Friday, October 18, 2019

Dora and the Lost City of Gold – a rather charming and delicioso trip back down memory lane

Dora is sent to stay in Los Angeles where she stays with childhood friend Diego and starts mainstream school when her parents embark on a jungle adventure without her. But when she and three schoolmates are swiped on a trip to a museum, they end up trekking through Peru to try to find her radio-silent parents and the lost Inca treasures of Parapata.

Dora’s shift from rural to urban places her outside her comfort zone and she discovers that high school is as much of a jungle as her old forest playground. Isabela Moner effortlessly picks up the role of teenage Dora from infant Madelyn Miranda. Moner adeptly acts out the mannerisms so familiar to exhausted parents reading the templated three-stage adventures to their children.

Nickelodeon and Paramount have conspired to make a 102-minute-long children’s live-action adventure based on the Dora the Explorer franchise that works for adults. There’s a knowing self-awareness that winks at the older audience as the winning Dora overfills her backpack, reads maps, solves puzzles, suffers from light-fingered Swiper, and earnestly sings about digging a hole to poo in.

Jeff Wahlberg is super-awkward as teenage Deigo until he relaxes with ‘Miss wannabe popular’ Sammy (Madeleine Madden) and nerdy Randy (Nicholas Coombe). A mostly bootless Boots makes mischief while a hallucinogenic cartoon scene adds to the sense of ridiculousness.

I’ve no idea how the film works with younger audiences, but as a one-off cinematic treat – please, no sequels — it’s a rather charming and delicioso trip back down memory lane to simpler times.

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