Dora is the superhero we didn’t know we needed. This film’s timeliness in today’s political climate is not lost on this viewer. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
is based on the television show cartoon, Dora the Explorer
, but is so much less obnoxious for the audience members who are over the age of four. This movie is meant for children, but also for the families who had to sit through the cartoon with their children. It winks at the absurd/annoying TV show moments, even has some scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny — usually featuring Dora’s father, played by Michael Peña.
The major plot of this film involves Dora, her cousin Diego, and their classmates Sammy and Randy looking to find Dora’s parents in Peru. The ultimate goal for all the characters (good and bad) is to find Parapata, the city of gold.
There are very few movies where Latinx characters are not gang-bangers, drug lords, or criminals. Almost all of the lead characters in Dora and the Lost City of Gold
are Latinx and played by Latinx actors, including the voice actors for Boots and Swiper. In an L.A. Times interview
, Eva Longoria, who plays Dora’s mother, says, “You don’t have to be Latino, but it is a celebration of our culture within the movie.” She goes on to call it organic. The diversity of the characters is not a plot point, but it is natural and necessary to the story. Dora and her family are smart, loving, safe, and likable characters taking us on an adventure that everyone can enjoy.
Dora is weird. But Dora is weird because of her lack of social skills combined with wide-eyed optimism. For teenagers, in real life or in films, these characteristics are strange in a normal public high school in America. Despite this, Dora never changes who she was — even when she was feeling sad or lonely, she did not compromise. She never assimilates, and she doesn’t need to. The othering of her character by other characters is because of her intelligence and happiness, not because she isn’t white.