You’d recognize her short bob haircut, bangs, pink T-shirt, and orange shorts anywhere.

For 19 years, preschoolers have been tuning into Nick Jr. to learn about adventure, inclusivity, and diversity from Dora and her friends. When the Dora the Explorer series debuted in 2000, kids immediately fell in love with the spunky, brave, and smart lead character. Kids felt like Dora was talking directly to them, as the animated preschooler often broke the fourth wall and asked the audience questions, pausing for them to answer.

It’s been almost two decades since Dora’s preschool TV series debuted, and she’s back in a new way — a feature film that combines live-action and CGI animation. Dora and the Lost City of Gold shows us a teenage Dora, who may look older, but has not lost her passion for exploring. With a PG rating that suggests the movie is intended for audiences older than those who watched the animated series, this movie’s goal is to connect audiences of all ages, and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time.

“Themes of inclusivity and friendship are exactly what this world needs to see right now,” says Kristin Burr, one of the film’s producers. “Plus, a healthy dose of a diverse, strong young woman as the lead.”

And Dora is that perfect lead.

“She’s still the same person she was as a young girl,” Burr adds. “She’s sweet, full of wonder, eager to learn about everything she comes in contact with. She is the smartest person in the room and unapologetic for who she is. She’s worked to understand the jungle all her life, and now must navigate a whole new world: friendship with kids her own age. But she finds a way because of her positive spirit and generous nature. She’s a great character all audiences can get behind and appreciate.”

Dora and the Lost City of Gold Cast

L-R, Madeleine Madden, Isabela Moner, Jeff Wahlberg and Nicholas Coombe star in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players, and Nickelodeon Movies.

The movie features allusions to the original series — Dora’s iconic outfit, quips about her breaking the fourth wall, etc. — however, this Dora is not the Dora who we grew up with. In Dora and the Lost City of Gold, she finds herself on what might be her most dangerous adventure yet: high school. As her cousin Diego puts it — delivered in the most relatable way in basically one breath by actor Jeffrey Wahlberg, “Dora, this isn’t the jungle. It’s high school; it’s life or death. So, if I don’t talk to you, don’t take it personal, OK? We’re all just trying to survive. High school’s a terrible nightmare.”

Unfortunately for our expedition-loving heroine, in order to go to high school, she must miss exploring an ancient city made of gold with her parents, hilariously portrayed by Eva Longoria and Michael Peña.

However, circumstances lead Dora to her wish of a true adventure, as she guides her trusty friend Boots (Danny Trejo), Diego, a jungle inhabitant named Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez), and a group of new teenage friends on an adventure to save her parents. Of course, they run into familiar characters, like Swiper (Benecio del Toro), along the way.

Directed by James Bobin, the movie’s strong cast gives it the vibe of light-hearted fun and spirited adventure that Dora is known for. Plus, much like the original Dora series did when it debuted, it puts diversity and inclusivity at the forefront.

“It was important to find Latinx actors, as Dora was an iconic Latinx character for young generations,” Burr says. “We were fortunate to have an incredible cast for this movie that brought so much humor and fun to the characters.”

And those themes of inclusivity and friendship don’t stop at the big screen. Just Play brings the movie to life with toys and products that embody Dora’s adventurous spirit. Just like in the movie, Just Play’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold fashion doll incorporates elements from our teenaged hero, in addition to elements of the animated Dora of Nick Jr. fame.

To capture her adventurous spirit, the doll is fully articulated so that fans of all ages can play with and display her in different action poses. She comes dressed in her iconic outfit and includes her infamous backpack and her sidekick Boots. In addition to the fashion doll, Just Play’s line also includes movie-inspired Boots and Swiper plush toys for kids to take along with them on all of their adventures.

Whether you grew up with Dora or this is your first expedition, Dora and the Lost City of Gold will teach you the importance of sticking together and chasing adventure. Because after all, together, anything is possible. 

Photos: Paramount Pictures


This article was originally published in the Pop Insider’s Fall 2019 Issue No. 5, click here to read more