‘Everything you are about to see is true. Except that foxes don’t swipe. That is a hurtful stereotype.’
So begins the colourful, fast-paced action-adventure Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Known to us best as the little girl teaching children about numbers, shapes, and basic Spanish, this movie features Dora the Explorer as a teenager, trying to figure out where she belongs in the world.
Having grown up in the jungle with her cxplorer parents, Dora is disappointed to find out that she is to go and live in the city with her cousin Diego and his family, whilst her parents search for Parapata, the lost city of gold. But just as Dora is starting to lose hope of ever fitting into her new surroundings – particularly the jungle of high school – her and her friends make an unexpected return to the jungle, and take up the search for Parapata – and Dora’s parents – themselves.
Far from a simple extension of the television series, the film is a true feature in its own right. Starring established actors such as Eva Longoria as Dora’s mother, Jeff Wahlberg as Diego and rising star Isabela Moner as Dora herself, this is as good a cinema adaptation as a children’s television series can hope to get. As the opening lines suggest – references to the original show are not just added as an afterthought, but are cleverly woven into the narrative of the movie, making fun of its surreal elements (i.e. talking backpacks, a ‘swiping’ fox with a mask) whilst being sympathetic to its roots. To this end, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a special coming-of-age story that lets families bond over their shared memories of watching a childhood television series, yet manages to reflect meaningfully on the adventure of growing up itself, making for an immensely enjoyable movie for the whole family.
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