I know what you’re thinking about after reading that title. How can Dora the Explorer be the best live-action remake?
While the Aladdin remake still holds the top tier for me, there are a lot of things that were done right in Dora the Explorer that makes me confident in saying these live-action remakes need to step up their game.
Let’s “explore” why that is!
Poking Fun at Breaking the Fourth Wall
You can see that even in the trailer, young Dora’s habit of breaking the fourth wall to talk to an unknown audience was concerning to her parents. For anyone who watched Dora the Explorer on Nick Jr (or had younger siblings and didn’t have a choice but to watch it), this is satisfying to see.
Other than breaking the fourth wall, there are so many moments that reference the original Dora the Explorer that will give you a full-on belly laugh. It’s worth it to head to the theaters and see this, even if you don’t have a kid in tow. You’ll laugh anyway.
Dora’s Dad Should Be Everyone’s Dad
You may remember Michael Pena from movies such as American Hustle and Crash, but the most notable role was him playing Luis in Ant-Man. He’s the fast-talking man that works alongside Scott Lang.
Michael Pena brings that same level of humor to Dora and the Lost City of Gold. While his imitation of rave music made it in the trailer (I still laughed when he yelled “go get it!” in theaters), there are so many more moments that he will have you grabbing at your side.
He plays a father very well. I love his rapport with Elena (played by Eva Longoria) which made it feel like a real parental interaction.
Cole is that cool, seriously funny dad that everyone should have. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for this character.
An Authentic High School Experience
“High school is life or death,” Diego (Dora’s cousin, played by Jeff Wahlberg) tells Dora on her first day of public school outside of the jungle. And while that may seem like an exaggerated statement, high school in real life is nothing like a song from High School Musical. High school is very much a test of endurance and survival.
Anyone who watches this movie can see it coming. While Dora has a low level of socialization with others her age, she is extremely happy and joyful because she hasn’t been molded into how society says she could act. It’s both equally hilarious and cringeworthy to watch her approach students saying “Hi I’m Dora!” enthusiastically to each and every person walking by. And it’s more than a little painful to see the looks that they give her.
Things come to a clash bigtime at the school dance when Dora, dressed as the Sun which matches her sunny personality, invites Diego to dance with her. She does a silly number dances that she has named after jungle animals (The Elephant, The Peacock, etc) and onlooking high school students laugh at both her and Diego, leaving Diego to storm out in danger.
That moment was such a pivotal moment of how Dora’s and Diego’s two worlds clash, one who has assimilated to the high school norm and the other who truly doesn’t know how to be anyone other than herself.
If you’ve ever been teased for being different in high school, you either end up caving in to pressure like Diego or displaying your weirdness like peacock feathers like Dora.
Sammy Is Your Resident Mean Girl
Sammy is your typical smart girl with extreme intelligence and the opposite level of confidence. But to cover up that fear, she displays a lot of intimidation and sarcasm. Sammy is played by Madeleine Madden who also started in Picnic at Hanging Rock and Mystery Road. Madeleine definitely brought a spark to Sammy and it’s really fun to watch.
There’s even a little bit of a budding romance between her and Diego. It’s not overdone, but it will make you go, “aww.”
Does Dora Get A Love Interest?
I can actually appreciate that, while Diego and Sammy had a love arc, there wasn’t a huge push for Dora and Randy to be dating. Randy, played by Nicholas Coombe, was an aww-worthy awkward character to watch. His awkwardness only matched by Dora’s. However, I absolutely loved all of their interactions. It’s almost as if they tried to out quirk each other. It was very cute that they were both into astrology. I do hope if there is a second movie that we get to see more of Dora and Randy.
Positive Reactions From Actual Adults
If you don’t believe me about the movie, please know that there are many positive (and hilarious) reviews from others who have seen the movie, most of those people were not expecting to like it so much. Take for example comedian Josh Pray. He whispers into the camera about how much he liked the movie so his son wouldn’t hear:
“This movie is so good, man! Nickelodeon did it right!…they picked the right person to play this character…this movie is like Tomb Raider meets National Treasure meets Indiana Jones but in a Dora way…”
Don’t just take the above quote for it, take a listen and watch the video. Fair warning: don’t drink anything while you’re watching it, you just may choke while you’re laughing.
Overall, I was pretty impressed and immersed with the plotline. While I do think kids will still enjoy this movie, I have to say, even as a full-grown adult, Dora and the Lost City of Gold just might be the best live-action remake yet. It has a great sense of nostalgia as well as bringing in fresh new characters and a relevant storyline.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold dropped in theaters on August 9th. So come on, let’s get to it! I know that we can do it!
Have you seen Dora and the Lost City of Gold? What was your favorite scene? If you haven’t seen it, how do you think it will compare to Dora the Explorer? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.