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Tad, the Lost Explorer (Spanish: Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones) is a 2012 Spanish 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film directed by Enrique Gato. The film is a spinoff of Gato's 2004 short film, Tadeo Jones and its sequel Tadeo Jones and the Basement of Doom.[6] It was written by Javier Barreira, Gorka Magallón, Ignacio del Moral, Jordi Gasull and Neil Landau. The film's music was composed by Zacarías M. de la Riva. The English cast features voices of Kerry Shale, Ariel Winter, Bruce Mackinnon, Mac McDonald, Liza Ross, Cheech Marin and Adam James. The film was produced by Telecinco Cinema, El Toro Picture, Lightbox Entertainment, Ikiru Films, Telefónica Producciones, and Media Networks, with the participation of AXN, Canal Plus and TVC.[7]

Tad, the Lost Explorer
Tad, The Lost Explorer poster.jpg
Spanish theatrical release poster
Directed byEnrique Gato
Produced byÁlvaro Augustín
Ghislain Barrois
Nicolás Matji
Ezequiel Nieto
Edmon Roch
César Vargas
Screenplay byJavier Barreira
Gorka Magallón
Ignacio del Moral
Jordi Gasull
Neil Landau
Story byEnrique Gato
Based onTadeo Jones
by Enrique Gato
StarringKerry Shale
Ariel Winter
Bruce Mackinnon
Mac McDonald
Liza Ross
Cheech Marin
Adam James
Music byZacarías M. de la Riva
Edited byAlexander Adams
Distributed byParamount Pictures[1]
Release date
  • 5 June 2012 (2012-06-05) (AIAFF)[2]
  • 31 August 2012 (2012-08-31) (Spain)[3]
Running time
92 minutes
Budget€8 million[4]
Box office€45 million ($60.8 million)[5]

The film premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on 5 June 2012 and was theatrically released on 31 August 2012 in Spain by Paramount Pictures. The film received negative reviews from American critics, but it was well received in Spain and it earned €45 million on a €8 million budget, making it a box-office hit.[8]

It was nominated for 5 Goya Awards, winning 3 for Best Animated Film, Best New Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 27th Goya Awards.[9][10]

A sequel, titled Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas, was released in 2017.[11][12]



Tadeo Jones (Tad Stones in the English version and voiced by Kerry Shale) is a bricklayer who lives in Chicago, working on the construction of the city's subway. Ever since he was five years old, he has dreamed of being a professional archaeologist. After being fired from his job as a bricklayer for daydreaming and for his dog urinating on the construction foreman, Tad visits his friend Professor Humbert (voiced by Mac McDonald), asking for the professor's help in investigating an apparently vintage bottle of Coca-Cola Tad found on the construction site. The professor receives a letter from his friend Professor Lavrof summoning him to Peru to re-unite his half of a stone "key" that will unlock the legendary Incan city of Paititi. Arriving at the airport, Professor Humbert suffers an accident after taking the wrong pills and is taken to the hospital. Meanwhile, a member of the nefarious firm Odysseus Inc. is spying on them and sends the photo to the other members who are in the Sechura Desert.

Tad takes the professor's place and, along with his dog Jeff, travels from Chicago to Cusco, Peru. in the Cusco airport Tad meets Freddy (voiced by Cheech Marin), a local hustler. Tad is kidnapped by men from Odysseus, who threaten him to give them the stone key, but Tad is saved by Freddy and Sara (voiced by Ariel Winter), Professor Lavrof’s daughter. After joining the two halves of the key, the group travels to Machu Picchu to meet up with Lavrof (also voiced by McDonald). Odysseus Inc., led by the evil Kopponen, (also voiced by Kerry Shale) again tries to steal the key, but Sara and Tad escape their clutches.

Arriving in Machu Picchu, they discover that Professor Lavrof was kidnapped by Odysseus. After a series of adventures, they find Lavrov and Max Mordon (voiced by Adam James), a famous archaeologist Tad idolizes and Sara's fiancé. After cracking the code of a wall map. Kopponen searches the desert with Lavrov and Mordon to find the treasure of the Incas. But Tad and Sara have the real map, and they depart for the jungle. Kopponen discovers them and finds the underground temple.

After more adventures, it is revealed that Max is in league with Odysseus. After a booby-trap room that wipes out Kopponen and the rest of his henchmen in Odysseus Inc., Max sneaks into a room in the temple and tries to steal the Incan gold, thinking it will grant him eternal life. After deceiving a mummy and a golem, Max smashes the glass that protects the Indian gold and thus achieves eternal life — but as a mummy and the condition is irreversible. With Max disposed of upon being imprisoned in Paititi's darkest dungeon by the mummy inhabitants, the chief mummy releases Tad, Sara, and the Professor with the promise that they will not reveal what they know about the city. Upon returning to the surface, they convince Freddy that the treasure of the Incas does not exist. Tad confesses his feelings for Sara and kisses her.

The film ends with Tad, Sara, Lavrof, Jeff and escaping in one of the Odysseus vehicles.


Character Spanish voice actor English voice actor
Tadheus "Tad" Stone/Tadeo Jones Óscar Barberán Kerry Shale
Sara Lavrof Michelle Jenner Ariel Winter (US)
Fiona Glascott (UK)
Freddy José Mota Cheech Marin (US)
Lewis MacLeod (UK)
Max Morden Pep Anton Muñoz Adam James
Professor Humbert Carles Canut Mac McDonald
Professor Lavrof Félix Benito
The Mummy Luis Posada Bruce Mackinnon
Kopponen Miguel Ángel Jenner Kerry Shale
Grandma Marta Martorell Liza Ross


Tad, the Lost Explorer was produced by Lightbox Entertainment, Telecinco Cinema, El Toro Pictures, Telefónica Producciones and Ikiru Films, and co-produced by Media Networks. It was distributed by the Spanish subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, in collaboration with AXN, Televisió de Catalunya, Grupo Intereconomía, Mediaset España and Canal +. The film became the first full-length animated feature with these characters, originally introduced in Enrique Gato's short animations.

In 2001, Enrique Gato decided to create a new character, parodying Indiana Jones, to add a touch of humor as well as greater action and dynamism to his work[13] and counter the static character movement of his earlier short film, Bicho.[14] Work on the project did not start until two years later, when he began writing the script for the big screen.[13]

The Tadeo character was created using the 3D computer graphics program Autodesk 3ds Max. The model was initially very simple, created as a facial animation test with 4 basic gestures. The director saw in the character the potential to become a short film protagonist.[14] For the second short film, the Enrique Gato wanted to convey something of the personal life of the character, not present in the first film, showing his neighborhood and his taste for hamburgers.[15]

David García voiced the character in the first short film, in which Tadeo Jones does not speak but utters exclamations and murmurs.[13] The character does speak in the second short film, where he is voiced by Jordi Brau. In the first animated feature film, Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones (Tad, the Lost Explorer), the Spanish voice actors are José Mota, Michelle Jenner and Óscar Barberan as Freddy, Sara and Tadeo respectively. In the version dubbed in Catalan, José Corbacho replaces José Mota.

In April 2008, the filmmakers set up their own animation studio, Lightbox Entertainment, to produce 3D animated films for the global market. They began making Tad, the Lost Explorer from that time, featuring the protagonist, Tad, as a construction worker who devotes his spare time to archeology. Spanish comic book writer and artist Juan López Fernández (known as Jan) made two cartoons to promote the feature film starring Tad,[16] which were used as storyboards.[17] Enrique Gato also tried to take the character into video games, but abandoned the idea when results fell short of expectations.

The elongated nose, big mouth and disproportionate limbs of the Tadeo Jones character are based on Jan's designs. The figure is principally inspired by Indiana Jones, as seen by his hat and his silhouette with its pale shirt and dark pants. But he carries a backpack, giving him a boy-scout air that symbolizes his child-like mentality.

The character was animated using three forms based on the same geometric shape, one fully clothed, one without hat and shirt, and one wearing only boots and underwear. The animation was done in Character Studio, without adapting the volume of the components. The head is separate, the eyes also had their own independent geometry, and there were specific controls for the eyelids. One difficulty was that the filmmakers did not want the character to lose his hat until the end of the short animation, and the hat reduced the expressiveness of the character. For that reason, they first animated Tadeo without the hat, adapting the character afterwards with his hat on.[14] The animation team, comprising David Ordieres and some one hundred other film employees, spent four years developing and animating the characters.[18]


The film premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on 5 June 2012 and was theatrically released on 31 August 2012 in Spain by Paramount Pictures.

The DVD was released in Spain on 19 December 2012 in normal version and Blu-ray, and within days became the best selling Christmas DVD, drying up the issue quickly. Includes audio quality Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish version in addition to blind and language in Catalan. It also concludes a section of extras from the movie with the making of the trailer, video clip, short films and the design and creation of characters.


Tad, the Lost Explorer
Soundtrack album by
Zacarías M. de la Riva
Released12 September 2012
GenreFilm score
LabelMovieScore Media
ProducerJames Peterson
Zacarías M. de la Riva film scores chronology
Childish Games
Tad, the Lost Explorer
La mano de Nefertiti
Singles from Tad, the Lost Explorer
  1. "Te Voy A Esperar"
    Released: 7 August 2012

The soundtrack of the film is composed by Zacarías M. de la Riva. However, the main theme is provided by Juan Magan and Belinda playing "Te Voy A Esperar" The song placed first on the charts in Spain on iTunes and Spotify. On the other hand, the soundtrack of the film also features songs from One Direction and The Monomes, beyond the hit song "The Final Countdown" by Europe. The soundtrack was released by MovieScore Media on 12 September 2012.[19][20]

Video gamesEdit

A video game based on the film, titled Tadeo Jones, was developed by Spanish studio U-Play Studios for the PlayStation Vita. It was released by Deep Silver on 4 December 2013.[21][22] A follow-up game, Tadeo Jones and the Lost Manuscript (Tadeo Jones y el Manuscrito Perdido), was released on 28 November 2014 for PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4.[23]


Critical responseEdit

The film generally received positive reviews mainly from Spanish critics and audiences praising the animation, action scenes, Gato´s direction and cast of characters. Fausto Fernández of the Spanish film magazine Fotogramas gave it three out of five stars. He called Tad, the Lost Explorer the best film in Spanish animation history and praised its visual quality and cast of characters, although he criticized the choice of soundtrack. He added that, as a film deriving from cartoons, it stood up well against bigger-budget titles.[24] Carmen L. Lobo of the newspaper La Razón gave it three out of five, calling it a candid story, furiously-paced and strongly influenced by comics, yet stripped of any malicious double meaning. She described it as full of scenes that seem lifted from a video game, adding that the settings in which these unfold are impressive.[25] Jordi Batlle Caminal of La Vanguardia wrote of the film: "The animation is top notch. The secondary characters are inventively designed (...) A worthy product, with a blockbuster soul".[26] He gave it a score of three out of four.

Box office performanceEdit

Tad, the Lost Explorer was made on a budget of €8 million.[4] It earned €45 million ($60.8 million) worldwide.[5][27] In Spain, where it was released by Paramount Pictures in 500 theaters,[1] the film held the number one spot at the box office for five weeks in a row,[28] and earned a total of €18.0 million ($24,4 million),[29] breaking domestic box office records for a Spanish-animated feature.[5] It became the highest-grossing film of the year in Spain,[6] and outgrossed other animated features, including Ice Age: Continental Drift, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and Brave.[28] In other countries, the film earned over $36 million, topping box office charts in multiple South American territories.[29]


Organization Award category Result
Premios Forqué Best Documentary and Animation Won
Premios CEC Best New Director Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Best Music Nominated
Best Animated Film Won
Goya Awards Best New Director Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Best Original Score Nominated
Best Original Song Nominated
Best Animated Film Won


A sequel, titled Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas, was released in 2017.[11][12] It was co-directed by Enrique Gato and David Alonso,[11] and written by Jordi Gasull, Javier Barreira and Neil Landau.[29] It was distributed worldwide by Paramount Pictures.[11]


  1. ^ a b Zahed, Ramin (3 September 2012). "Spain's 'Tad the Lost Explorer' Finds New Territories". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Annecy 2012 Press Kit". Annecy. p. 10. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  3. ^ Ríos Pérez, Sergio (4 October 2012). "Tadeo Jones tops Spanish box office". Cineuropa. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b Brunet, Pau (14 November 2012). "Ranking Taquilla España: Lo Imposible suma otros 2,17 millones y James Bond 1,8". Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Jones, Benjamin (21 July 2014). "Paramount to Distribute Two Spanish Animation Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b Zahed, Ramin (27 December 2012). "'Tad, the Lost Explorer' Becomes Spain's Top Animated Film". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  7. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (8 October 2013). "Exclusive Clip: 'Tad: The Lost Explorer' Now on Disc". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  8. ^ Zahed, Ramin (27 December 2012). "'Tad, the Lost Explorer' Becomes Spain's Top Animated Film". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Finalistas Mejor película de animación". (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  10. ^ "Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones". (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d Tartaglione, Nancy (21 July 2014). "Paramount Takes Worldwide Distribution On Spain's 'Capture The Flag', 'Tad' Sequel". Deadline. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Tadeo Jones 2". Lightbox Animation Studios. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  13. ^ a b c "The Making of Tadeo Jones" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b c "Enrique Gato Tadeo Jones" (in Spanish). December 2004. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  15. ^ "The Making of Tadeo Jones y El Sótano Maldito" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 27 August 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  16. ^ "20 preguntas con Jan" [20 Questions with Jan] (in Spanish). Dos cafés y una mesa. 30 January 2010. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Puesta de largo de un dibujo animado" [Turning a Cartoon into a Feature Film]. El País (in Spanish). 9 March 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Ordieres: "Todo animador quiere conseguir que los personajes parezcan vivos"" [All animators want to bring the characters to life] (in Spanish). 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Tad The Lost Explorer Soundtrack (2012)". Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Tad The Lost Explorer (2012)". SoundtrackINFO. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  21. ^
  22. ^!/es-es/cid=EP4062-PCSB00458_00-TADEOJONESGAMEUP
  23. ^ Martin, Sergio (18 December 2014). "Tadeo Jones se cuela de nuevo en PS4 y PS Vita" (in Spanish). 3D Juegos. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  24. ^ Fernández, Fausto (21 June 2012). "Las Aventuras de Tadeo Jones 3D - para aventureros del buen cine animado" [Tad, the Lost Explorer - for adventurers in good animated cinema] (in Spanish). Fotogramas. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  25. ^ Lobo, Carmen L. (31 August 2012). "«Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones 3D»: Haciendo el «Indi»" [Tad, the Lost Explorer 3D: Doing an "Indy"] (in Spanish). La Razón (Madrid). Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  26. ^ Batlle, Jordi (31 August 2012). "'Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones' : Con alma de 'blockbuster'" [Tad, the Lost Explorer: A Blockbuster Soul]. La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  27. ^ "New projects from Enrique Gato, director of 'THE ADVENTURES OF TADEO JONES', the highest grossing national animation strip in Spanish cinema" (PDF) (Press release). Mediaset. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  28. ^ a b Amidi, Amid (1 January 2015). "Paramount Makes A Bet on Spanish Feature Animation". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  29. ^ a b c Hopewell, John (21 July 2014). "Paramount Pictures Takes Worldwide Distribution on 'Capture the Flag,' 'Tad' Sequel". Variety. Retrieved 24 July 2014.

External linksEdit