Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alpha and Omega

Directed by Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck.
2010. Rated PG, 88 minutes.
Justin Long
Hayden Panettiere
Dennis Hopper
Danny Glover
Christina Ricci
Larry Miller
Kevin Sussman
Chris Carmack
Brian Donovan

Humphrey (Long), a young fun-loving wolf, has a thing for his friend Kate (Panettiere). The problem is its forbidden for the two of them to get together. She is an Alpha, which implies some nobility, while he is an Omega. Even though they’re both part of the Western pack, I think, the two aren’t supposed to mix. The Eastern pack are apparently a more vicious sort and have depleted the source of food in their own region. Of course, this means they’re coming around the Western pack and horning in on all the hunts. Eventually, it’s revealed that it it is Kate’s responsibility to marry Garth (Carmack) of the Eastern pack. This will unite the packs, ending all the fighting and animosity. Of course, before this can happen Kate and Humphrey are captured by humans and dragged off to Idaho. Now, they have to make it back to Jasper National Park to keep the rest of the wolves from killing each other.

I’ve given you, roughly, the first third of the movie. If you can’t figure out the rest, there’s no hope for you. This is standard kiddie-fare from jump with various excursions into being substandard. Narratively, this is a lazy rehash that offers nothing new. Well, maybe the degree of laziness is new. Too many questions go unanswered. I’m not just talking questions folks like me would ask, either. I’m talking simple stuff that my kids would ask. How just a couple of wolves are Omegas? How did they get to be Omegas? Maybe, I just missed those. Maybe, by that time I didn’t care enough to pay attention. If these things were explained, I apologize. As far as the rest of the script goes, it’s…um…meh, at best. Every now and again, something mildly amusing happens. Mostly it’s just there, taking up space I could’ve used to watch a better movie.

Visually, Alpha and Omega doesn’t daze and amaze, either. By today’s standards, the animation is barely adequate, at least in 2D. It was released in theaters as a 3D experience I’m glad to have missed. It’s look isn’t distinctive, nor does it do anything noteworthy within its confines. This is hardly what I would call dazzling to the eye. Much like the story, it mundanely goes about the task of telling us a tale we’ve already heard quite a few times.

A&O is what I call a babysitter movie. It’s one you can put on to mind the kid for an hour and a half while you tend to more important matters like watching grass grow. They’ll likely enjoy it, well enough, not love it. If you’re forced to watch by an unending barrage of pleas you may think your children hate you when it’s over. Why else would they make you suffer through this?

MY SCORE: 3.5/10

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