While my youngest daughter was growing up, I watched a lot of Dora the Explorer on TV. She absolutely loved the show and its characters, its catchphrases and the music all ended up becoming a permanent fixture in my brain for a few years. When news broke of a live action movie, Dora and The Lost City of Gold, accompanied by a trailer and poster, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it all. My daughter on the other hand, now aged 14, basically couldn’t care less. But, when a succession of fairly positive reviews started coming through, including comparisons to Spy Kids and the classic Indiana Jones movies, I managed to convince her to come with me. And it’s pretty fair to say, we both had a great time!
Kicking off with a seriously fun nostalgia trip for anyone who has seen more than their fair share of Dora episodes, the movie pretty much recreates the opening credits from the TV show. The song! Dora’s talking backpack and map! And cousin Diego is there too!! But, it turns out Dora and Diego aren’t actually just a couple of kids driving recklessly around the jungle in a jeep – they are in fact just using their imagination, driving a homemade cardboard vehicle at the jungle home where Dora lives with her parents.
10 years later and Dora hasn’t really changed that much, enthusiastically exploring the jungle and communicating with all of the animals. When her parents (played by Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) decide to venture off in search of a lost city of gold, they pack Dora off to the big city where she joins Diego at high school. But Dora and her over friendly, extrovert ways prove to be a big embarrassment for cousin Diego, who has grown up to be a fairly normal, moody teenager, leaving behind his imaginative jungle childhood.
When her parents suddenly go missing one day, Dora enlists the help of Diego and a couple of unwitting fellow students to venture with her into the jungle in order to try and find them and the lost city of gold. What follows is an extremely enjoyable jungle adventure, complete with mysteries, puzzles to solve, and even bad guys too. Isabela Moner, who featured earlier this year as a troubled teenager in the brilliant Instant Family, is perfect as Dora as she brings the older version of the character to life. Her teen co stars all bring something different to the story too, and prove to be a real fun, mixed cast.
Throw in a poo song, an animated Dora scene brought on by breathing in hallucinogenic pollen and a catchy final song and dance number and Dora and the Lost City of Gold is the summer family movie you never knew you needed in your life!