Why Michael Bay’s ‘Dora the Explorer’ Movie Will Be a Fantastic Work of Art

Matthew Loffhagen
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(Photo: Nickelodeon)

Panic stations, people. Michael Bay is taking another beloved children’s cartoon, and intends to turn it into a big budget movie.

Who’s the unlucky victim this time? None other than Dora the Explorer.

If you’re vaguely familiar with Bay’s work, you’re probably just shuddering to think about this.

You’re imagine a gritty, grimy, oddly greasy world, in which Megan Fox or one of her many lookalikes, dressed in the skimpiest Dora cosplay imaginable, leaps and jumps and bends and stretches her way through a series of jungle obstacles, while trees blow up around her, a CGI purple monkey tries to hump her leg, and some of the most egregious racial stereotypes imaginable all compete to see who can be the most obnoxious.

This really does sound like the a parody; as if someone decided to make a big joke about how terrible Michael Bay’s movies are, by giving him the least appropriate property to work with.

Dora The Explorer will surely be the next Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, once Michael Bay has gutted everything that ever made the show sweet and cute, and has finished turning it into a disturbing, creepy, explosive mess.

Let’s not be too hasty, though. Sure, there’s not much in Michael Bay’s portfolio of films that suggests he deserves the benefit of the doubt, but perhaps we should give it to him anyway.

Dora the Explorer could be the best film that Michael Bay ever makes.

Megan Fox in Transformers
Source: Paramount

Sure, it sounds bad – after all, the initial pitch describes Dora as a teenager rather than a little girl, meaning that Bay will have ample opportunity to make the whole endeavor weirdly sexual in his trademark icky style.

The thing is, though, this movie won’t be made for the same audience that most of Bay’s films are aimed at.

The Transformers and Ninja Turtles movies, and, to a lesser extent, action flicks like Bad Boys II, Pearl Harbor, and even Bay’s more recent military bonanzas have all been aimed at teenage boys, selling re-packaged childhood nostalgia alongside things that go boom.

Now, here’s Dora, a movie which instead will likely try to do the same thing for a brand that’s traditionally more aimed at little girls. The original Dora the Explorer audience has now all but fully grown up, meaning that there’s an opportunity for a film that appeals to the interests of young adult women.

This is a demographic that Hollywood seems strangely hesitant to engage with for the most part, but when we do get reimaginings of little girl brands, such as My Little Pony, there’s a potential for a much wider audience to fall in love with the iconic franchise.

Michael Bay
Source: Michael Bay

Can you imagine Michael Bay trying something that isn’t aimed directly at teenage boys? After all, for all his faults, the guy is actually a talented filmmaker. He’s capable of communicating a lot in his framing and storytelling when he actually wants to try.

Besides, he won’t be directing this movie. Sure, he didn’t direct Ninja Turtles and that still turned out terrible, but this is a very different property, and the rules don’t apply. This can’t just be another Transformers, and the film will need a very different approach.

So for the first time in a long time, we might see something fresh and original from Michael Bay, as he embraces a very different kind of story, for a different demographic.

No matter how this turns out, it can’t be worse than yet another Transformers movie, right?