by Tanner Kinney
Around five years ago, when I was a fresh teenager, I frequently watched College Humor videos. I was a big fan and enjoyed a lot of their content even though I probably shouldn’t have been watching it. One video I remember is their mock trailer for a gritty Dora the Explorer movie. It was funny and relevant because it was a parody of how many shows were getting unnecessary dark reboots or remakes. College Humor took it to the extreme, doing it for a beloved children’s show. It was ridiculous and entirely accurate. Honestly, what studio would be dumb enough to do a dark, edgy, live-action Dora the Explorer film?
The answer to that question is apparently Paramount because it has been confirmed that we are being blessed with a live-action Dora the Explorer movie produced by Michael Bay. The Transformers director. If there wasn’t enough proof that we are indeed in the dumbest timeline, here’s some more trash on the landfill. Congratulations, Hollywood! You’ve green-lit an idea so dumb there was a literal parody of your bad decisions.
This film will probably be more in line with Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, considering it’ll more than likely be a Paramount/Nickelodeon joint picture. The writer, Nick Stroller, wrote the Captain Underpants movie which wasn’t bad so there’s a good chance it won’t be be completely edgy and littered with sexual innuendo. It might even be good. What’ll really decide the quality of the film is casting. As there’s no cast announced at the time of writing, I’ve consulted a team of experts to concoct the perfect casting destined to give this film a stunning 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. If any of these are correct, I demand payment from Bay himself.
Selena Gomez as Dora the Explorer
When casting a hack Hollywood film, acting does not matter. What matters is marketability. Dora, being a teenager in this film, has to look young but child actors have no name recognition and, therefore, no money. So, who’s popular, young, and vaguely Hispanic? Selena Gomez, star of Wizards of Waverly Place and the truly awful Getaway. In my opinion, she has very little talent but has the small chance of putting in a passable performance. Plus, kids love her shows and music so they’ll be more inclined to see her in the film. Second option would be Megan Fox, but she might be a little too old and sexual for the role. Not that it would stop Michael Bay.
Rico Rodriguez as Diego
Every Michael Bay film has a wacky, fat sidekick. Now, one would assume that Diego would be fit because he’s an animal rescuer and that’s a correct preconception but there’s one problem: that’s too normal for Hollywood. So imagine: what if Diego let himself go while living in the city? Enter Rico Rodriguez. He fills the role of the fat sidekick that can be used for the inevitable slapstick! I can imagine it now: Diego heroically tries to swing on a vine, but the vine breaks under his weight and he falls down. I can already hear the children screeching in the theater as their parents debate just leaving them there forever. Plus, Rodriguez is a main character in Modern Family, one of the most popular sitcoms of the past decade. He doesn’t have a lot of Hollywood movie clout behind him but he is still pretty marketable. He might also be funny in the role, but that could be dangerously close to being too good for this film.
T.J. Miller as Boots
Boots is the dumb comic relief in the TV show. He makes mistakes all the time, and loves wacky antics. Assuming Boots is a CGI character (which he probably will be), he’ll need a voice actor that can convey the wackiness of Boots. We also need someone willing to sell out hard enough to be a cartoon monkey in Michael Bay’s Dora the Explorer. The obvious choice is T.J. Miller. The guy is genuinely funny, and has a decent history of voice acting. Plus, he’s been in enough films to be a recognizable name, especially after his role as Weasel in Deadpool. He also played Gene in The Emoji Movie which shows there’s no depths he won’t sink to for a paycheck. A second option is Shia LaBeouf, assuming he’s still alive.. You could call him Shia LaBoots and he could be the companion to the Megan Fox Dora. If, by some miracle, Boots isn’t a CGI character, Charlie Day could play a good, high energy Boots.
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as Map and Backpack
Map and Backpack are a duo and need to have two people who have good chemistry together and are an incredibly marketable duo. There’s no other option besides Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart who are both incredibly popular right now. I can think of three or four movies in the past year that have had the two together. Assuming the two are CGI characters, the physical contrast isn’t there but I could still see it working. By working I of course mean making money. This is assuming they don’t just make Map a phone app or something which is incredibly likely and means more product placement for the executives to shove in.
Michael Keaton as Swiper
Swiper is a hard one to cast. Michael Bay films typically cast an old guy to be a man in a suit or a giant robot to be the antagonist. Since this isn’t really Swiper, I could see them doing an old, jaded depiction who’s claimed to have renounced his evil ways. In reality, he comes up with a scheme to swipe the stuff of everyone in the city at once using some kind of space laser. So, who hasn’t Michael Bay already used as a villain in his films while also being in an upswing in popularity? Michael Keaton, who was the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming and has a major role in 2019’s live-action Dumbo remake. He’s a big name again and already played a great villain so he could easily be front poster material. Second option is Hugo Weaving, the voice of Megatron from Transformers but if he takes another Michael Bay role I feel he’s truly given up.
John Cena as Benny the Bull
The side characters have to be marketable, whether they are actors or not. Who could be Benny, the brutish but sweet blue bull? John Cena, of course! The man is made of pure charisma and is willing to stoop to any low and be any character if the money is good. He will put his heart into it at the very least. Another choice is Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan, who would be good for a more comedy-oriented Benny, but he’s much less of a household name than Cena.
Ariana Grande as Izzy the Iguana
A true Michael Bay film has a celebrity that is given not just a cameo but a significant role. Generally, this is a pop singer like Rihanna in Battleship (which wasn’t actually a Michael Bay film but had the heart of one). Ariana Grande has already worked with Nickelodeon, so she can fit the bill for non-actor pop star. Acting quality? Not important, we need kids to buy tickets!
Gabriel Iglesias/Sofia Vergara as Tico the Squirrel
I originally had Sofia Vergara as Tico but then remember that Tico is a he and not a she. I’m sure that doesn’t actually matter to Hollywood so Vergara could still be a convincing Tico and, more importantly, a very marketable name. If we want to stay true to the source material, bring back Gabriel Iglesias to be Tico. Is he still relevant? Probably not but he is cheap and a recognized name. I guess you could have George Lopez as well but he hasn’t been relevant since Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3.
This should be all the major characters; other characters are irrelevant and can be extras who couldn’t get into the actual movies.
Note: these casting decisions are not real, and should never be real. This movie should also not be real but it is so we’re just going with it. Also, judging by the word count, I probably put more thought into this than Hollywood did. So go out and see Dora the Explorer in theaters 2019, probably in January because that’s when studios dump their garbage which this film inevitably will be.
Graphics: Clayton Mercer
Tanner is a Film and Media Studies major and a Digital Media minor. His Neo Yokio review won a second-place CSPA Golden Circle award for the 2017 semester. He enjoys playing JRPG’s of any variety, regardless of how obscure and strange it is. Tanner is also the host of Byte at the Movies, the premiere movie discussion live-stream.