Dora and the Lost City of Gold Movie Review: An adorable film that is not just for fans
The film is about the search for Parapata, the lost city of an Inca civilisation, protected by Indiana Jones/National Treasure-esque contraptions
If there is one thing that Dora loves as much as, if not more than, exploring, it is breaking the fourth wall. In Dora and the Lost City of Gold, the live-action adaptation of the much-loved animated series, she suddenly looks at the camera and asks us to pronounce "Delicioso." It's a funny scene, but what follows is way funnier. Dora's father, Cole (an effortless Michael Pena), looks at her mother, Elena (the charming Eva Longoria), and says, "She will grow out of it." Such unassuming bits of humour are peppered throughout this film.
The film is about the search for Parapata, the lost city of an Inca civilisation, protected by Indiana Jones/National Treasure-esque contraptions. But it also explores how a jungle-bred chirpy Dora (Isabela Moner), who finds herself transported to the big bad world of an American high school, adapts to her new setting. Though the film doesn't dwell long in this phase, it gives us a proper introduction to her saccharine goodness. She is so positive that when a hilarious Eugenio Derbez, as Alejandro, later exclaims, "No more talking. No more singing. Your positivity is unbearable," we can't help but nod in agreement.
Director: James Bobin
Cast: Isabela Moner, Michael Pena, Eva Longoria, Eugenio Derbez
While the group of friends who are forced to tag along with Dora in her expedition are not exactly novel characters, they more than make up for it with their earnestness. And I think it is this quality that defines Dora and the Lost City of Gold. While there certainly is an 'I have seen Harrison Ford/Nicholas Cage/Angelina Jolie do this before' vibe to the entire film, Isabela Moner holds the film together. Be it her reactions to getting hit on by her classmate or breaking down when her offer of friendship isn't reciprocated, Moner exhibits impressive variety in the titular role.
During their expedition to find Parapata, at one point, Dora and her friends black out after inhaling spores from a weird-looking flower. We are suddenly shown each of these characters as their animated avatars, and the live-action film, for a couple of minutes, turns into a fully animated one. I liked the eccentricity of this scene. While the film's target audience will enjoy it as a throwback to the Dora they love, others like me are free to connect the inhalation of spores and transportation to a la-la-land to well... you-know-what. This is the kind of smart writing that tells us that though the James Bobin-directorial is aware of the target audience it aims to keep others invested too.
The visually-enticing Dora and the Lost City of Gold reminded me of the various well-done Indian star vehicles. The legion of Dora fans get enough whistle-worthy scenes to turn this into a successful franchise. However, thankfully, that is not all she does in the 103-minute film. And next time, Dora looks at the camera and asks us to say "Delicioso"... I will for sure say Delicioso!