You know those movies that you can just tell are going to be bad from the first trailer? Like, you want to give a movie the benefit of the doubt and hope that the full release will be good, but the first trailer is just so bad that you can’t even be optimistic about it? Dora and the Lost City of Gold is that movie for me.
I think that transitioning from animation to live-action can work for some franchises, like the live-action Rocky & Bullwinkle or Paddington, but Dora has a lot going against it. It’s an edutainment show that had frequent audience participation and was aimed at a very young demographic to keep them entertained while simultaneously teaching them the fundamentals of Spanish. It’s how I was introduced to Spanish growing up, and even back then I knew that it was meant for young kids like me. It was never meant to be a coming-of-age story for pre-teens or teenagers, plain and simple. Yet here we are, with a first trailer that’s aimed squarely at older kids and is chock full of crazy.
In it, Dora is a teenager that wants to go on an adventure with her parents to find the eponymous Lost City of Gold, but is instead sent to live with her cousin Diego and, GASP, go to high school! In suburbia no less! But she still maintains her perky sense of optimism and energy, so when her parents get kidnapped by the bad guy of the day, she must travel with her new friends to save her parents and discover the lost city for herself.
Now on paper, this sounds like a pretty average family-friendly blockbuster, but it’s when you add the unique elements of the TV show that things go bananas. Dora’s pet monkey Boots, who I shit you not is voiced by Danny Trejo, randomly appears from her backpack in the trailer. She brandishes a knife with gleeful abandon while also bringing dynamite and flares to school. I’m dumbfounded that there’s only one Spanish word in the entire trailer, and even then it’s only just to name the City of Gold. Dora never speaks Spanish once. Also she jumps off a cliff and somehow doesn’t die. Now we just need to wait for Benicio del Toro, who is cast to play Swiper the Fox, come trotting in but acting like he’s in Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
After rewatching this trailer way more times than I think one human should watch it, this may be a great movie to riff on with a bunch of friends, but only because of how forced it is. It just feels so corporate and tries to be hip with the kids. Michael Pena tries to describe what a rave is like and we, of course, get the one character who says something is “freakin’ awesome.” I’m calling it now; this is going to be inoffensive, middle of the road, summer trash that probably isn’t going to make a lot of money because it’s releasing against Hobbs & Shaw.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold releases August 2, 2019.