tek's rating:

Dora and the Lost City of Gold (PG)
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This 2019 live-action film is based on the animated children's TV series Dora the Explorer. First I want to say that it reminds me of similar stuff from 2012-13, on College Humor. Also, before I watched this movie, I assumed I'd most likely put my review under "family films". Now that I've seen it (in 2020), I think that would still be a reasonable category to put it in, but my first choice is "quirky" (though I also could have gone with "comedy"). Secondarily, I'll also link to it in my "action/adventure" section instead of "family", because I think it's something that could be appreciated by all ages.

It begins when Dora is 6 years old. She lives in a Peruvian jungle with her parents, Cole and Elena (Eva Longoria), who are explorers. Dora likes to go on pretend adventures with her cousin, Diego, but then he and his parents move to Los Angeles. The story flashes forward ten years, and teenage Dora (Isabela Moner) is now going on real adventures, along with her CGI monkey friend, Boots. (Unlike the animated series, Boots doesn't talk, but Dora acts like she understands him.) When her parents go off in search of the legendary city of Parapata, Dora wants to go with them, but instead they send her to L.A., to stay with Diego and his family. Having spent her whole life in the jungle without any human friends, her personality remains much the same as when she was a little kid, despite being very knowledgeable (she's a lot like the cartoon version of Dora), and she has no socialization skills. (Well, none that "normal" kids would be receptive to, anyway.) So, she quickly becomes the object of mockery, and Diego is embarrassed by her. The only person she really gets along with his a boy named Randy, who shares some of her interests. But there's also a girl named Sammy, who sees Dora as a potential academic rival, and takes an immediate dislike to her. (But then, she dislikes pretty much everyone.)

One day, Dora's class go on a field trip to a museum, where she ends up partnered with Diego, Randy, and Sammy on a scavenger hunt. After being lured into the basement, the four of them are kidnapped and taken to Peru by mercenaries, who want to use Dora to track her parents, so they can find and loot Parapata. Incidentally, one of the mercenaries is a CGI fox named Swiper (voiced by Benicio del Toro), who actually does talk. I think it's really weird that none of the kids find that strange. But anyway, the four kids are rescued by a friend of Dora's parents, Professor Alejandro Gutiérrez. So, the five of them spend most of the movie trying to find Dora's parents, while also trying to avoid the mercenaries.

Beyond that, I don't really want to spoil any details of their adventures. So I'll just say the movie has a lot of humor, and... well, I just think it's all really fun (especially one hallucinatory scene). And there's a song and dance number at the end that I quite enjoyed. I wish I could tell you more than that, because there's so much more that happens... But like I said, no spoilers.


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