Dora and the Search for a Demographic


Yes. Let's talk about Dora and the Lost City of Gold (the same goal producers have in mind when they greenlit films like this). Having a Dora film now, of this nature, just seems a little bit strange. I'm sure there were only the best intentions in mind, though. You can scream "cash grab", but really, the purpose almost seems noble. This is a high school Dora going on a more daring adventure than usual. This is a film clearly meant for youths that grew up on the show. Chances are they won't watch a kindergartener version of the film. This is more fitting. The demographic has aged, and so has the film's characters and nature.

Does that guarantee success, though? On paper, this seems wise. Is it, though? Maybe this is the in-between stage where now-parents that grew up on the earliest phases of the show can now connect with their children in one room. It may cause a severance, though. Here's an introduction to younger audiences of a film that is nothing like its show. Like, it isn't even close. A show that pauses and waits for its audience to reply to Dora and company's cues... versus a high pace film that develops its own speed.

How a film currently stands cant be affected by the aftermath of where viewers go from there, but I again have to ask who the target demographic is. Is this film meant to usher in a new wave of Nickelodeon films that are drastically different counterparts of their source materials? If so, may I play devils advocate and contradict myself for a split second? At least, in a sense, this is much more refreshing than what Disney is doing with their live action films. This flick is noticeably different. You can safely say that. You never can with Disney.

I won’t lie. I certainly didn’t grow up with the show myself, so maybe I just don’t get it.

I won’t lie. I certainly didn’t grow up with the show myself, so maybe I just don’t get it.

That still doesn't make Dora a reasonable plan. Not that I would expect an educational aspect to a film of this magnitude, but there's definitely a new end game with this film, and it isn't to teach. Oddly enough, the film -- as though Dora has to be academic in some way -- features some location specific accuracy, including the use of the Quechua language. At least there is a focus on scholastic immersion, right?

I'm curious to see how Dora does, mostly because I cannot gauge who this film is for, how people will respond, and if there will be any semblance of longevity. It isn't a clearly monetary decision, because obvious effort has been placed in the production of the film. From the first second, when audiences doubted such a film could exist (especially when the urban legend that Michael Bay was going to produce the film, when he never had any real involvement), Paramount Players and Nickelodeon have tried to insist that this is a serious project. For me, this is incredibly paradoxical. This will either appeal to no one, or win the masses over with its warmth and lack of specificity. I feel like I need the singing map to show me how to get out of this miasma.

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Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.