Paramount // 2006 // 97 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 11th, 2006
That conquistador-in-training, Dora, is back for another round of educational, problem-solving, preschool-friendly, sorta-interactive episodes.
Dora the Explorer tracks the adventures of its diminutive, titular star, as she parades through her massive backyard, which seems to incorporate every known ecological system on the planet: jungles, mountains, plains, tundra, forests, the planes of Oblivion; it's all there for Dora to traipse through.
The show is aimed squarely at the tiny tots. Each adventure has Dora consulting her big, colorful map, with the route clearly picked out, so that any young viewer will be able to follow along easily. As she proceeds on her adventure (usually no more involved than "Dora wants to go to the field and pick a strawberry"), she'll come into contact with various impasses that require basic problem-solving skills. This is where your rugrat presumably comes in, shouting out the answers and interacting with Dora.
That's about it. Along the way Dora tosses out some beginner Spanish phrases, but mainly it's about the kids fine-tuning their introductory solution recognition.
Dora the Explorer is one of those cartoons that I can objectively say "I understand why small children enjoy this," but my grown-up, personal feelings are more along the lines of "This crap is annoying." This show grates on me, and, thankfully, I don't have any children yet so I can still take solace in some Viking death scenes from The 13th Warrior to cleanse my palate after one go-round with Dora. I shudder to think the cartoons that will incessantly be on replay in the Johnson household when the first-born does hit the TV-age.
Dora just bugs the heck out of me. That big head, those gaping eyes, and her need to constantly speak at abnormally high volume -- eccch. Sure I can appreciate the level of interactivity the producers have tried to create with her adventures, but the utter lack of storyline, and the general goofiness of an animated Spanish girl imploring the viewer to help select the right log to cross the river with is a bit much.
Enough of my jaded sourpuss barbs. This show is not made with the thoughts and sensibilities of David Johnson, 28-year-old homeowner from southern New Hampshire in mind.
This disc brings four episodes of Dora mayhem:
* "Dora's First Trip"
Dora sits with her family over the dinner table and recounts her very first adventure. See how she first connects with her pals Boots, Isa, Tico, Benny, the Fiesta Trio, and Swiper.
* "Best Friends"
Dora and Boots head for a big-ass mountain with rainbows growing out of it to spend some quality time together in celebration of Best Friends' Day. Thing is, they're on different paths and it falls to you, the viewer to guide them to their destination.
* "Tree House"
Dora walks through a bunch of grass to get to a tree house and hang out with her friends.
* "Chocolate Tree"
Huh? Dora takes it upon herself to find the legendary Chocolate Tree and harvest some chocolate seedlings to plant her own chocolate sapling in her backyard.
There you have it, four solid Dora episodes complete with the multiple paths and the floating arrows and the cutesy map that I want to punch in the mouth and a slew of animal friends. It's full frame and 2.0 stereo all the way, and only a "Best Friends," music video accompanies.
For me, Dora is as irritating as skin rash, but I get why kids dig her. If those kids happen to be yours, then this disc should keep them yelling "Go left!" or "Look behind the elephant droppings!" for a long time. Good luck with all that.
Boots is sentenced to death.
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Music Video