Movies predominantly made for children can be tricky to review for a guy in his mid-twenties. Not because the child in him is dead but because he is probably no longer as innocent at heart.
However, with my three nephews, my mind is consistently diving into the kiddish realms. And that’s why I thought I could go for Chupa, a new Children & Family feature now streaming on Netflix.
It is an American film that aims to be feel-good and heartfelt. Around one and a half hours long, Chupa can be your go-to family watch for the weekend.
But is it worth it? Here is my review to help.
What is the Story of Chupa?
Alex visits his grandfather where he, along with his three cousins, must reunite a mythical creature with its family before the administration gets to it.
Directed by Jonas Cuaron, Chupa stars Demian Bichir (Chava), Evan Whitten (Alex), Christian Slater (Quinn), Ashley Ciarra (Luna), and Nickolas Verdugo (Memo), among others.
What Works for Chupa?
The film is heartfelt and serene. There are no extraneous influences over its plot. Chupa revolves around a quiet child trying to hide his inner grief.
And such a premise emotionally connects you with the story, especially when it is made for children.
The occasional serenity in Chupa brings warmth to the screen. It doesn’t lose the core idea of staying simple and honest to the storyline.
Many might not give the film a chance to complete but again, you have a lot of toxicity going around these days, which is harmful to kids.
Having something like Chupa can just help them divert their attention to something more meaningful than digital influences.
Moreover, the movie has a decent dose of emotions, though not entirely on the positive side. The makers could have done more on that front.
Since it relies on VFX, I must admit the outcome is clean and crisp. In no frame can you differentiate the creature from the accompanying human being.
How are the Performances?
They are all on the bright side. Most of the work is done by the central character of Alex, played by Evan Whitten. The kid has a highly affable demeanor, to begin with.
He aces the dialogues using the most suitable vocal pitch. Evan stays to the character and restricts himself whenever needed.
I won’t talk much about his expressions because they don’t matter a lot in such roles. However, Whitten does have the uncanny ability to use to surroundings.
Demian Bichir is raw and rough. He adds the protective shield to Chupa, considering children at its core.
All the other actors have done a great job in the limited screen time they got.
What Doesn’t Work for Chupa?
Its biggest disadvantage is the redundant concept. Be it Pete’s Dragon, Troll, or any other adventure film, eventually, things come down to saving a creature.
The idea is getting too old to sustain. Even children have started noticing the predictability factor.
Furthermore, Chupa lacks stimulations. More emphasis on emotions was needed to entice the viewer. Kids want at least one of the two things in a film, either evocative drama or fascinating visuals.
Chupa doesn’t rely on the latter. So, it needed to ace the former to the spirit, which doesn’t happen. Yes, there are moments, but they are not enough.
Also, though the pace is fine for the general audience, kids might find it slow, owing to the slightly dull screenplay.
Lastly, Chupa lacks excitement. At no point do you feel like freezing in awe, which is usually the case with adventurous films.
Should you Stream or Skip Chupa?
The movie is watchable. However, it might not be able to pique your curiosity.