Dora and the Lost City of Gold and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by James Bobin
You know that they already did an aged up Dora series? Sure she was only ten years old in that one instead of going to high school, but she moved to the city and made some human friends instead of talking to a monkey all day. That’s… about all I know about Dora the Explorer outside of it being… a thing for a while there. Well that’s a bit dismissive; it was actually a HUGE success for Nickelodeon and was broadcast worldwide in various languages, so I guess there HAS to be a market out there for more Dora stuff which is why we’re getting this film in the first place; though not as a straight up adaptation of the material but instead as a reimagining of the concept. Less Spanish lessons and more Bowie knives if the trailer is anything to go by, which at least caught my and many others’ attention a few months ago. Can this spin on the beloved children’s character become a cross generational hit that will keep Dora in the public consciousness for decades to come, or will this be as bad a miscalculation as that M Night version of The Last Airbender? Let’s find out!!
Dora (Isabela Moner), whose last name has been lost to time, is your typical teenaged jungle explorer. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything that could kill her in there, she’s made friends with the native animals including a monkey named Boots, and she can apparently fall from great heights without breaking any of her bones! Truly a Lara Croft in the making as long as she gets her gun permit, but her parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) have other plans for her. See, they’re about to go on a trip to find THE LOST CITY OF PARAPATA (which is apparently full of gold), but instead of taking their highly competent and well trained daughter with them, they’re gonna send her to “the city” to stay with her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) and attend the most fearsome jungle of them all; HIGH SCHOOL!! Like most cartoon characters brought to life, her biggest problem is that she’s just too earnest for this cynical world which wants to sap all the idealism right out of her, but darn it she won’t be deterred! She does end up being a bit of a laughing stock though for… being nice I think, and she’s ends up hanging out with the other nobodies at the school; her cousin Diego for some reason, the class president (Madeleine Madden) for some reason, and the local nerd (Nicholas Coombe) for pretty obvious reasons. If only there was a way for her to show everyone that she’s ACTUALLY an awesome Indiana Jones knock off instead of some geek who likes to carry water purifies wherever she goes. Well she gets her monkey’s paw wish when during a field trip she and her “not friends” all get captured by mercenaries who take her back to “The Jungle” and demand she help them find her parents who have gone missing in search of that city full of gold. Fortunately a friend of her parents Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez) springs them free and wants to help them find her parents, so now it’s a race against time as Dora and her not so enthusiastic explorers have to track down her parents before the team of mercenaries (including Swiper the Fox for some reason) can hunt them down, take the gold, and gut them all like fish. Can Dora teach her friends to survive in such a harsh environment and gain their respect in the process? Why did her parents go missing in the first place, and is the lost city gold so hard to find for a very good reason? I wonder if this adventure will look good on their college applications…
Storks and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland
Is this just the year of animated bird movies!? First we have Angry Birds, now we have Storks… okay, it’s just two movies, but that still seems like too many! I really didn’t know anything about this movie walking in, having only hear the title and maybe seen a poster, which is odd considering that this isn’t some straight to DVD crap from an unknown studio. Maybe Warner Bros was keeping this one close to the chest, or maybe I’ve just been living under a rock this whole time. Anyway, is this the follow-up to the LEGO movie that they’re hoping will prove their viability as an animation studio, or will this prove the Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the director’s chair was the only reason that was a success in the first place? Let’s find out!!
The movie is set in a world where at one time (presumably throughout all of humanity’s existence up until a few years ago) Storks would receive letters from humans and then… I guess use those letters to create a fetus in some sort of machine that grows them to term in a matter of minutes. It’s not clear how much control the parents have when deciding what kind of baby they want (no gay kids in MY family!) but regardless, the babies that are crafted in this ungodly mechanism are then delivered by the Storks all around the world. At some point though, I guess the humans learned how to fuck which made the Storks rather redundant, so they decided to switch their operation from baby growing and delivery to basically become Amazon. Okay… I have several questions about all of this already, but we should probably move on from there. So when the movie picks up (which can only be about twenty years after they stopped delivering babies), the best Stork deliverer in the business Junior (Andy Samberg) is up for a management position as the current manager Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) is apparently going to the BOARD OF DIRECTORS or something… even though we never see anyone higher than Hunter in the company structure. For Junior to get his new job though, he has to do one thing; fire Tulip. Who is Tulip? Sigh… okay, rewind a bit. Apparently right before the Storks stopped delivering babies (maybe this was an inciting incident?) one Stork lost his damn mind after seeing how CUUUUUUTE his baby was and broke the baby’s personalized tracking thingy… which is some sort of GPS device that tells them where the baby goes… and it’s the only copy of that information… so the baby is an orphan now and the stork in question flies off AND IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN! That baby is now eighteen (i.e. they’ve only stopped delivering babies for less than a generation) and FOR SOME REASON wasn’t brought to a human orphanage, but has instead been bumming around the packing facility this entire time doing odd jobs for the company. To make a long story short; shenanigans happen, Junior and Tulip accidently make a baby with the decommissioned baby-maker (don’t ask), and they have to deliver it before anyone finds out what the hell he did and he loses his job. For some reason Hunter wants to stop them rather than help them cover it up (does he WANT Junior to be in charge, or not!?), and of course we have to cut back to the kid who sent the letter wishing for a little brother (he’s gonna get a little sister instead, so maybe the human’s DON’T have that much control over what baby they get) and his issues with his parents being gainfully employed. You ever get the feeling that the writers didn’t actually think anything through when they were writing a script?
After the cinematic horror show that was the ill-conceived Pixels, Adam Sandler was banished to the world of streaming and will not be allowed back into theaters until his penance of four movies is paid! Okay, the four movie deal with Netflix was already underway before Pixels (or even Hotel Transylvania 2) was released, but considering how absolutely dreadful his career has been with the movies under the Happy Madison umbrella, it really does feel like he needs to be taken out of the spotlight for a while just to see if the change in scenery will bring some life back to him and his chosen profession. Is The Ridiculous 6 the movie that will finally bring him back to top form, or is this yet another pointless exercise from a man who gave up on being funny a long time ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with, what else, RACISM!! Seriously!? I can’t even get thirty seconds into an Adam Sandler joint before I’m itching to turn the damn thing off!?