Movie Review: “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” succeeds by embracing the cringe

A live action adaptation of the children’s series “Dora the Explorer” is tricky business, but the James Bobin’s “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” succeeds not by pushing it’s animated learning roots aside for edgier material, but hugging it close and producing a fairly enjoyable film in the process.

Isabela Moner stars as Dora, a teen-aged girl who was home schooled and raised in the jungle by her explorer parents (Michael Pena and Eva Longoria), after being sent to live in the city and adjust to the real world by attending high school, she has to return to home when her parents go missing during an expedition to find the Lost City of Gold.

What makes this work is the “fish out of water” element used with the Dora character. She’s very much her TV character, and that character in the real world is a weirdo. This makes for a few cringey laughs as the world reacts around her. Moner does a great job with this angle, pushing the story along a a satisfying pace. Eugenio Derbez (How to be a Latin lover) and the rest of the characters also fill out this family-friendly story well.

While the live action elements work, the CGI isn’t great. Characters like “Boots” and “Swiper” don’t feel right when appearing on screen with the rest of the human cast. It also won’t be difficult for the adults to put together whats going to happen as the plot proceeds.

But Dora makes for a good summer family viewing and it’s young target audience will likely have a good time on this adventure with their television protagonist.

GRADE: B-

Running time: 1 hr 42 minutes

Rated: PG

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