There are a lot of easy things in life, but turning an animated television show into a feature film is not one of them. Let’s pour some out for the homies that have come before, Garfield, The Flintstones, and Fat Albert, may all of those rest in peace. Sure I know I picked out some real winners there and before you bring them up I don’t think Disney redoing their animated collection into live action films is the same thing. So here we are with another entry into the “why, just why” category with Dora the Explorer, yeah it’s been on the air since 2000, and still has new episodes airing this year, but come on, wasn’t Dora played out over 7 to 8 years ago? But a funny thing happened, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is actually a good movie.
Dora (Isabela Moner) is not your normal kid, and that has a lot to do with the fact she lives in a jungle with her parents Elena (Eva Longoria) and her father (Michael Peña), that can’t produce a normal childhood. Her best friends are her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) and a monkey named Boots (Danny Trejo) as they play around the jungle while learning all about it. Dora’s parents though are onto something big and send Dora to the big city to go to school where her peppiness and overall great attitude don’t really fit it. Bad guys though want what Dora’s parents are looking for, so they kidnap Dora, Diego, and couple of other random kids to get what they want. Once back in the jungle, the kids meet Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez), who claims to be a friend of Dora’s parents and he helps them get free. From there it’s a race to find her parents and to find the place they are all looking for, the lost city of gold. Along the way there is adventure and hijinks as well as a little education all while Dora finds her true calling.
I knew going in that Dora was not being made for me, I mean I was way too old to have been into the show to begin with. I did though get the feeling I got from the trailer and let me tell you that feeling is the same you will have through the entire runtime. I am not going to pretend I have the answers on how to make something good, but not taking yourself seriously seems like a good place to start. The tone is set early when Dora does one of her talking to the audience moments and her father’s remark is that she will outgrow it. Moner wears the bangs perfectly and becomes a grown Dora before your eyes, and makes you see her as being the one and true Dora. The film has a Indiana Jones for-kids vibe to it and I say that with the highest of compliments as writers Matthew Robinson and Nicholas Stoller deliver a grand adventure story the whole family can enjoy, which after the National Treasure movies, there is not of lately. I am not going to lie, I hope we can get more of this and I would really be down for a trilogy of Latin America adventures. I had no idea what to expect with this and discovering how much I did was a joy. Can you say, good time for all?