moner flawlessly pulls it off.
As a young actress who had major roles in the “Transformers: The Last Knight” action movie, a dark thriller like “Sicario: Day Of The Soldado,” to a family drama like “Instant Family,” Isabela Moner has quite the range for a young actress, and she brings that talent into “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.” Without a doubt, she is the reason to see the movie.
I suppose if you can’t buy the more fantastical cartoony aspects, then this movie just won’t work for you.
I also suppose that if you can’t get into the more youthful, silly, low hanging fruit humor, nonsensical aspects that are clearly targeted for kids; being that this is technically a kid’s movie, then this just won’t work for you.
What also doesn’t work, are most of the jokes that the adult characters make in this movie. A lot of them just fall flat. Some are cringe-worthy.
Speaking of adult characters, Eugenio Derbez looks like he is trying too hard with his role.
Then there’s the usual things you would find with these kinds of movies… Story cliches, uninspired tropes, plot conveniences, etc… Hopefully it doesn’t break your suspension of disbelief too much.
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