When I first head about the new live-action film ‘Dora and the lost city of Gold’ I had very low expectations. I thought that it was a film to cash in on the live-action movement that seems to be going on in movies at the moment but I have to be honest … I really enjoyed this film and I think it worked so well because of the nature of the titular character.
This film managed to balance the nostalgia trip for fans of Dora with the modern trends of movies from today. Obviously this film is about Dora, which I watched a lot when I was younger (due to having a younger sister who was a massive fan of the programme) , it was a basic nostalgia trip but the film managed to include enough Dora mannerism to make it similar to the tv show but not too much that you realised it was filmed adaptation. Such as in the early stages of the film, Dora did her classic “you say …..?” When teaching a new Spanish/English word and spoke it directly at the camera and thus to the audience just like what she does in the tv show. This was only done towards the beginning as it would be annoying the whole way through but it was a nice controlled inclusion. Also, they involved the Spanish vibes of the tv show and kept the bilingual nature of Dora. This again was done artfully and not over the top, by having a character that only spoke Spanish and Dora partially translated for the audience. The first few scenes in this film saw a young Dora dressed in the traditional Dora colours and clothes. This was played by Madelyn Miranda who looked exactly how, I believe, a real-life Dora would.
Not only was the young Dora was excellent but the older version of the character kept that optimistic, musical and sometimes frustratingly happy character. To me, this characterisation of Dora was very similar Kimmy Schmidt (played by Ellie Kemper) both are characters that people love and/hate.
Dora’s explorer father in this film played by Michael Peña provided many of the comical moments of the film which there was a lot. Michael’s portrayal showed the explorer as bumbling and clumsy which doesn’t particularly make sense within the story as they are making a point that Dora isn’t prepared to be an explorer. Despite, this character is very funny throughout the character didn’t really make sense.
My favourite casting choice was actually the older version of Diego (Dora’s cousin) who was played by Jeff Wahlberg who managed to portray both perspectives of the character perfectly. At first, Diego was supposed to be an awkward teenager who was struggling with high-school issues. He made an incredible realistic uncomfortable and awkward teen who was genuinely disturbed by Dora’s characteristics and mannerisms. Towards the latter part of the film, Diego embraced his childhood memories of exploring with Dora and become a sort of adventurer once again. Both parts of this character who performed excellently and believably and so Jeff should be applauded for such an excellent portrayal of an iconic character.
One of my other favourite roles in this film was Alejandro Gutierrez who is played Eugenio Derbez. He is one of Dora’s sidekicks of her adventure to the lost city of gold (Parapata) and is another clumsy and inexperienced professor and Eugenio played this excellently. He is a major part of the plot who is comedic and has a more serious side which we discover later in the film.
By the end of the movie, this film became a cheesy teenage movie. One of the most cringe parts of the film were when the phrases “high school is the greatest adventure” and “anything is possible with a group of friend.” On top of this the film ended with an over-the-top musical song and dance where all the high school students suddenly accepted Dora and everyone got involved in the musical number which I don’t think really made sense for the children to randomly stop bullying Dora and instead joining in with the things they used to bully her for. But it was nice to see this song at the end as it provided a definite positive end to the movie and also left the audience feeling energised and happy.
To me, this film is a strange mixture of the adventure film ‘Jumanji’ with the Netflix series ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’ I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys the two shows mentioned early and anyone who has had any experience with the Dora franchise whether it’s because they enjoyed it or like me because a relative enjoyed them, as it is a perfect homage to the Dora of old while creating a new and modern Dora for the 21st century. I would rate this film four out of five stars and was actually surprised by the amount of enjoyment I got from this film.