29th Aug2019

‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Benicio Del Toro, Malachi Barton, Madelyn Miranda, Eva Longoria, Joey Vieira, Pia Miller, Jeff Wahlberg, Adriana Barraza | Written by Matthew Robinson, Nicholas Stoller | Directed by James Bobin

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Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora for her most dangerous adventure ever: high school. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots, Diego, a mysterious jungle inhabitant, and a ragtag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost Inca civilization.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is the live-action version of the highly successful and well-known Nickelodeon TV series Dora the Explorer and features Sicario 2 and Instant Family star Isabela Moner as the titular character. The film follows Dora as she is sent to the states to spend time with her Cousin Diego and his family. After her parents (played by Eva Longoria and Michael Peña) dive deep into the jungle on their latest expedition.

The greatest strength of director James Bobin’s film is the perfect balance of tone. Dora and the Lost City of Gold brilliantly settles on a childish nature with a wonderfully implemented gravity and sincerity. It is never as serious as a drama, but it is contextually restraint and broadens the comedy while not over exaggerating the narrative. This small but essential detail not only reaffirms the longevity of the film in the eye of the viewer but, thankfully, does not settle for a patronising viewing for all.

Isabela Moner as Dora is nothing short of delightful. Moner has a fantastic engagement level with bubbling energy and charisma that is inviting and wholeheartedly enticing for the target audience. The supporting cast is equally as impressive with Jeffrey Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden and Eugenio Derbez all adding moments of great character and charisma for total engagement for the audience. Especially that of Derbez who shines in his specific comedic role with terrific delivery and physical humour.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold even manages to throw in some surprises along the way. Fans who have grown up with the original television series will be pleasantly surprised with certain inclusions. However, while the narrative by writers Nicholas Stoller and Matthew Robinson is a traditional tale, it does manage to inject a few brilliantly executed twists and turns that keep the audience on its toes.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is in cinemas now.

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