A film reviewer at respected industry publication The Hollywood Reporter has come under fire for a "creepy" review of the upcoming children's movie Dora and the Lost City of Gold.
The first big-screen adaptation of the popular Dora the Explorer cartoon TV series has 18-year-old actress Isabela Moner playing the young titular heroine. Aimed squarely at children, though, the film is very much G-rated in nature — something that seemed to bother The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, reports news.com.au.
"There's a palpable gap you can't help but notice between the essentially innocent, borderline-pubescent nature of the leading characters and the film itself and the more confident and mature vibes emanating from the leading actors," McCarthy writes.
"The director seems to be trying to keep the hormones at bay, but there are some things you just can't disguise, perhaps human nature first and foremost. Dora seems committed to projecting a pre-sexualised version of youth, while throbbing unacknowledged beneath the surface is something a bit more real, its presence rigorously ignored."
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This criticism poses a few questions: Did McCarthy want the characters to be more sexualised? Isn't "a pre-sexualised version of youth" entirely appropriate in a film aimed at primary school-aged children?
Reactions to the review have been predictably heated (you might say Twitter is "throbbing" with anger):
We've been here before: In June last year, The New Yorker published a largely positive 2000-plus-word review of the PG-rated family film The Incredibles 2 by its veteran movie critic Anthony Lane. The review caused an instant stir online due to the critic's palpable thirstiness throughout. A sample:
"Take your seat at any early-evening screening of Incredibles 2 in the coming days, listen carefully, and you may just hear a shifty sound, as of parents squirming awkwardly beside their enraptured offspring. And why, kids? Because Mommy just leaned over to Daddy and whispered, "Is it just me, or does Mrs. Incredible kind of look like Anastasia in Fifty Shades of Grey? You know, the girl in the Red Room, with the whips and all?" And Daddy just rested his cooling soda firmly in his lap and, like Mr. Incredible, tried very hard to think of algebra. As for how Daddy will react later on, during the scene in which Helen and the husky-voiced Evelyn unwind and simply talk, woman to woman, I hate to think, but watch out for flying popcorn."