There’s a part of me that still can’t believe that a live-action movie based on Dora the Explorer exists, and yet, there it is. I’ve largely felt ambivalent about Dora and the Lost City of Gold ever since it was announced, but that’s probably due in large part to the fact that I was far too old for the Dora cartoon when it first came out in 2000, so I don’t have that connection to it that younger adults (not to mention children) might have. That being said, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to check out the film’s soundtrack, which was co-composed by John Debney and Germaine Franco.
Debney is well known in the film music world, composing music for The Princess Diaries, Sin City, Liar Liar, Spy Kids, No Strings Attached, The Emperor’s New Groove, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Hocus Pocus, just to name a few. I admit that Germaine Franco is less well-know to me personally, but her resume is also impressive. She is the first female composer to be hired by DreamWorks Animation and Pixar and is a Sundance Music Sound Design Fellow. She previously scored the feature film Little for Universal Pictures with Tina Gordon Chism, which was released in theaters in April 2019, as well as working on Tag and Life-Size 2.
As for the soundtrack itself, it’s pretty enjoyable to listen to for the most part. Any score that has John Debney involved is going to have some good music in it, and the soundtrack is full of a number of these, one of my favorites being “Camino Real de Parapata.” On the other hand, there are a few tracks that are clearly meant to pay homage to the music of the Dora the Explorer cartoons, and these, for me, clash terribly with the rest of the soundtrack. I understand wanting to pay homage, but those musical moments aren’t my favorite compared to the more orchestral segments.
As good as the music sounds (for the most part), this soundtrack didn’t really resonate with me the way others have. As mentioned earlier, I think that’s partially because I don’t have a prior connection to Dora the Explorer to help me connect to the music. I do appreciate the work that went into the orchestral segments. They do a good job of creating a feeling of action, that sense of a chase that helps the music and the film bind more closely together. My conclusion is this soundtrack is good, but not mind-blowing.
Let me know what you think about Dora and the Lost City of Gold (and the soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!
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