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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Everything you’re about to read is true, except that foxes don’t swipe. That is a hurtful stereotype.
Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures presents Dora The Explorer in a way that gives you the nostalgia you want (if you watched the TV show) but in an even broader action-comedy. With a wink of their eye, Nick Jr. offers a movie that is cheeky fun and sweet, making it a good family-friendly way to end the summer before school starts. This is the first Nick Jr. movie to hit the Big Screen.
The movie starts with the young Dora the explorer that we know and love. She quickly becomes a teenager and has a fun adventure in a jungle, as well as in high school. It’s fun to watch Dora as a dorky high school student trying to learn about the “indigenous people.” The movie is very self-aware, which provides a lot of humorous moments.
IS IT ANY GOOD? B+
Isabela Moner is fantastic as the adorable Dora whose enthusiasm and love for knowledge are contagious. Before taking on this live-action role, Isabela was the voice talent for Dora’s friend Kate in the animation Dora & Friends (INTO THE CITY)
Who wouldn’t want Michael Pena and Eva Longoria as their parents? We get to see Michael Pena let loose a little bit with his comedic chops. Eugenio Derbez always comes through with comedic beats with a Latino flair. It’s surprising and delightful to hear the voice talents of hard-hitting actors like Danny Trejo and Benicio Del Toro show up in this children’s comedy!
The odd-ball collection of teens in the story results in The Goonies type of adventure that is familiar and charming. The movie was actually filmed in Australia.
Boots the monkey was fine as a character, but not as adorable or fun as you might have hoped. However, something funny happens with him about an hour into the movie. A few weeks ago, somebody noticed that Boots wasn’t actually wearing any boots in the movie! They had to quickly add them in digitally before the movie premiered. For some reason, Swiper’s animation is not as good as Boots’ is.
Several jokes and scenes go on a little too long and, because it’s generally a movie for kids, the humor grabs low-hanging fruit. That is to say that it’s generally not sophisticated, but instead, relies on jokes about farting noises, etc.
The tone and style of the movie shift several times. For example, sometimes animals talk but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the film tries to reenact moments from the TV show in a cheesy way and sometimes it goes off in a different direction. There is a cute gag in the movie at the beginning where Dora looks at the camera and asks the audience if they can say certain words in Spanish while no one else around her knows who she’s talking to, like in the TV show. You would think that would be a running gag throughout the movie, but it was only one scene in the beginning.
It’s full of clichés, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. It’s a gentle way to introduce your kids to an Indiana Jones type of adventure.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS? (PG-13)
- If you watched the Dora The Explorer cartoon TV series with your kids, you’ll get a kick out of seeing this together.
- Some Spanish is spoken without subtitles.
- Talk of poo (several times) and fart noises.
- Young kids may ask what mating is. That’s your heads up! There is quite a bit of talk of mating in the movie. Some brief kissing.
- No profanity. One person says OMG.
- People in dangerous situations.
- You see a cartoon man’s rear end.
- People inhale a hallucinogenic plant spore and experience a “trip.”
- Teens make fun of other teens, some name-calling
- We’re told that treasure hunting is bad and exploring is good. Do you agree?
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
- “If you just believe in yourself, anything is possible.” – Dora (Isabela Moner)
- “I have to be myself. That’s all I know how to do.” – Dora
Movie Review Mom: Trina Boice teaches for BYU-I, is an author of 29 books, and a mother of 4 sons. You can read more of her reviews at www.MovieReviewMom.com You can hear her podcast “Daily Inspirational Quotes Hosted by Trina” on Amazon Echo devices and Volley FM. She founded an online school and continues to create courses at www.LifelongLearningEducation.com Because she is a popular speaker in China and loves to travel around the world, she created www.EmptyNestTravelHacker.com You can see all of her books and win prizes at www.TrinasBooks.com You can also find @TrinaBoice on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.