Movie Review: Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

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Summary: Dora, a teenage explorer, leads her friends on an adventure to save her parents and solve the mystery behind a lost city of gold.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We have a nice group of colorful characters here. It might take a little while to warm up to some of them but I think in the end, the characters are fine and the acting for the most part, is good as well.
  • Isabela Moner as Dora. The movie lives and breathes with Isabela Moner. She is so good, so likable and she just takes everything by the horns just like her character. I mean wow! I was never that big a fan of Dora the Explorer, I liked her games, but her show was just too young for me, but they have aged her up to be about 16 and not only does she have to deal with high school things, but she has to learn how to work with others (since she’s so used to doing it on her own) and then trust herself as well. Dora learns a lot in this film and you clearly see that AND you probably sympathize or empathize with her. Isabela Moner was a great Dora and I would be interested in seeing her play this character again in future installments.
Supporting Characters. 
  • Eugenio Derbez as Alejandro Gutierrez. He’s funny and likable throughout the film. He almost is a bit too silly; you’ll see why.
  • Michael Peña and Eva Longoria as Cole & Elena, Dora’s parents. They’re together because they play off each other really well. They’re funny in the right places and they have great chemistry with each other and with Isabela Moner.
  • Jeff Wahlberg as Diego. I thought the young actor (Malachi Barton) was so cute as Diego that I was a little disappointed when we met him as a teenager. But he grows on you, especially when he starts to accept Dora as herself and when he starts to accept himself as well. I thought he had great chemistry with Isabela Moner and I liked the confidence that he gets throughout the film. I thought he had really sweet moments with Dora and I really liked when he was just talking to her in their cousinly intimate moments.
  • Nicholas Coombe as Randy. Randy is a little weird, he’s socially awkward and just awkward in general it seems. We meet him pretty early on when Dora gets to school and he doesn’t quite know how to react to her when she corrects his shirt *lol* throughout the film it seems that he might the most comfortable with Dora than he is with the others but we see him kind of come into his own, he’s still awkward but it’s more endearing. Nicholas Coombe for me, was a good balance of endearing and annoying.
  • Madeleine Madden as Sammy. She was the most annoying but she probably has one of the bigger “arcs” in the movie. She’s a know-it-all and doesn’t like Dora from the jump because she’s smart and Sammy is used to always being considered the best. Being in the jungle has her freaked out the most and she often says how she doesn’t want to be there and sometimes it’s funny because her interacting with Dora is really cute. Then her and Diego have some nice moments as well. I think Madeleine plays this part really well.
For everyone/Great Fun Adventure. Even though Dora was always for children, and I’m sure older kids and adults enjoyed it as well, I think this movie has a nice combination of everything that would appeal to everyone. It’s funny, so if you like to laugh, you’ll have that. If you want a bit of drama, there’s that. It’s heartwarming! And plus, the adventure is quite fun to watch.
You’ll Probably Laugh. There’s a lot of times where the movie is genuinely funny. Michael Pena and Eva Longoria have a lot of good moments together and with Isabela Moner. The other students also had some nice laughs while on the adventure. Boots is nicely woven into the story without being annoying and Swiper as well, is shocking when you first see him and his usefulness throughout the movie is pretty great as well. I think the movie has a lighthearted humor to it and it doesn’t feel juvenile as sometimes “kids movies” or “family films” do.
Cons:
CGI. So, Boots and Swiper are both CGI and it’s a little weird when they move or when Swiper talks sometimes. I was excited to see both characters because they’re important to Dora’s adventures and stories, and they’re important in ways in this film as well, but considering how often we see them, I was like “uhhhh”. It’s mostly those two that really bugged me throughout. I’m sure there was other CGI moments that didn’t quite land but those two were the most glaring.
Cliché/Weird Adventure. This adventure isn’t anything new, someone is trying to find a lost city of gold because of a treasure. I mean, there are plenty of treasure hunting shows. So, it goes a break neck speed with a few obstacles in the way that our characters make pretty quick work of and then when we get close to the city, we have a lot of kind of “magical” stuff happen and sure that’s fine but it also feels really random. I mean, it’s hard to really get into that because Swiper the FOX talks lol and Boots has some interesting moments so it’s hard to want to harp on that but still! With everything being like booby traps and practical things that people can do, we have these magical moments at the end. I was like “ohh… okay” lol.
The Characters. Everyone is mostly likable, like I said in the “pros”, because they are and I think they grow on you but it might take a moment to get there. Dora is likable as are her parents from the beginning, but then you go to America and meet Diego, Sammy and Randy. It’s clear that Diego thinks Dora hasn’t changed and is a little embarrassed by that and he acts that way for a while. Sammy is a hard-ass because she’s like the smartest person in the school and doesn’t like that Dora is smart. She’s pretty annoying for most of the movie. Then there’s Randy who gets bullied for being weird I guess and he’s sweet, he’s just weird lol. Depending on what kind of character annoys you the most, I can imagine it would take a little while to warm up to the side characters.
Overall, I don’t think there’s a lot to really go into when it comes to talking about this movie. Just know that the acting is good from generally everyone but Isabela Moner as Dora really shines. She makes this movie so much fun and likable because her energy and personality in the role is so magnetic. She is so good. I can’t say I would have enjoyed it as much if she didn’t have the energy she has. The others do a great job as well, especially as the movie continues. I think it’s a very fun and energetic film that everyone can enjoy. It may be geared towards a younger crowd but everyone can enjoy this film. The adventure, while tame and a little cliché and weird at times is fun. The characters might take a moment to grow on you but if they and when they do, you are along for the ride. Check out Dora and the Lost City of Gold.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Dora and the Lost City of Gold? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
What animated from your childhood do you think would lend itself to an AGED UP Live Action film?
Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for future movie reviews!
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