Reviewed by: Laura Busch
|Featuring||voices of Justin Long (Humphrey), Hayden Panettiere (Kate), Christina Ricci (Lilly), Dennis Hopper (Tony), Danny Glover (Winston), Christine Lakin (Reba), Chris Carmack (Garth), Vicki Lewis (Eve), Kevin Sussman, Bitsie Tulloch (Sweets), Brian Donovan (Salty), Mela Lee (Candy), Eric Price (Paddy)|
|Director||Anthony Bell, Ben Gluck|
|Producer||Crest Animation Productions, Lions Gate Family Entertainment, See all »|
|Distributor||Lions Gate Films|
“A pawsome 3D adventure”
Kate (Hayden Panettiere) and Humphrey (Justin Long) couldn’t be more different. Kate is the daughter of a pack leader and an alpha wolf, who is being groomed to marry a fellow pack leader’s son, Garth, in order to unite the two packs for their mutual benefit. Humphrey is a more carefree omega wolf, whose social standing forbids him to marry his true love, Kate.
When Kate and Humphrey find themselves thrown together on a wildlife reserve, after being captured by park rangers, they must work together to get back home. During this unlikely pair’s action-filled adventure, they fall in love and learn that love is more powerful than social order. These two wolves from different sides of the pack discover that, despite their different social statuses, they can make their relationship work.
The agreeable way that Kate and Humphrey work together while trying to make their way back home is one of the most positive aspects of this film. Kate and Humphrey’s friendship and eventual romance grows and strengthens, as they face many challenges on their journey. They always have each other’s backs and save each other’s lives on several occasions.
Humphrey’s positive and encouraging attitude is another positive aspect of the film. This encouraging attitude can be seen when he tries to cheer Kate up after her first hunt as an alpha wolf goes badly.
Kate’s loyalty and sense of duty and responsibility to her family and the pack is another positive element. Despite Kate’s reservations about marrying Garth, she wants to honor her parent’s wishes, and do what she believes to be the best for the two packs.
While on their journey, Kate and Humphrey also become friends with a golfing goose and his caddy, a friendly duck. These amiable characters are very cute and become loyal friends, as they try to help Kate and Humphrey get back home.
From a cinematic standpoint, I have mixed feelings about “Alpha and Omega.” The animation is excellent, and the characters are very cute. Children will enjoy watching the adorable animals, and there is plenty of comedic cartoon action to keep young children’s attention. The children in my theater seemed to be most entertained by the comedic action. I thought many of the jokes in the film under-delivered. I screened “Alpha and Omega” in 3-D, and, in my opinion, the 3-D elements did not add anything to the film’s aesthetic.
Even though “Alpha and Omega” has several positive lessons, the veiled references to mating/sex that are made throughout the film cannot be ignored. These sexual references take the form of euphemisms such as, “howling together,” and there is also mention of “repopulating.” In one scene, Garth shows Kate how he can howl at the moon and asks her “if it was good for her.” While most of these euphemisms will probably go over most children’s heads, they are still cause for concern and only detract from the film.
Other elements that may be of concern to viewers include some harsh language. While there is no actual cussing, words like “stupid,” “barf”, and talk of “ripping other wolves’ tails off,” and “ripping other wolves’ eyes out” are made, and several “butt” jokes make their way into the dialogue.
Very young children may be frightened by some of the animated fights and angry teeth-baring growls exchanged by the wolves.
“Alpha and Omega” is not going to become a classic, but the adorable characters and comedic action is certainly something that children will enjoy. Even though there are positive lessons in this film, and it is one the cleaner, family-friendly choices in theaters amongst the many R-rated films, I would still urge parents to consider the sexual references in this film before buying their family tickets.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate—for a children’s film
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.