Netflix’s “Chupa” is a movie that, despite suffering from a few story structure and plot issues, manages to bring a lot of heart, charm and surprisingly, nostalgia.
“Chupa,” as the name suggests, is a story about the mythical chupacabra. However, instead of being a fearsome monster, the chupacabra featured in this story is a cute and cuddly creature, which is certainly an interesting choice.
While the chupacabra is central to the plot, the story mainly follows Alex, played by Evan Whitten, and his journey to embrace his Mexican heritage and rely on his family for support after the death of his father.
The strongest character in the movie by far is Alex’s grandfather Chava, played by Demián Bichir, who guides Alex on his emotional journey. He brings so much warmth and vulnerability to the role as well as strength. The retired wrestler displays both physical and emotional strength in his ability to care about how his grandson is processing the loss of his father. He is the main protector of Chupa and the children throughout the movie. Although he is not perfect, Chava is a great example of a non-toxic male role model.
This movie was created by the same producers behind “Home Alone” and “Night at the Museum,” and the influence from those movies are clear to see. The whole movie screams 80’s family adventure movies in the best possible way, from how the characters are written, to how the jokes are delivered and even with how the villain works for a company whose only concern is making money at any cost.
Unfortunately, the movie’s main drawback is its story structure and plot issues. The biggest example of this is a scene towards the end where, after Alex says goodbye to Chupa, he gets attacked by a mountain lion, and this scene does little for the main plot. When the story gets sidetracked like this, the audience can find themselves off track and confused about where the story went and what is going to happen next.
The story also has a set-up and payoff surrounding Chava’s suplex wrestling move that seemed a little bit out of order, as the move was revealed to the audience soon after the character threatened the main villain with it, and a better set up would have been either to reveal it to the audience before his threat or to wait until he carried it out near the end.
I could imagine that some would be turned off by this film’s plot issues. However, “Chupa” connects its audience with a wholesome warm-hearted family friendly vibe. So if you’re looking for a nostalgic feeling movie with great characters, or just want to have a movie recommendation for younger viewers, I believe that it’s worth your time.