Back when I was a small brown boy I had great kid’s films like Selena, American Me, Blood In Blood Out, Boulevard Nights, and so many others that featured Latinx as the main stars. Needless to say, not many of them left a great, positive, impression on my young mind. many of these films that focused around hispanics featured violence, mental illness, depression, and crime.
Although it did teach me to always watch my back! Seriously though, there is such a lack of positive Latinx role models that Dora and the Lost City of Gold absolutely hits the mark. Dora and the Lost City of Gold isn’t just a great Hispanic film but a great film overall. It promotes competent females, diverse Latinx, and is fun!
Dora and the Lost City of Gold is based off of the beloved children’s show Dora the Explorer where a young girl explores the jungle while singing songs and learning about various plants/animals. This film is a live action version that has Dora leaving the jungle and coming to California to attend high school.
She stays with her cousin, Diego, who used to live in the jungle but moved to the city at a young age. Diego is distant from Dora as he is more focused on surviving the horrors of High School rather than appreciating his cousin. One thing leads to another and Dora is brought back to the Jungle to help find her missing parents who were in search for the legendary lost Incan civilization.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold was given a lot of love and support that can be shown in a number of ways through out the film. A lot of high profile Latinx actors can be found from Isabela Moner, Michael Pena, Eva Longoria, Benecio Del Toro, Eugenio Derbez, and even Danny Trejo! The sets, sounds, and cinematography were all top notch and added to the entire experience. I went with my girlfriend and her son and all of us took turns laughing as the writers made certain to include content that could be enjoyed by all.
They took the extra time to craft jokes around the silliness of the kid’s show, which was appreciated especially if you had to watch it because it was beloved by a young cousin. The movie was great and we do recommend seeing it, especially if you have kids or you raised one who watched Dora.
Speaking of Latinx actors, I got to do a round table interview one of the stars of the film, Eugenio Derbez, and it was pretty life changing to be honest. Eugenio Derbez is known far and wide for being a veteran of comedy and film making but where I know him from is Instructions Not Included.
This film destroyed me emotionally and I loved every minute of it. I came to find out that Eugenio Derbez not only was the main actor for Instructions Not Included but he also directed it and wrote it. Needless to say I was out of my mind with respect and excitement to even get to meet him.
As a veteran of film making, you have done almost every aspect of the process. What aspect is your personal favorite? Because while people know you from acting, I have seen how great you are at writing and directing with Instructions Not included.
Eugenio Derbez: I am so glad you asked this question! Yes, I love acting in films and I will honestly never get tired of it but my true passion is directing and writing. When I was in Mexico, I got so frustrated because no one would consider me for dramas or romance. So I decided to write my own film and it took ten years but I did it! Instructions Not Included was my passion and now I have the urge to continue film making so I can create the stories that I want to see.
How long do you think you could last in the jungle as yourself?
Eugenio Derbez: Oh, only a few hours! During the filming we had guides and guards who warned us about the many deadly snakes and spiders that lived in Australia. Even at one point I was getting ready for a scene and my wardrobe assistant was helping me and I noticed a spider on her. I gave it a swift flick and afterwards, she looked at the spider and told me that it was a White Tailed Spider and that it was deadly.
How was it working with Eva Longoria and Michael Pena?
Eugenio Derbez: They were lovely to work with. The great thing about Dora and the Lost City of Gold is that it featured a lot of great Latino actors. The casting had such care that the film got the actors it deserved. Often times when a Latino themed film is being made, it’ll be casted with actors who are JUST Latino and even if it doesn’t suit the characters. It can feel very cheap and rushed but in Dora, we had an excellent crew.
Do you think this film is important?
Eugenio Derbez: Yes. Especially in this day and age where being Latino is almost frowned upon, it is good to have a film that showcases the strengths of our community. Dora doesn’t have any super powers, she is smart, kind, hard working, considerate, and she was raised by loving parents. This is, in many ways, what we need right now so that those little kids who are growing up can understand that they should be proud of their heritage.
All in all, Dora and the Lost City of Gold was a lot of fun for everyone involved and we highly recommend checking it out!