Now Playing: Dora and the Lost City of Gold

When my college-age daughter was much younger, one of our favorite things to do was go to a kiddie matinee. I’d get a Cherry Coke and popcorn, and she’d get a kid’s box, which included a child-size pile of popcorn, a small fruit punch and a candy treat. For an hour and a half, we’d forget about the real world and go on a vacation of sorts, wherever the movie we were seeing took us.

I knew that I was going to review “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” and I asked my daughter if she wanted to go see it with me. I jokingly told her that I’d even get her a kid’s box, just like I used to. She replied, “No way, Dad, I want a full-size drink and a full-size popcorn.” Deal!

At the theater, it was mostly grade-school girls and their parents or grandparents, which is what I expected. I do think, however, that boys of the same age group will thoroughly enjoy this film as well.

Cartoon character Dora comes to life in this live-action adventure, which teams her with old pal Diego and trusty chimp sidekick, Boots. It seems that Dora’s explorer parents have discovered the secret location of the golden Inca city, Parapata, deep in the jungle. Unfortunately, the bad guys are hot on their trail, and concoct a scheme to get the gold for themselves. Dora to the rescue!

While most of the storyline has been done before, it hasn’t been done with a Hispanic female hero. That, in of itself, twists every situation in a new direction, making this movie a more than interesting watch. Adding a couple of high school classmates of Dora to the mix often makes it feel like a teen romcom.

Isabela Moner is perfectly cast as Dora, and as her parents, Eva Longoria and Michael Pena really hit the mark. Early on, they explain to Dora that the exploring is the real point of the adventure, not the actual gold that they eventually find. “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” has a lot going for it, including a family that loves each other above material things, and a strong, admirable female hero.

After the credits rolled and the lights came up, I said to my daughter, “I think 12-year-old you would’ve really liked that movie.” I could tell by the smile on her face, though, that  college-age her probably enjoyed it just as much.