Dora and the Lost City of Gold

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Paramount;
Family Adventure;
Box Office $60.48 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG’ for action and some impolite humor.
Stars Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, Jeff Wahlberg, Nicholas Coombe, Madeleine Madden, Temuera Morrison, Adriana Barraza, Benicio del Toro, Danny Trejo.

It would be easy to assume that a movie based on Nickelodeon’s long-running animated “Dora the Explorer” TV series might be just another sappy, dumbed-down diversion aimed at kids. But in the hands of director James Bobin, Dora and the Lost City of Gold turns out to be a charming, fun adventure that all ages can enjoy, not just fans of the TV series.

Bobin, who has already demonstrated his deft touch with similar material as director of the two most recent “Muppets” movies, and screenwriters Nicholas Stoller and Matthew Robinson bring a slightly subversive sensibility that honors the concept while poking fun at it at the same time.

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The cartoon, of course, dealt with the adventures of 7-year-old Dora, her monkey sidekick, Boots, and her cousin, Diego, as they talk and sing to the audience to solve puzzles and learn new facts about the world. And the movie jumps right in with a live-action version of the “Dora” theme that sets up the movie as providing more of the same. But it turns out Dora and Diego are just imaginative youngsters who live in the South American jungle with Dora’s parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria), a pair of professors researching ancient civilizations.

After Diego moves away to Los Angeles with his parents, Dora is left to explore on her own, and the movie cuts to 10 years later, with the 16-year-old Dora (Isabela Moner) running through the jungle as if nothing has changed (though, in a bit of meta-humor, she now live-streams her adventures as a means of talking to her audience). As her parents prepare to embark on a search for a lost city, Dora is sent to live with Diego in L.A., much to her chagrin.

Having spent 10 years in the city, Diego is now a more-or-less normal kid trying to survive high school, while Dora continues to be Dora.

The movie mines Dora’s fish-out-of-water adjustments to high school for some good laughs, as she is basically the cartoon character dropped into the real world. The tone brings to mind The Brady Bunch Movie in the way the humor stems from the juxtaposition of the central characters living in their own little world for regular reality to react to.

Things take a turn, however, as Dora, Diego and some of their fellow high schoolers are kidnapped by mercenaries who want to find the same city of gold that Dora’s parents are seeking, putting Dora back in her element and turning the tables on the students who were making fun of her for survivalist skills.

The kids quickly escape into the jungle and set off to find the legendary city and Dora’s parents on their own, pursued by the bad guys, who are aided by Swiper the Fox, lest any of his fans worry he would be left out of the action.

From here the film takes on the vibe of a junior “Indiana Jones” adventure, while also taking some cues from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, in terms of putting the ensemble into unusual situations.

In addition to the opening sequence, the film’s most direct nod to the cartoon version comes in the form of a clever sequence in which the characters are exposed to jungle spores that make them hallucinate an animated world. The making of this playful scene is the subject of a four-minute featurette on the Blu-ray.

The behind-the-scenes material is pretty standard as far as these things go, with plenty of interviews from the cast and filmmakers. The nine-minute “All About Dora” features the talented Moner offering her insights on playing the character as a teenager. “Can You Say Pelicula?” is a four-and-a-half-minute examination of some of the stunts as well as the comedic sensibilities of Eugenio Derbez. A four-minute “Dora’s Jungle House” video offers a lot of details about Dora’s parents’ house that aren’t readily apparent from the movie.

The latter should please fans looking to live in this world a bit more, as will more than 13 minutes of deleted scenes, extended sequences and alternate takes.

The Blu-ray also includes an amusing two-minute blooper reel.

‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ Travels to Digital Nov. 5, Disc Nov. 19 From Paramount

The family film Dora and the Lost City of Gold debuts on digital Nov. 5 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Nov. 19 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora (Isabela Moner) for her biggest challenge yet — high school. When her parents mysteriously disappear while searching for the Lost City of Gold, Dora must swing into action and lead a group of ill-equipped high schoolers on a wild quest to save them.

The film, based on the kids’ series “Dora the Explorer,” also stars Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, and Danny Trejo.

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Extras on the digital and Blu-ray releases include bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, a look at Isabela Moner’s transformation into Dora, and a tour of Dora’s Jungle House.

Rob Zombie’s ‘3 From Hell’ Rampages to Digital and Disc, Including 4K UHD, Oct. 15

Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell will come out on digital and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand Oct. 15 from Lionsgate.

Written and directed by Zombie (House of 1000 CorpsesThe Devil’s RejectsHalloween), the film follows three of the director’s most vicious creations as they leave a trail of corpses in their wake.

3 From Hell stars Sheri Moon Zombie (The Devil’s RejectsHouse of 1000 CorpsesHalloween), Bill Moseley (The Devil’s RejectsHouse of 1000 Corpses), Richard Brake (“Game of Thrones,” Hannibal Rising31The Chameleon), Jeff Daniel Phillips (The Lords of Salem, “Westworld”), with Danny Trejo (The Devil’s RejectsMacheteFrom Dusk Till Dawn), and Sid Haig (The Devil’s RejectsHouse of 1000 CorpsesKill Bill: Vol. 2).

After barely surviving a furious shootout with the police, Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (Moseley), and Captain Spaulding (Haig) are behind bars. But pure evil cannot be contained, and a firestorm of murder, madness and mayhem will be released.

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Special features include an audio commentary with director Zombie and a four-part making-of featurette. Additionally, the 3 From Hell 4K and Blu-ray discs will feature the unrated cut.

Four-in-One DVDs of Disaster Flicks and Thrillers Coming From Mill Creek in April

A four-disaster flick DVD, including Arachnoquake and Ghostquake, and a four-dramatic thriller DVD, including A Nanny Seduction and A Deadly Affair, are coming from Mill Creek Entertainment in April.

Four disaster movies are available on the 4-in-1 Apocalypse Collection DVD plus digital. They include Arachnoquake (2012), starring Edward Furlong, Tracey Gold, Bug Hall, Dane Rhodes and Ethan Phillips; Ghostquake (2013), starring Danny Trejo, Charisma Carpenter and M.C. Gainey; Miami Magma (2011), with Rachel Hunter, Cleavant Derricks and Brad Douriff; and Weather Wars (2011), featuring Jason London, Wes Brown, Erin Cahill and Stacy Keach.

Four thrillers are available on the 4-in-1 Thrillers Collection DVD plus digital. They include Status Unknown (2014), Nanny Seduction (2017), Did I Kill My Mother? (2018) and A Deadly Affair (2017).

Universal Releasing ‘Grand-Daddy Day Care’ on Disc and Digital Feb. 5

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release Grand-Daddy Day Care on DVD, digital and on demand Feb. 5.

The film is a spiritual follow-up to 2003’s Daddy Day Care and its sequel, 2007’s Daddy Day Camp, but with new characters.

Reno Wilson stars as Frank Collins, who decides to start a day care for his father-in-law (Danny Trejo) and other seniors as a way to make quick cash while he’s writing a book. With a code enforcement officer challenging the legality of his business, and his senior charges getting into all kinds of trouble, Frank’s work days become anything but effortless.

The cast also includes Anthony Gonzalez, Barry Bostwick, Linda Gray, Julia Duffy, Alec Mapa, Garrett Morris, Margaret Avery, Roxana Ortega, Hal Linden, James Hong and George Wendt.

 

Sling TV Gets New Ad Agency, Bows New Marketing Campaign

Sling TV March 12 announced it has a new ad agency of record – underscoring concern its TV spots with tough guy actor Danny Trejo could be over.

Indeed, Dish Network’s pioneering online TV service with more than 2 million subscribers bowed a new multimedia marketing campaign, “We Are Slingers,” positioning Sling TV as a flexible live streaming service providing more choice and control than any other over-the-top (OTT) provider.

“Slinging is about breaking norms and connecting people with TV that satisfies through choice and control at a reasonable price; it’s a way of life,” Colleen Sugarman, head of marketing at Sling TV, said in a statement.

In addition to the commercials, elements of the campaign include a dedicated landing page, a new look and feel for the sling.com homepage, digital, mobile, new media and out-of-home ads, paid and organic social posts, YouTube videos, pre-roll and OTT video ads, paid search, in-device promotions on Sling TV supported devices and other direct-to-consumer promotions.

Additional spots will roll out to the general market in the coming months.

“We’re competing for attention not just with our client’s competitors, but with everything people are consuming as content,” said Karen Costello, chief creative officer at The Martin Agency. “The cheeky misdirect and play on the name is super sticky and a great way for Sling TV to be part of the conversation about TV ‘lifestyle’ viewing options.”

Sugarman said Sling TV needed an agency that could help inform consumers how the platform is the best way to watch live TV.

“The Martin Agency’s strong history of navigating highly competitive industries to successfully deliver for their clients made them the ideal choice,” she said.

Sling’s previous ad spots – created by media/digital network Society – focused on Trejo, whose lengthy career as TV and movie villain was underscored in a short but memorable role in “Breaking Bad,” threatening anyone who didn’t break from pay-TV.