Dora the Explorer is a long-running cartoon on Nickelodeon. The show follows the exploits of Dora, a seven-year-old Latina girl who spends her days going on adventures with her pet monkey.
Each episode finds the girl facing off against a new obstacle that she can only solve through the assistance the audience offers her. Children will test their minds against the riddles presented, learn to spell and count and so on and so forth. Dora the Explorer is an educational Children’s TV show.
So, the question is this: Why would anyone want to make a live-action adaptation of Dora the Explorer?
What would be the point? I don’t ask these questions because I think they matter; the movie is already here. Dora and the Lost City of Gold is slated for release this week, at least internationally.
And the adaptation is not quite what you expect. Well, actually, it’s exactly what you expect. But Isabela Moner, the girl playing Dora, is well into her teens, far older than the protagonist from the cartoon.
And the alteration makes sense. There is no way to stay completely true to the cartoon; not if you want to appeal to the section of the public that actually watches movies on the big screen. This Dora lives in the jungle with her parents. Her life is exciting, filled with exploration, and adventure and the unexpected. So she does not really know what to make of high school.
She is even less certain of her small group of friends, especially when disaster strikes and she drags them into a daring mission to save her parents.
I don’t know if Dora and the Lost City of Gold was made for loyal fans of the cartoon or if the goal is to tap into an entirely new fan base. Those that have seen the movie have described it as “Indiana Jones for children”.
This Dora is not as interested in teaching you the alphabet as she is in swinging through ancient ruins, foiling dastardly plans and proving to the sneering bad guys in her world that her size and gender don’t make her any less deadly.
I can’t see myself watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold, but I assume younger audiences will get a kick out of it. This is the sort of movie that children will watch with rapt attention, as the adults who bought them enjoy a relaxing nap in a dark, cozy cinema hall.