La Leyenda del Chupacabras
2016, PG, 81 min. Directed by Alberto Rodriguez. Voices by Benny Mendoza, Mayté Cordero, Emilio Treviño, Eduardo España, Laura González.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 21, 2016
The fourth in a series of animated Leyenda films from Mexico’s Anima Estudios, La Leyenda del Chupacabras aims at young and adult viewers alike. However, I suspect most children will find many frightening moments in this dark (both dramatically and visually) tale, which threatens characters with death and creates scary images of beady-eyed chupacabras and other dangers. Plus, non-Spanish-speaking kids will have to be able to read subtitles in order to follow along. Or maybe not, since coherence isn’t one of this movie’s best attributes.
The movie opens abruptly, almost causing the viewer to think that it’s leading off with the wrong reel. The movie tracks the adventure of young Leo San Juan (Mendoza), who awakes among some Mexican rebels who are opposed to the Spanish Royal Army. Soon imprisoned by the Spaniards who plan to execute them, Leo and the rebels discover that they could also be annihilated by the legendary chupacabras. Meanwhile, two alebrijes (clown-colored fantastical creatures seen in previous Leyenda films) gab, and a couple of magical flying girls interact with Leo. One of them babbles about Facebook and shopping malls, making the time frame of the movie more confusing than ever. Nevertheless, the animation is handsome, and shows some nice creative flourishes.