The formula for Alpha and Omega, the newest brainchild of Lions Gate Productions is honestly as old as time. Said formula ends up recycled time and again, usually looking something like this: Boy loves girl. Girl also hearts boys a fair amount. Yet, all the butterflies in the world can’t compensate for the fact that said boy was born on the wrong side of town. It all comes down to bloodlines and bank accounts.
Though simplified in Alpha and Omega, it shares this concept with Rebel Without a Cause, Romeo and Juliet and limitless other brilliant films which combine the complexities of love and social status. When done properly, this flawless approach allows a supportive soapbox to present the struggles of the working class population, teenagers filled with angst and many other road blocks of love. However, when approached in 3D cartoon animation this same concept seems to sputter short of it’s desired plan and seems wasted on snagging simple, cheap laughs from kids more interested in the free wolf ears handed out at the door.
Honestly, the only significant aspect of this movie worth mentioning is the manner in which it successfully wastes the talents of such a strong collection of actors. While I understand the demographic that this movie is aimed towards, there is no excuse for ripping kids off with refurbished versions of far superior, previously released movies. With the caribou chase scene straight out of The Lion King and bobsled adventures borrowed from Cool Runnings, parents could simply give their kid the same level of entertainment with $2.99 in rental fees from Blockbuster.
However, this is not to say that the movie is all bad. A few redeeming characters pop up throughout the film. Patty and Mooch, a duo of golf playing fowl, deliver a handful of quality chuckles throughout the film’s final two-thirds. Additionally, the back story which warmed the heart most was the dialectic of the human couple, biker and librarian, who provided transportation for the wolves and had no lines at all. However, with about 30 minutes of total screen time, the only original dialogue came from these minor characters. But even so, much of this content is unmemorable and will not be quoted endlessly by sugar-buzzed kids returning home from the theater. Nothing in this film really sticks.
As for the main characters, Alpha wolf Humphrey’s (Justing Long) crush on Omega wolf Kate (Hayden Panettiere) proves pointless thanks to the law of the land. Simply put, Alphas and Omegas can not “howl” together. Furthermore, due to a lack of caribou in the neighboring wolf community, a pact has been made by pack leaders Winston (Danny Glover) and Tony (Dennis Hopper) to unify the packs. They’ll do so through an arranged union of Kate, Winston’s daughter and Garth (Chris Carmack) who happens to be Tony’s son. Conflict comes when Kate and Garth attempt their first date and learn Garth is all looks and no howl. Taking a moment to recollect herself from such a great disappointment, she walks in the woods, stumbling into Humphrey. The two are captured and relocated to repopulate a forest in Idaho. However, knowing of the pact and the danger of it falling through, Kate is simply determined to get home. Somewhere along the way, Kate realizes she loves Humphrey regardless of tradition or law. Meanwhile, Garth also manages to fall in love with Kate’s (goth) sister, Lilly. Jumbled with minor subplots and unimportant story lines, the script simply falls flat, failing to even become interesting until roughly 25 minutes into the film. I guess in theory the wonders of a 3rd dimension were suppose to distract the audience from the lack of meaningful entertainment, but it too falls short of impressing. My advice? If you HAVE to take your kids to such a disappointing flick, don’t bother springing for the 3D. It’s not worth the extra cash. Or, simply wait for the DVD. At best, this film is a rental.
I give Alpha and Omega 1 “3D glasses” out of 5
by Joshua Hammond