That Wolf Movie

Well, okay, it’s actually Alpha & Omega, which is probably not the first thought you had reading “that wolf movie”.

Alpha & Omega advertises the presence as wolves as their main characters, although I must admit I’m not sure why—or for that matter, that the claim is even justified.

It is a perfectly decent kids’ movie. The plot is trite and so cliché that they didn’t actually bother to build the story. They offered the characters and you knew the end, and got some random stuff in between meant to be funny. With interesting names. Kate, the alpha, is the daughter of alpha parents Winston and Eve. Her childhood friend, Humphrey, is an omega. And her father arranged her marriage to the son of the “east” wolf pack, Garth, son of Tony. And Kate’s sister’s name is Lilly. Anyway, Humphrey, though crushing on Kate, can obviously have nothing to do with her. Until they are captured by poaching park rangers and sent to Idaho and have to find their way home before the wall. While Idaho ultimately had little importance other than to be the “there”, the story is bland, mildly entertaining, and mostly forgettable.

Other than the awful, awful “howling”. The story seems to posit that two wolves of equal status (alpha=alpha, omega=omega) will howl together to prove compatibility and to find partners. Indeed, the sequence serves little more than as a straightforward euphemism for sex. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of the lines. Poor Garth did get a cute moment when he howled so badly the birds kept dropping out of the sky (and why were blue jays flying at night anyway?). But Kate and Humphrey howled like pop stars and it’s supposed to be true love.

We did get real howling at the end now when Kate pulls a fake-out after being hit by the stampeding robot caribou clones. The warring packs stop to mourn for her (because it’s the obligatory “we thought you were dead!” scene) and ultimately reminded me of nothing so much as the magical healing tears of Pokemon: the First Movie.

Wolves can read by the way. And apparently have adopted human land designations. When Humphrey and Kate are relocated, they know they should be in Jasper National Park, and they can read the forestry sign in Idaho.Not to mention the billboard “Welcome to Canada”. And their friendly French-Canadian goose (with his yellow-duck valet/caddy) knows that Idaho is the land of potatoes. This fortunately means that the two wolves know perfectly well what “repopulating” means, and don’t let the idea disturb them in the slightest.  These wolves use human terms and human ideas and I just questioned why not just use people of towns with warring sports teams?

 

This is a shot of Lake Edith in Jasper Nationa...

Jasper National Park—it's a real place!

 

I did like that the movie makers used 3D effects, and not just in random scenes utterly dull in the 2D theater.  While they may have been a little longer than necessary, they were overall well-integrated, and actually made me want to see the movie in 3D.

Kate isn’t ever repulsed by Humphrey. They are friends when young, she gets winter alpha-training and still thinks of him in friendly terms. Then they end up together in Idaho and she thinks he’s aggravating but funny. Then they are on the train back to Jasper (like the vampire in Twilight, not quite the friendly ghost) and she still thinks his immature but funny and an omega and therefore not an option. But during her “wedding” to Garth (that term bugged me) she’s the one who finally pulls back and says, oh by the way, I’m in love with an omega. While the other wolves start to get to war, Garth gives a fist pump because he’s fallen for Lilly.

Garth and Lilly were the real couple here, and had a far more interesting relationship and story. She hears his howl and teaches him how to sing, he helps her learn to hunt. They talk and joke and have fun with each other. Both are actually cute. Kate does not know this though, even though her sister drops anvils anytime Kate mentions the wedding.

But the truly awesome character? Eve. Mother of Kate and Lilly and alpha female of the protagonists’ pack. Eve,  sweet-as-southern-style-tea “I will personally rip out your eyes and shove them down your throat so you can see my claws tear your carcass open!”

 

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