DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD – Review by Susan Granger

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This live-action adaptation of the popular animated Nickelodeon series resembles a kid-friendly Indiana Jones adventure, opening with the logo: “Everything you are about to see is true. Except that foxes don’t swipe. That’s a hurtful stereotype.”

As her story begins, perky 16 year-old Dora (Isabela Moner) is living with her zoologist mom (Eva Longoria) and archeologist dad (Michael Pena) in their idyllic Peruvian rainforest cottage where she’s spent her childhood being home-schooled.

But now that her explorer parents are embarking on a perilous trek to find Parapata, the fabled Inca city of gold, Dora is dispatched to Los Angeles to live with her aunt and uncle, only to discover that Silverlake High School is another challenging jungle with its own indigenous people.

There’s condescending Sammy (Madeline Madden), the know-it-all class president; awkwardly nerdy Randy (Nicholas Coombe); and her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg, nephew of Mark), who feels humiliated by Dora’s cheerful attitude and guileless tendency to spontaneous burst into song.

Then, during a school field trip to the Natural History Museum, Dora and her pals are kidnapped by treasure hunters who are determined to track down Dora’s peripatetic parents.

Joined by mysterious Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez), the teenagers must navigate through intoxicating flowers whose spores induce vivid hallucinations and circumvent the treacherous booby traps guarding Parapata’s treasure. So it’s lucky that Dora knows Peru’s Quechua dialect.

Director James Bobin (Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Muppets) and co-writers Nicholas Stoller (Storks) and Matthew Robinson (Monster Trucks) retain Dora’s infectious enthusiasm as she learns about friendship and teamwork.

Dora’s hyper-stylized pet monkey Boots (voiced by Danny Trejo) is back, along with Swiper (voiced by Benicio Del Toro), the sneaky fox.

FYI: When Dora made her debut on Nickelodeon in 2000, she became the first animated Latina heroine in a show that included Spanish-speaking characters.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is an endearing, nostalgic 7, filled with fresh fun for the entire family.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.