Dora and the Lost City of Gold

DoraLostCity

Directed By: James Bobin
Starring: Isabela Moner, Jeff Wahlberg, Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, Eugenio Derebez, Madeleine Madden, Nicholas Coombe, Danny Trejo, Benicio del Toro, et.al.
Rating: PG
Grade: B

Raised in remote jungles by her explorer parents, 16-year-old Dora is in over her head when they suddenly decide to send her to live with family in America so she can attend high school and learn to be a regular teenager. However, on a class field trip, Dora, her cousin Diego, and their classmates Sammy and Randy are all kidnapped by people looking for her parents and the fabled lost City of Gold they’ve spent most of Dora’s life looking for. With the help of an old colleague of her parents’, Dora sets out to find them, and the fabled city, before the bad guys can get what they’re after.

Having never seen the cartoon series this movie is based on, I can’t make any comparisons regarding the quality. From an outsider’s perspective, however, the movie is actually pretty good. The storyline works, and the younger actors all do well with the material, and manage to keep pace with their adult counterparts. The dialogue can get a little clunky and ham-handed, and at times Dora seems annoyingly naïve, but that’s more likely from an attempt to keep it on par with the source material. Despite that, it’s still an enjoyable movie.

The animations for Boots and Swiper are a little cartoony, but that could be on purpose. Aside from that, the special effects seem decent, and the background filler isn’t really noticeable.

This movie should appeal to most kids, as well as just about anyone who doesn’t mind an action/adventure geared towards a younger crowd. With a fairly simple story, it’s easy to follow, and there’s enough action and humor to keep it interesting. About the only things that might take adults out of the movie are the (occasionally) talking animals and a sequence animated to look like the cartoon show, which seemed slightly out of place in my opinion.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is not available free to stream at the moment, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

The Kid Who Would Be King

KidWhoWouldBeKing

Directed By: Joe Cornish
Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Rebecca Ferguson, Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart, et.al.
Rating: PG
Grade: B-

Twelve-year-old Alex and his best friend Bedders spend most of their days trying to escape their bullies, Lance and Kaye. However, one day, they stumble upon an abandon construction site and finds what appears to be a sword sticking out of a piece of stone. Believing a weapon would better his chances, Alex pulls out the sword. The next day, a new student at Alex’s school approaches him and tells him that Alex is a descendant of King Arthur, and that by taking Excalibur from the stone, the evil sorceress Morgana has awakened to wreak her revenge on Arthur’s line and the people of England. Using the story of ‘The Once and Future King’ as a guide, Alex recruits Bedders, Lance, and Kaye to be his knights as they attempt to defeat Morgana before the pending solar eclipse when she will reach full power and destroy them all.

When undertaking an update of a classic tale, there is always a problem of balance, and finding a way to modernize the story without losing its heart. Surprisingly, this adaptation manages to avoid those issues and delivers a surprisingly charming and enjoyable movie. Despite the fantasy elements, the story itself is relatable to more than just children, and, while the idea of a child finding out they’re actually more special than they were led to believe, if it’s well approached like this movie is, then it’s not as bothersome as some attempts tend to be. The kids all work well together and the actors playing the children show promise with their talents.

The special effects are all pretty good for a mid-budget children’s movie, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

This movie should appeal to almost everyone. The story is light-hearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously, and everyone involved appears to be having fun. Those who don’t enjoy fantasy may not want to watch it over and over again, but they probably won’t regret watching it at least once.

The Kid Who Would Be King is currently unavailable free to stream anywhere at the moment, but can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.