Dora And The Lost City of Gold (2019)

JAMES BOBIN

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB/USA, 2019, , , , , Story by , Screenplay by , , based on the series created by , , Cinematography by .  Produced by Music by , Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by .

The little girl whose passion for exploration thrilled many a toddler’s heart on her animated television series graduates to a feature film, with Dora The Explorer all grown up and still keen on explaining the secrets of the jungle. Dora () has lived with her archaeology professor parents in the South American jungle, an ace at surviving in the wilds of the endlessly lush and exciting landscape around her while remembering the importance of being a learner and not a stealer (archaeologists are not treasure hunters, after all). When her parents become concerned that she might never be able to fit in with human society, they send her to finish high school in California with her cousin Diego, which she at first resists until she decides to think of it as another adventure in learning about unknown ecosystems. Immediately standing out from her peers, Dora’s expertise in the wild is necessary when she, Diego and two of their fellow students are kidnapped by mercenaries and taken back south, forced to help the bad guys find the location of Parapata, the legendary city of gold. It’s a mix of elements from Indiana Jones and Lara Croft that have been softened for those who presumably watched the television series as babies and will now be thrilled to see Dora a bit older and still as smart and conscientious as ever. Don’t hold it against your kids if they love it, but don’t be surprised if you find it confusing; sometime it’s an attempt at the Brady Bunch Movie’s self-aware skewering of its main character, her fourth-wall-breaking narration as some kind of psychosis that the other characters are weirded out by, other times it’s a sincere adventure that treats the TV show like something Dora imagines that she has control of.  It’s hard to know where the mischievous fox Swiper, who speaks and where clothes, fits in as the film can never decide if it wants to be cynical or sweetly naïve, but in either case the experience is cheapened by fake looking sets and bad visual effects.  The only highlight is a brief but potent appearance by , who brings a great deal of class to her moments as a figure out of legend in the film’s climax.

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