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Review: Dora and The Lost City of Gold 

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DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD

*** (3 out of four)

When a movie hits the screen that’s been adapted from a television series, it makes sense that a familiarity with the source material is often required for maximum enjoyment.

That’s not the case with Dora and the Lost City of Gold, an ingratiating family feature with the capacity to please even adults with limited knowledge of the popular Nickelodeon show.

James Bobin, who directed those delightful Muppet reboots earlier this decade (2011’s The Muppets and 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted), here tackles a live-action offshoot of Dora the Explorer, the animated series about a little Hispanic girl and her educational adventures. The age of Dora has been raised for this film, with the plucky heroine now a teenager and played by Isabela Moner.

Having grown up in the South American jungles alongside her explorer parents (Michael Pena and Eva Longoria), she’s suddenly sent to California to attend high school and, as she puts it, study the “indigenous people” found in this learning environment.

But the sudden disappearance of her folks as they search for the ancient Incan city of Parapata inevitably leads to her and her classmates off on a quest to find them, with a bumbling professor (a tiresome Eugeno Derbez) and Dora’s pet monkey Boots also along for the bumpy ride.

What makes Dora and the Lost City of Gold so appealing is the characterization of its heroine as a perpetually chipper, never-say-die sort, with Moner irresistible in the part. There are also some witty references to the cartoon series, including one that seems inspired by The Wizard of Oz until it heads off in its own animated direction.

Watching Dora navigate the high school halls is amusing, and it’s initially disappointing when she’s snatched from this setting and sent back to the jungle. But any fears that the picture will turn into a pint-size Laura Croft rip-off are quickly alleviated thanks to the inventive situations cooked up by the scripters.

As usual in modern family fare, there are a few too many scatological gags, and the climax won’t fool anyone who’s ever seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Otherwise, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is polished enough to offer amusement beyond its target audience.

Film Details Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora (Isabela Moner) for her most dangerous adventure ever – High School. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots (her best friend, a monkey), Diego (Jeffrey Wahlberg), a mysterious jungle inhabitant (Eugenio Derbez), and a rag tag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents (Eva Longoria, Michael Peña) and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost city of gold.
Action-Adventure, Comedy and Family

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    Credits

    Director:

    • James Bobin

    Cast:

    • Isabela Moner
    • Eugenio Derbez
    • Michael Peña
    • Eva Longoria
    • Danny Trejo
    • Adriana Barraza
    • Temuera Morrison
    • Jeffrey Wahlberg
    • Nicholas Coombe
    • Madeleine Madden

    Writers:

    • Danielle Sanchez-Witzel
    • Matthew Robinson
    • Nicholas Stoller
    • Tom Wheeler

    Producers:

    • Andrew Form
    • Bradley Fuller
    • Eugenio Derbez
    • John G. Scotti
    • Julia Pistor
    • Kristin Burr
    • Michael Bay
    • Nicholas Stoller
    • Tamazin Simmonds
    • Valerie Walsh
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