Should children see the new Dora and the Lost City of Gold Movie Review | Safe for Kids? an honest parent review of the newest Paramount Pictures live action film. No spoilers! #DoraMovie May contain commissioned links.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold Movie Review | Safe for Kids? #DoraMovie
I think Dora may have lost more than just her map. I expected a Dora movie about 10 years ago. From a 6-year old preschooler to now an overtly chipper teen – Dora’s personality is oozing positivity and child-like innocence.
‘Can you say socially awkward?’
Looks like Disney isn’t the only company taking a crack at live action reboots. While Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer was extremely popular with kids many years ago, I’m curious as to the timing of this preschool based show turned film release. Why a Dora movie now and not at the height of her popularity?
While I went into this Dora and the Lost City of Gold Movie Review | Safe for Kids review thinking this was going to be a summer snooze, this preschool girl turned teen actually caught me by surprise. But is it cheesy and annoying or fun loving and summer hit? I’m talking the visuals, the story surprises, a full PG rating breakdown, and sharing whether your kids should watch or skip this film. Parents, there’s definitely a scene you should be concerned about.
Not quite Lion King CGI animals and not quite Jurassic Park realism, Dora and the City of the Lost Gold visually is of lower quality for a live action film. While some characters didn’t get a CGI facelift (sorry Map and Backpack), Boots and Swiper do get a CGI upgrade, leaning towards more realistic looks but same familiar cartoon actions.
Boots is honestly the most confusing of the CGI animals. Keeping to the blueish/grayish fur and roundish features, he almost rivals that of a Pokemon character. The rest of the film does rely on actual live acting, moving between comparable Jumanji/Raiders of the Lost Ark live-action and pausing for corny High School Musical moments.
For those not familiar with Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, this preschool based learning show uses song, repeated phrases and catchy tunes to get your child to sing, clap and use memory skills to complete explorer-worthy tasks.
The story is somewhat familiar. Taking notes from already popular jungle based films, Dora the Explorer and her band of unlikely friends team up to…explore. Big shocker. As the movie title eludes, there’s treasure. There’s adventure. There’s a movie company not afraid to poke a little fun at itself. Humor for adults and kids alike, Dora and the Lost City of Gold oscillates between serious plot points and slapstick comedy to keep the audience interested.
But don’t let the light tones fool you. Deep down, there’s also some cues we should be taking notes on. There’s an overly positive lead Dora (played by Isabela Moner), a child turned teen who had grown up in a jungle unphased to be exactly who she is in modern day suburbia.
She’s brilliant – keeping the balance between cheesy moments and serious undertones all with a subtle nonverbal delivery and key facial expressions too. Shining a light on today’s “serious” society, Dora reminds us of how important it is to be yourself, spread positivity and be a little weird too. Also touching on bullying, friendship, family, selflessness and love – you can’t help but allow some of that positivity to rub off on you too.
I have to pause a moment to applaud the multicultural casting. While I expected there to be a Spanish/Hispanic influence, I was also happy to see more than just one culture represented in the film. Even during the high school scenes. Also gotta give props to Michael Pena (Ant-Man, y’all!) and a rare Eva Longoria sighting as Dora’s parents.
Be prepared for a plethora of familiar singing Dora moments – all of which will undoubtedly get stuck in your head. And hardcore Dora fans will want to stay all the way through for one end credit scene – and a small nod to the show.
That PG Rating
But is Dora and the Lost City of Gold ok for children to see? As with any PG rated film these days, the MPAA ratings could lean either way (Christopher Robin PG or Incredibles 2 PG?). Rated PG for “action and impolite humor,” should parents be concerned? For this film, absolutely. This is not a film for all audiences and one scene in particular to keep an eye on.
Language. Thankfully there is no swear words of note in this film. There are a few mentions of the word “dork” and “loser.” There is also the phrase “shut up” used about 5 times in an angry manner. I have more on another word used, but see below under adult themes.
Violence. The action part of the film goes here, which would be comparable to the action that you would see in the newly updated Jumanji film. Slightly hokey, slightly adventurous, slightly humorous, the movie tends to go back in forth between what would be a “serious action sequence” to lighter moments. There are weapons seen in the movie like spears and guns – but none are used and no blood is present. There are also shooting arrows (but no peril).
Adult Themes. Would you believe that this is the section that we parents need to be most worried about? I would have never put Dora and adult themes together under one category – but you can find all of the impolite humor here. There’s a dedicated “toilet in the jungle” scene – with theme song. While no language is used, the word “poo” is repeated upwards between 10-15 times (I honestly lost count when the song began.)
And sadly, that’s not all. Though in cartoon form, there is a “nudity” moment where you do see a cartoon butt. Honestly, this was a highly unnecessary scene for me. Perhaps the movie took poking fun at itself just a little too far, but something I would expect from a more South Park moment compared to innocent Dora. Really? Did we need that scene?
After 10+ years, Dora finally gets her movie. But I’m curious to know who exactly this movie was targeting. The kids turned adults who used to watch the show? Or the kids who have no idea who Dora the Explorer is anymore? While we may be scratching our heads at the timing of the movie, this is another one of those summer family movies where it’s not winning any awards, but it was surprisingly entertaining enough for the whole family.
Between the mix of adult humor, kid-friendly action and overly upbeat vibes, Dora held my attention long enough to get a “we did it!” cheer at the end. But don’t get me wrong, she’s still not my favorite childhood cartoon. Dora’s awkward positivity and humor is a welcome reprieve in the live action world. Embodying child innocence, eliciting humor and enough action to keep audiences interested, it’s a summer movie I expected to hate and didn’t. At least Dora can maybe rub off some of that positivity onto us, right? (Good luck getting that theme song out of your head.)
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Dora and the Lost City of Gold swings into theaters on August 9, 2019. Will you be taking your kids to see this one?
I was invited as press to screen this film in exchange for this Dora and the Lost City of Gold Movie Review | Safe for Kids? All photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!
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