For my generation it was Mister Rogers, Sesame Street and The Muppets. For a whole new generation it was Dora the Explorer and the first time a Latina animated character had infiltrated the mainstream. She was and is a groundbreaking character beloved by millions of children around the world, so it was only a matter of time before she hit the big screen. Not for nothing, but Dora represented the first time Spanish and English language were integrated for children’s television in the Saturday morning cartoon lineup. Representation really does matter.
The moment the film kicks off with that iconic theme song, you know you are in for a treat. Dora and The Lost City of Gold takes the audience on a journey 10 years after her cousin Diego has left the jungle. Her parents encourage her to journey to the city while they go on an adventure to find the Parapatta. Shortly after arriving, Dora discovers that her beloved cousin (played by Jeff Wahlberg) is embarrassed by her sheer presence and exuberance, kids are unusually cruel and she just doesn’t seem to fit in. To make matters worse, her parents go off the grid and she feels it’s her duty and responsibility to locate their whereabouts.
The casting of Isabela Moner as Dora is perfection! Not only does she strongly resemble the animated version, but her energetic aura and enthusiasm encompass what Dora should look and feel like on the big screen. Eva Longoria and Michael Pena are hilariously heartfelt and as her parents are pure comedy, yet invoke the necessary drama at just the right moment. The scene stealers of the film are Eugenio Derbez (Alejandro Gutierrez) and Madeleine Madden (Sammy) respectively as the villain and mean girl of the crew.
The cinematography, costumes and overall production design of the film are gorgeous. Directed by James Bobin with a screenplay by Nicholas Stoller and Matthew Robinson (based on the series created by Christopher Gifford) provide the exact amount of humor and drama to make this a very well rounded story, excited story.
Fans of the franchise will not be disappointed and it’s a great lesson in how being different and unique is a great thing to inhabit. Everyone has the ability to be special and when that quality is embraced instead of shunned it can turn. your world around. Don’t miss another adventure when Dora and The Lost City of Gold swings into theater near you on August 9th produced by Paramount Pictures.