This movie was way better than it needed to be to entertain its young target audience. It far surpassed my expectations, giving me an absolute kick, even as a 19-year-old guy.
I grew up watching the cartoon, and I had a feeling that this would be directed at that very young audience more than anything. However, I was surprised to find a movie full of witty humor, an entertaining adventurous spirit, and respectable acting performances, especially from lead actress Isabela Moner. Add in Eva Longoria and Michael Peña as the clueless parents, Danny Trejo as the adorable Boots the Monkey, and Benicio del Toro as the mischievous Swiper the Fox, and we have an eclectic casting combo that is as hilarious as it is unlikely.
Sure, some of the jokes and laughs are really cheap, but there is still a deep well of amusement to be found for viewers of older ages, with a handful of meta references and allusions that are perfect for certain audience members. This is a film that knows exactly how cheesy it is, and leans completely into this goofiness with no shame. It does not take itself too seriously, yet maintains a decent level of heart at its emotional core.
With a runtime of 1 hour, 40 minutes, perhaps the third act drags slightly. But, it is paced fairly well for the rest of the action, and will likely keep the attention of young viewers and families.
No, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is not going to have the box office success of “The Lion King” (2019), nor is it as technically and artistically riveting. But at the end of the day, this is a film I would gladly watch again. If I were a parent with children, I would take my kids to see this movie multiple times before I would show them the “The Lion King” even once.
Director: James Bobin
Writers: Nicholas Stoller, Matthew Robinson, and Tom Wheeler; Based on the series from Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh, and Eric Weiner
Producers: Valerie Walsh, Nicholas Stoller, Tamazin Simmonds, John G. Scotti, Julia Pistor, Eugenio Derbez, and Kristin Burr
Starring: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, Adriana Barraza, Temuera Morrison, Jeff Wahlberg, Nicholas Coombe, Madeleine Madden, and Danny Trejo