Dora and The Lost City of Gold movie review: A fun, visually enticing film that doesn't insult audience's intelligence

Mihir Fadnavis

Aug 09, 2019 13:49:51 IST

3.5/5

Language: English

No one in the world really wanted a Dora the Explorer movie. The promos of this franchise starter did not seem very promising. So it is either a case of a film punching above its weight or a sheer lack of expectations or maybe both, but Dora and The Lost City of Gold is quite an enjoyable family fare, mainly thanks to the winning turn by Isabela Moner as Dora.

 Dora and The Lost City of Gold movie review: A fun, visually enticing film that doesnt insult audiences intelligence

A still from Dora and the Lost City of Gold. YouTube screengrab

Directed by James Bobbins, who made the wonderful Muppets film, Dora and The Lost City of Gold finds the sweet spot between being the kid-friendly educational story and a teen adventure comedy. We are introduced to Dora, who is already a young Indiana Jones of sorts, always seeking an exploration into the unknown, and surrounded by animals. Things only go wrong when she is sent to the ‘real world’ to mingle with other teenagers to gain some social skills – but even here, Dora makes some friends, and is caught up in some quest. 

The film is much more self-aware that you expect, which makes it a more interesting watch than, say, the generic Tomb Raider reboot from last year. If you spent any time watching the Dora cartoons on Nickelodeon, you will be pleased to discover that the film retains the protagonist’s charming audaciousness as well as the well-meaning, warmhearted innocence. The film also does well in bridging the gap between Dora being a young Lara Croft during the puzzle solving moments and being the awkward Hit Girl from Kick Ass 2 when she has to face greater challenges like high school. 

This is also quite a funny film, with most of the slapstick humour coming from the characters surrounding Dora. There is a moment when Dora sings a song to help someone relax to be able to take a dump in the jungle – and it is done in a hilariously wholesome way. The first half of the film is packed with these oddball scenes, but they do make way for a couple of adrenaline-pumping moments of thrill in the second half, when the treasure hunt heats up. The third act essentially feels like a reboot of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which means loads of fun, heroism, and adventure, involving Dora and her pals. You will be surprised to discover that this is not just cheesy lightweight entertainment but genuinely good filmmaking that makes an effort to respect the audience’s intelligence. 

Moner already made a mark with her supporting role in Sicario: Day of the Soldado last year, but this is the film that would put her on the same league as Hailee Steinfeld. It is rare to find an actor with such a playful force of personality. In an era flooded with franchises, more Dora films may, in fact, not be such a bad idea after all.

It is also nice to see a mainstream adventure film that does not force 3D down our throats. So if you are looking for good, clean fun, whether or not you have kids, head over to the theaters, and enjoy the charismatic diversions that Dora and The Lost City of Gold provides. 

Rating: ***1/2

Updated Date: Aug 09, 2019 13:49:52 IST