ALPHA AND OMEGA, 2010
Two young wolves at opposite ends of their pack's social order are thrown together into a foreign land and need each other to return home, but love complicates everything. A 3D adventure film.
Release Date: 17 September 2010
Animals like to mate. There's a lot of screwing going on in the woods and I do not mean the betrayal, back-stabbing way that us humans regularly screw in our world. So when you make an animation kids movie about wolves in a forest and how they need to mate in order to keep the species going, you're going to run into a writing conflict. How are you going to talk about mating and the wolf connection without actually ever talking about sex?
So in the case of ALPHA AND OMEGA, they replaced mating with howling. When two wolves "howl" together that means they have done the dirty dead. And if you're a type-A fighting personality in an alpha, after you "howl" you will go into a deep sleep and it's impossible to wake them up. So true in the human world!
ALPHA AND OMEGA is a paint by numbers animation film that was showcased in 3D, but there really wasn't a point in it at all. As soon as the first 10 minutes roll by, you know exactly what's going to happen.
The story is that ALPHA's can't mate with OMEGA's in the wolf world. Alpha's are the fighters and the one's who get the food for the group. Omega's are the funny peacemakers who really seem to have no other point but to play with each other. So when it comes to "howling", wouldn't two alpha's "howling" be a bad situation? What alpha gets to "howl" first? What alpha is on top? What happens when one alpha has peaked from "howling" and doesn't want to continue eventhough the other alpha isn't finished yet? This whole alpha on alpha thing just doesn't seem to make any logical sense!
The funniest part of ALPHA AND OMEGA was when the two alpha's, Kate and Garth, hook up in an arranged "howling" by the parents. If they "howl" together it will help band the two wolf communities together into one. Unfortunately Garth is pretty bad at "howling" and Kate runs off because she can't take the bad "howling" anymore. I'm sure many women taking their kids to this movie understood where Kate was coming from. Very funny laugh out loud scene that unfortunately is right over all the kids heads.
As I sat in the theater during an early morning show with a group of mothers and their kids, I noticed that there wasn't much excitement coming from the crowd. It was dead silence actually. Usually in a good animation film you'll hear a lot of laughter and a lot of murmur from kids talking out loud because they just can't help themselves. And in a bad animation film you'll see kids motioning in and out of their chairs from boredom and/or confusion to what's happening. In ALPHA and OMEGA you had it right down the middle. The kids weren't bored at all because the story was familiar and the animation and voice over performances were solid. But there was nothing new happening and they've probably have seen the same story as this on one of their animation TV shows.
The only unique element in the film is the role reversal. In the opposites attract romance, it's the female who is the type-a fighting alpha, and it's the male who is the joking, slacker omega who needs to be saved all the time. He's the one who's always in trouble and plays the damsel in distress as done by women in 99.9% of other films. This type of story is good for kids to watch, so it's why I can't totally dismiss it.
Unfortunately all animation movies that come out of Hollywood will be compared to all of the films past. And the storytelling and universal thematics in movies like Toy Story, Ratatouille and WALL-E are so fantastic you always get disappointed when you see films like this.
And that's not completely fair because comparing those classics with Alpha and Omega is like comparing The Godfather with The Town (came out same weekend as Alpha and Omega). The Town isn't a bad film at all, but if you compare it to The Godfather it's a sticker. But because animation features are still in it's infant stage, you can't help but compare and contrast.
So this is not a bad film at all as they executed the story that was created. It takes about 2 years of solid and continuous writing to write a solid animation feature, and then another full year making it. And many studios don't have the time and money to do something like that. So they work at a movie like this for one year instead of three and this is what you get.