[Note: This article contains plot spoilers for the upcoming Dora And The Lost City Of Gold.]
So, we’ve known since basically back around when Benicio Del Toro, of all people, was cast as tiny, mostly mute, theft-prone fox Swiper, that the Dora The Explorer movie, Dora And The Lost City Of Gold, was going to be a pretty “loose” interpretation of the vaunted Dora canon. (Something pretty much confirmed with the movie’s most recent, fart-joke-filled trailer) Still, we find ourselves indebted today to Twitter user @Squidgypigeon, who did god’s work this week by posting a series of excerpts from the upcoming film’s junior novelization, revealing just how weird this thing is apparently going to get in its efforts to make a Dora movie palatable to viewers over the age of 6:
And look, we know: This is the internet, where anything can be faked, especially if it’s injecting surreal concerns like studio apartment living into the mouth of a children’s TV show antagonist. Which is why we are now also the proud owners of an e-copy of the book (penned by Steve Behling, who also wrote the junior novelization of Into The Spider-Verse, which we are now absolutely going to check out)—and yep, it’s all there: The ranting, the multiple references to mating, the violence, the bit where Dora has to go through a high school metal detector—all good, wholesome Dora stuff. (The text’s repeated running joke of insisting that animals can’t talk, and you should stop trying to pretend that they do, though, was presumably invented for the book.)
It’s all very self-aware, which, again, is kind of a weird choice for a franchise aimed at people gifted with almost no self-awareness whatsoever. (Children, we mean, not, like, YouTube influencers.) For instance, there’s a bit where the cast get dosed with hallucinogenic spores, transforming them into their 2D cartoon forms, complete with talking Map and Backpack. (Behling, clearly doing his best, helpfully introduces this part with an all-caps “OKAY. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS WEIRD, PEOPLE.”) Presuming the book is going largely off of the film’s script—and it lines up pretty closely with what we’ve seen in the trailers—this is going to turn out to be one very weird Nickelodeon adaptation when it comes out on August 9.