On April 7 Netflix brought us an entertaining movie called “Chupa,” directed by Jonas Cuaron (son of award-winning Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron) and starring Christian Slater, Evan Whitten, Demian Bichir, Ashley Ciarra and Nickolas Verdugo.
The bilingual film follows Alex (Whitten), a Mexican-American boy from Kansas City who refuses his heritage. But after being forced to spend time with his grandfather, Chava (Bichir), and the rest of his family in San Javier, Mexico, he meets an extraordinary creature, a chupacabras calf (“Chupa” in the movie), who will take him on one of the craziest and most phenomenal adventures ever.
But what exactly is a chupacabra? Translated as “goat-sucker,” it is a legendary, non-existent creature known throughout Latin America for its frightening look and dangerousness.
Even though it is a legend, some people firmly believe in its existence.
It all started in 1995 in Puerto Rico when a woman claimed she saw a creature with a strange appearance pass in front of her house. Subsequently, her cattle, as well as those of other farmers, were found dead all over the area. The dead animals all shared common features: bodies emptied of blood and two holes in the neck area, like a vampire’s bite.
The case went viral, and the panic spread throughout Latin America and the southern United States.
Although National Geographic states the chupacabras could be coyotes with skin diseases, theories that it could be an unknown species or an extraterrestrial being persist.
Since the trailer for the film was released on March 14, it has garnered a lot of attention. We got our first glimpse of Chupa’s adorable new look. The comment section was filled with positive messages, as most of the public, including myself, seemed excited about the movie.
Now, after watching the film, I can only describe it as a charming and touching movie, appropriate for everyone to enjoy. But unfortunately, it still failed in bringing out the potential it really possessed.
“Chupa” is too stereotypical, especially with the lead character: a lonely and friendless little boy who embarks on a journey that ends up changing his life and turning him into a completely different person from who he was at the beginning of the movie.
Does that sound familiar? I’m sure most of us know a movie with this same plot.
Just because a movie follows a common storyline doesn’t mean it’s immediately a bad movie, but “Chupa” lacks development and the story is mediocre. You will easily forget it soon after watching.
The screenwriters also overlooked a specific topic that would have made the story more engaging: the loss of Alex’s cultural identity.
From the beginning of the film, it is evident he doesn’t connect with his Mexican roots, showing little or no interest, but he also doesn’t fully fit into American culture. If the film had emphasized this topic even more, then this movie and its characters would have stood out, and the plot would have been even more compelling.
Another detail is that with the film being called “Chupa,” one would expect the movie to focus mainly on the chupacabra, but it doesn’t make that much of an appearance compared to what was promised in the trailer.
There are even moments when you forget the movie is about this being. This may be disappointing, especially for those who watched the film with the mere intention of seeing a new version of the chupacabra.
But there are still positive details of the film that deserve to be mentioned.
The special effects and the audiovisual techniques used to create the character of Chupa are exceptional. The characters are entertaining and have good chemistry between them, and it is constantly noticeable throughout the film. And finally, the setting in most scenes is very good and accurate to reality.
“Chupa” is a children’s movie to enjoy with family or friends. It is a perfect choice if you want to relax. But the movie didn’t meet its potential to delve into certain themes that are worth mentioning both for children and adults.