December 2, 2019  (Web Review)

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Paramount, 102 min., PG, DVD: $30.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, Nov. 19

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

This live-action adaptation of the popular animated Nickelodeon series plays like a kid-friendly Indiana Jones adventure. As her story begins, perky 16-year-old Dora (Isabela Moner) is living with her zoologist mom (Eva Longoria) and archeologist dad (Michael Peña) in the idyllic Peruvian rainforest where she’s been home-schooled. But now her explorer parents are embarking on a perilous trek to find Parapata, the fabled Inca city of gold, so Dora is dispatched to Los Angeles to live with her aunt and uncle, only to discover that Silverlake High School is another challenging jungle—with its own indigenous people. There’s condescending, know-it-all Sammy (Madeline Madden), awkwardly nerdy Randy (Nicholas Coombe), and Dora’s cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg), who feels humiliated by Dora’s cheerful attitude and guileless tendency to burst into song. During a Natural History Museum field trip, Dora and her pals are kidnapped by treasure hunters determined to track down Dora’s peripatetic parents. Joined by mysterious Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez), the teens navigate through intoxicating flowers whose spores induce vivid hallucinations and they circumvent treacherous booby traps that are guarding Parapata’s treasure. Fortunately, Dora knows Peru’s Quechua dialect. Director James Bobin nicely captures Dora’s infectious enthusiasm as she learns about friendship and teamwork, and Dora’s monkey Boots (voiced by Danny Trejo) is back, along with Swiper (voiced by Benicio del Toro), the sneaky fox. FYI: when Dora appeared on Nickelodeon in 2000, she became the first animated Latina heroine to appear in a show with Spanish-speaking characters. Recommended. [Note: Blu-ray extras include deleted and extended scenes (13 min.), and the behind-the-scenes featurettes “All About Dora” (9 min.), “Can You Say Película?” (5 min.), “Dora in Flower Vision” (4 min.), and “Dora’s Jungle House” (4 min.), as well as bloopers (2 min.), and bonus DVD and digital copies of the film. Bottom line: a solid extra package for this sure-to-be-popular family film.] (S. Granger)