This movie is dumb, it doesn’t make sense, it has minimal plot and development and you never feel truly invested in anything going on. But it is pretty funny, especially if you are a fan of the original show. The movie limps along in its use nostalgia, references, and a few cleverly placed jokes to make this an endearing film at times, but it’s a movie about Dora…how good were you expecting it to be?
The film follows Dora as a teenager as opposed to the 8 year old girl fans are familiar with. She has grown up in the jungle, talked to a monkey her entire life, and idolizes her parents search for an ancient lost city. She soon becomes a fish out of water when she has to enter a new environment known as high school, experiencing jocks, nerds, and preppiness with her amusing sense of optimism. When she is kidnapped along with some of her classmates, she must band together and embark on a journey to find her parents and the lost city of gold.
There is a lot not to like about this movie, but some of the things I will praise the movie on is its protagonist and use of humor. Dora being thrust into a new environment offers plenty of laughs as she encounters new people and experiences. Her cheeky sense of positivity is quite endearing at times and offers a nice introspection at the importance of being yourself. Her naivety can become quite annoying by the film’s end, but for the most part Dora is quite an enjoyable character to watch.
The movie relies a lot on references to its source material and being really self aware at the stupidity of its premise for its humor. If you have seen the show before, you will get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing how the film pokes fun at some of the common tropes of the show such as Dora asking if the audience can say the word “delicioso” with her. Some of the humor is made for kids, so expect to hear a song all about going to the bathroom.
The movie also surprisingly has a good message to convey on how we treat people that are different than us. Sure Dora’s enthusiasm and sense of awareness is made fun of by her peers, but they slowly learn to accept her and embrace the things that make her different. I’m not saying this is deep film by any means, but I appreciate that this was the message they chose to give little kids.
Now for the bad…and oh boy is there a lot. Dora really is a kids movie so I don’t want to be too harsh on it, but at the same time it tries to be a film for adults to enjoy and you just can’t excuse some stuff. First off, the characters are very stereotypical high school people and it follows the usual formula. There is the jock, the nerd, and the super popular yet snooty all star student. Each character acts and conforms to their defined roles without using it as an advantage to explore a different view of high school. The world of higher education has evolved over the past few years, when will we stop with these generic stereotypes?
The film also defies its own logic on multiple occasions. For instance, Swiper the Fox talks all the time but no other animal does. But when Boots, Dora’s monkey friend, talks for the first time to Dora she acts surprised as if she has never heard an animal talk before. It doesn’t make any sense and there is no clear indication of whether this is all in her head or actually happening. Either have all the animals talk or none of them, you can’t change your mind halfway through the movie.
There are also sequences that are blatant rip offs from other movies such as Indiana Jones. The movie does not have a hint of originality and relies solely on familiarity of other films and its own source material to propel its conflict and action. It was pretty frustrating to see at times and I wish they had tried just a little more to make this movie a little more unique.
The film is not memorable at all, in fact as I am typing this sentence I am finding it hard to remember what I just watched. Scenes happen and end with nothing of consequence to make you feel invested in what you’re watching. You never really care about any of the other characters and you’re only attached to Dora because of her magnetic personality and thrill for life. There isn’t much of substance to watch and makes this an entertainment fit for children only.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold is not as bad as everyone would have expected, but it still is pretty bad. It gets by with some quick wit and good morals to make it enjoyable for kids. The film struggles in making itself feel original by copying scenes from other movies and retaining the 2000’s era of high school cliches. If you were a fan of Dora when you were younger and it meant something to you, then you may find something to enjoy but other than that I would recommend staying away from this film and learning Spanish on your own some place else.