Live-Action Dora The Explorer Movie’s Biggest Changes To The Cartoon
Dora the Explorer has been staple viewing for young children since 2000, but the new live-action movie, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, makes major changes to the animated show. The seven-year-old Dora spent her days embarking on a series of quests, seemingly unchaperoned, aided by her monkey Boots, a singing backpack, and a talking map. Along the way, she frequently encountered the sly fox, Swiper, who liked to try and take anything that didn't belong to him, as well as her friend, Benny the Bull.
Dora the Explorer was a global hit, spawning multiple lines of merchandise as well as a spinoff show, Go Diego Go!, which focused on Dora's cousin. Although Dora the Explorer hasn't been on TV since 2006, she's now on the big screen in a new live-action movie, Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Isabela Moner plays the titular young explorer, who has grown up but still holds the same upbeat, happy view of life.
While the most obvious difference between Dora and the Lost City of Gold and the original TV show is that it's no longer animated, there are several other changes for Dora's big screen debut, which may have been done to make the film appealing to a wider audience.
Dora Is Now 16
Dora wasn't going to stay seven years old forever, but many people had thought the live-action movie would pitch her as a pre-teen, as she had been in a previous spinoff, Dora's Explorer Girls. However, that's not the case. Dora is now 16 years old and heading to a suburban high school in Los Angeles. While most 16-year-old kids are savvy and often world-weary, Dora is the opposite. Although she's bright and intelligent, Dora has little experience of city life, having grown up in the jungle with her parents. So in that regard, she has a lot to learn. She's still as upbeat and happy as ever - intensely so - and she holds a cheery outlook that is alien to most 16-year-old kids. As a result, Dora doesn't find it easy to fit into her new school life. She also owns a talking blue monkey, which understandably sets her apart.
Dora's Parents Have Great Jobs
One of the long-standing jokes with Dora the Explorer was that her parents never seemed concerned that their daughter was exploring the world with no supervision. While Dora's dad went out to work (though we never knew exactly what he did), Dora's mom stayed home. In later years, this was to look after Dora's twin siblings, but initially she seemed to wait contentedly at home for her child to return. Not anymore, though. Dora's parents, played by Eva Longoria and Michael Pena, are archaeology professors. She has a close relationship with both, and they're heavily involved in their daughter's upbringing. They're also busy in their careers, and the reason Dora has to head to high school in LA with Diego is because they're off to search for the lost city of Parapata.
Diego Lives In The City
Diego is Dora's cousin, and also starred in his own TV series, Go Diego, Go!. He is a year older than Dora, and his show focused on him and his sidekick, baby Jaguar, rescuing animals around the world. In Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Diego is played by Jeff Whalberg and, sadly, there's no baby Jaguar in sight. Instead, Diego is busy living his own life in Los Angeles, until his cousin Dora is sent to join him. Dora is naive, super eager, and permanently upbeat. She also doesn't know how the school metal detectors work, so Diego has a lot of work to do.
Boots Doesn't Wear Boots
Boots, Dora's monkey, no longer wears his red wellington boots. In fact, in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, viewers see a baby Boots chewing on his boots, before Dora's mom tells her to take them off him. He's still Dora's companion, though, and director James Bobin has taken the wise decision to keep him close to his animated counterpart. Boots is over stylized and not at all realistic. He has his signature blue fur and yellow belly, and he still talks. Transferring Dora's talking animal companions to the big screen in a live-action movie was never going to be an easy task, but with Boots, the team behind Dora and the Lost City of Gold nail it.
Backpack Doesn't Talk
In Dora The Explorer, not only did her purple backpack talk but it also had its own song. In a similar vein to Mary Poppins' bag, Dora's backpack was able to hold a wealth of items, all of which just happened to be useful for the task at hand. It's no different in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, but sadly, her backpack doesn't talk. It might have been one step too far for a live-action remake. Talking animals are one thing but talking inanimate objects is quite another.
Dora's Map Doesn't Talk Either
"I'm the map!" Map's exuberance every time he was released from Dora's backpack is one of the animated series' signature qualities, but it's something that didn't translate into the live-action movie. Just like with Dora's backpack, her map doesn't speak either in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Again, it's understandable, but it's nice to see that Map still plays a role in Dora's life and hasn't been replaced by GPS. Also, Dora still sings about both the Map and Backpack, so all is not lost.
Dora Doesn't Break The Fourth Wall Quite As Much
Dora the Explorer was renowned for its titular character breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audience. Since this consisted mostly of pre-schoolers, it worked well. Dora would often ask them to repeat a word or phrase, usually in Spanish, or to help her with something. One of her most-used commands was getting viewers to call out "Swiper no swiping!" when the cunning fox approached.
In Dora and the Lost City of Gold, she breaks the fourth wall very early on, in an amusing nod to the original show, by asking "Can you say delicioso?" This time, however, Dora's parents are aware of it, and wonder who she's talking to. However, Dora doesn't break the fourth wall as often as she used to; a sensible choice by Bobin since this isn't a movie only for young children. There is one great introduction, though, when Dora looks straight into camera and says "Hi, I'm Dora, and I'm being chased by a herd of angry elephants." She might be grown up, and her toys may not be alive anymore, but Dora is still the same Dora the Explorer at heart.