Australia | USA 2019
Opening October 10, 2019
Directed by: James Bobin
Writing credits: Chris Gifford, Matthew Robinson, Nicholas Stoller, Valerie Walsh, Eric Weiner, Tom Wheeler
Principal actors: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, Jeff Wahlberg, Nicholas Coombe
Explorers want to learn, and document antiquities for archeological prosperity, so Cole (Michael Peña) and Elena (Eva Longoria) explain to 6-year-old Dora (Madelyn Miranda) living cozily in the Peruvian jungle. Their philosophy is, “exploring is good, treasure hunting is bad.” Now sixteen, Dora (Isabela Moner) learns she will explore living in a city among people, i.e. making friends, while they make an exploratory field trip searching for an ancient Inca city of gold. Upon arriving Dora discovers a tall, thin quiet cousin desperately navigating high school, instead of the younger “best friend” she knew at six. Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) tries to help, cautioning her about Sammy (Madeleine Madden) and Randy (Nicholas Coombe), as well as the “indigenous” people’s cultural temperaments. As Dora forges ahead, unbeknownst contemptible plans are in motion: when Dora is kidnapped, Diego, Sammy and Randy being scooped up too. Landing in the wilds, her parents’ colleague Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez) comes to their rescue. Their goal is two-fold – escape the mercenaries (Christopher Kirby, Temuera Morrison, Christopher Rawlins), and find Dora’s parents.
The cast is good and fit their characters well. Director James Bobin seems to not have a clear picture of where and how he wants the story to advance; he and editor Mark Everson could have started by trimming ten-plus minutes off. Javier Aguirresarobe’s cinematography met location challenges; John Debney and Germaine Franco’s music is lively. Dora und die Goldene Stadt is wholesome family entertainment, with as cute as a button monkey (Dee Bradley Baker, voice) and sly fox (Benicio Del Toro, voice) to keep jungle fun restrained. 102 minutes (Marinell H.)