Indiana Jones with a teen twist

Dora (Isabela Moner) has spent her childhood growing up in the jungle along with her parents Cole (Michael Pena) and Elena (Eva Longoria). But now she needs to adapt to a whole new environment – high school. Aided by her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg), Dora must learn the ways of suburban city life.

Meanwhile, her parents take off on an adventure of their own – to search for a lost city of gold. A series of events sees Dora taking it on herself to find them along with her new classmates. Drawing inspiration from the ‘Tomb Raider’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ series of adventure films, 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold' also has the additional task of connecting its popular television series to this live-action adaptation.

It tries to achieve a distinct tone that merges fantasy with reality while its wit appeals to kids and adults alike. This balancing act doesn’t always work, but when it does, it makes for an enjoyable watch. The lead role played by Isabela Moner is challenging for the young actor as she’s meant to capture the positive, often naïve, attitude of a child while being a vibrant and enthusiastic teenager. Fortunately, she succeeds, and it’s impossible not to be drawn to her sparkly nature. Michael Pena and Eva Longoria as her parents will manage to amuse older audiences, who will be disappointed that they don’t get to see more of the two actors, along with the slightly mature humour they bring. Instead, we end up with some unnecessary jokes around the call of nature.

The plot takes a while to get around to the actual puzzle-solving that’s to be expected from this genre but instead, takes off on flights of fancy along the way. The first act particularly struggles to find its identity.

The reality-bending narrative might also prove to be a challenge, even though the talking fox Swiper, played by Benicio Del Toro and Boots the monkey are easy laughs. Although it struggles to pinpoint its target audience, the underlying message of being yourself in the face of peer pressure is for all ages. Despite its obvious flaws, ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ is self-aware, and its whimsical tonality is held together by a strong lead to make for a family-friendly watch.

Times of India

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