Can you say sorprendentemente bueno? Me neither. I don’t speak Spanish, but that’s what Google says is “surprisingly good.” I never watched Dora as a kid, because… well, it didn’t exist yet. And I don’t have kids of my own, so I never saw it then. But, sometimes you just have to go out on a limb and take a chance on a movie.
And it was a chance worth taking. I may have laughed as hard during Dora and the Lost City of Gold as I have any other movie this year. It shouldn’t have worked. The premise is crazy. It ages Dora up by 10 years, embraces the optimism of the cartoon, and barrels full steam ahead with absolutely no care at all for how preposterous it all is.
It’s a few parts Goonies and a little bit Tomb Raider, with just a dash of Indiana Jones. The plot is breezy and entertaining. The action is passable. It takes the same approach as The Brady Bunch Movie and presupposes that the rest of the world is completely normal, and it’s only Dora that’s a complete and total weirdo.
That juxtaposition makes for some funny moments, and allows the movie to both poke fun at and embrace what Dora the Explorer is. The cast are all great, but Isabela Moner in the title role deserves almost all of the credit. What she pulls off with a completely straight face is the stuff of comedy legend. And sure, it’s a bit weird for Dora to have womanly curves, but you get past that pretty quickly.
I walked out of the movie quoting it, and days later, I’m still tempted to randomly yell out “Swiper! No Swiping!” which I assume is from the cartoon, but I’d never heard it before. It’s a bit strange that there’s a talking fox in the middle of an otherwise “real” movie, but they make it work somehow. The truth is, they make it all work somehow.
If you’re feeling blue from the doldrums of summer ending, and it’s been too long since you had a good time at the movies, then consider watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold. You may have a better time than you’d expect, and if you have PG-aged children, then it’ll surely be a home run.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Should you watch it? If you like low-stakes comedy
Should you take your kids? Absolutely, but don’t think that adults won’t find something to love here
What you should watch first: I imagine a better working knowledge of Dora the Explorer would have been beneficial, but I thoroughly enjoyed the movie without the background