animated movie Alpha and Omega © Lions Gate Films / Crest Animation Productions

Reviews for Alpha and Omega

1.83 stars / 9 ratings
Serra20's avatar
Fledgling Reviewer
Reviews: 8

Serra20's Review

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posted: Apr 25, 2016
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This movie had potential, but failed. I wouldn't call it a truly bad movie, but it's just...There. Nothing about it that could really stick out, it's easily forgettable.
The animation is decent, however the character models and anatomy looked really off and weird, disturbing at times.
Backgrounds are one of the redeeming qualities, being pretty nice to look at and feeling alive.
The movie's interpretation of the wolves' howl was pretty interesting, and I enjoyed it.
Plotline wasn't very interesting, it kept being too distracted by continuing out-of-place humor that I couldn't get invested in it properly. However, I must admit that Humphrey's feelings were pretty relatable, and I liked his character. The contrast between him and Kate was pretty nice too.
This one felt like a basic popcorn movie that leaves no lasting impressions. While it is not a complete failure, unlike all of its sequels, it really can be ignored.

wildanimals's avatar
Animated Enthusiast
Reviews: 47

wildanimals' Review

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posted: Jun 03, 2015
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Alpha and Omega was released at a time when wolves were becoming quite taboo in the elite world of DeviantArt, due in part to their overuse in comics and some of the crazier aspects of their fanbase - a.k.a 'wolfaboos.' As you can imagine, its reception was not particularly warm, which is a shame really, because it's not everyday you get a feature film which features wolves as the protagonists. While DeviantArt has no shortage of comics, stories and cartoons with wolves as the good guys, in the wider world of Western animation, their role is usually limited to that of trying (and failing) to eat the main characters. Would 'Alpha and Omega' become a real game-changer in the world of animation?

The answer, of course, is a big fat no. But it's not as horrendous as some might have you believe.

Humphrey and Kate are two wolves who come from opposite ends of the social order. Kate is the daughter of the Alpha pair, and is expected to follow all her duties as future leader of the pack. Humphrey, on the other hand, is a low ranking Omega wolf whose life revolves around goofing off and acting as expendible cannon fodder in ugly situations. When their pack comes into conflict with a rival pack, Kate is engaged to the rival alpha's son in order to unite them. However, she and Humphrey are captured for a relocation program in Idaho, and have to work together in order to find their way home. Romance, grizzly bears and near brushes with death ensue, and it's pretty clear how this whole thing is going to end.

Alpha and Omega is as predictable as you can imagine, but it's a fun ride nonetheless. The animation on most of the characters is average to sub-par, and the anatomy (especially on the female wolves) can become so awkward that its detracts from the whole scene. However, Kate and Humphrey are both enjoyable characters, and manage to bring some freshness to a tired old stereotype. Kate is a stickler for the rules and tradition, but she isn't a stick-in-the-mud either, and there's no heavy-handed message about how fun is a good thing and she just needs to lighten up, etc. Humphrey is predictably silly, but as other reviewers have noticed, he is also intelligent and his playfulness in many ways is reflective of that. The relationship between the two feels far more natural than it has any right to be.

The humour in this film goes from reasonable to completely dire. The two geese and Kate's passive-aggressive mother are good for a few laughs, but the recurrence of scatological and sexual references comes way too close to 'Foodfight' territory for comfort. The wolves are also far too over-anthropomorphized, in my view. The fact that they can easily understand human concepts such as marriage, state names and national parks (how?) undermines the believability of the story. It would have been much better if done in a more naturalistic, 'Jungle Book' or 'Watership Down' type way - where the wolves have their own names for places, customs and other phenomena.

As mentioned before, the story isn't anything new. However, the film does get a few decent action sequences out of it - one scene involving a mudslide and a vine I found particularly inventive. The wolves' world was also beautiful to look at, especially the backgrounds, which are reminiscent of 'Brother Bear.' It's just a shame that the characters living in it look like finger puppets in comparison.

So, is 'Alpha and Omega' a failure when it comes to exonerating our friend the wolf? I'm not sure if it will convert any livestock farmers, but as a cute film about wolves, it's harmless fun. When it fails, it fails hard, but when it succeeds, it succeeds quite well. Recommended for the wolf lover in your lives. 6/10.

Dogstar's avatar
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Reviews: 34

Dogstar's Review

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posted: Sep 18, 2011
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I was expecting to absolutely hate this film. When I saw the trailer, my immediate first thought was "Oh boy, a wolf movie! I can’t wait." Two seconds into the trailer, my thoughts immediately changed to, “Well, this looks like poor, predictable grab for cash.” I vowed that I would never pay to see Alpha and Omega.

A few years down the road, I find Alpha and Omega on netflix instant. I figure, at the very least I can make fun it. I watched it and I was actually pleasantly surprised.

I did come in knowing, that this film would not portray wild wolf packs accurately. But I don't think I've ever seen a wild wolf family structure done properly in fiction.*

Anyway, back to the meat of the film. I thought this film was going to be completely predictable and clichéd. I thought it was going to be about two social classes of wolves (alphas and omegas), who were completely unequal, alphas at the top, omegas at the bottom. But the two wolves, Kate (the serious alpha) and Humphrey (a buffon of an omega) after being shipped away, would work through their differences and fall in love, thus mending the class system. We've seen stuff like this before. But Alpha and Omega actually subverted these clichés fairly well.

In reality, both alphas and omegas are valued. Omegas aren't worthless and alphas don't hate them. Omegas have an important job, relieving tension in the packs through humor. Humphrey, is not a buffoon and is actually quite intelligent. Humphrey does not have an unrequited crush on Kate. The two are actually childhood friends and start off with mutual attraction for one another. The real problem is that Kate needs to marry another pack's alpha to unite the two packs. Kate, who is very responsible, knows she has to marry him even though she likes Humphrey to some degree. When the two are relocated to another park and have to return home, the film ends up being more Kate realizing that she is in love with Humphrey, than actually falling in love with him. Even though the movie is fairy formulaic, it does subvert a lot of clichés, making it somewhat unique.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this film were the characters. Like I said before, Humphrey isn't an idiot. He's very smart and uses his playful side to get out of bad situations. Kate is a little flat but not unlikable. The movie's supporting cast particularly shines. The wolf Kate is supposed to marry (Garth) is actually a really nice wolf (usually in these kind of movies, a character like Garth would be a huge jerk) and has some personality. But my favorite characters were Kate's parents, with the father having some depth and the mother being absolutely crazy but hilarious.

The humor was pretty hit and miss. Some moments, I found myself laughing out loud. Other moments, I would be completely embarrassed that I was watching this movie.

For content alone, I would probably give Alpha and Omega three stars. It was enjoyable and had some pleasant subversions from a tired formula But I do have to dock this film a half of a star for the animation. Normally, I wouldn't do this for animation, but I absolutely hated the style. There were times, I was completely taken out of the movie, just because I hated some of the background and character designs. It was very distracting.

If you can brave the animation, this movie is really worth a watch.

*It's actually a common misconception that wild wolves live packs with strict hierarchies. Wolves in the wild live in family units, consisting of the parents, the pups and older pups. As the pups get older, they usually leave the parents and start their own family. Captive wolves, however do live as packs with strict hierarchies. This is because captive wolves are usually a bunch strangers thrown together, not families. For more information, you can check out this website: http://www.davemech.org/news.html

greykitty's avatar
World Class Animation Critic
Reviews: 193

greykitty's Review

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posted: Aug 16, 2011
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It’s not amazing but it’s not terrible either. It had a ton of potential but didn’t quite meet that potential. It was ok for a brainless cartoon. I did enjoy the pretty pictures and the 3D. Though most of the time I think it would have been just fine in regular 2D. Only a few scenes really stood out.

The story is typical, you can figure it out in the first five minutes. Though I do have to give it credit for limiting horrible pop culture jokes and stupid side kicks. The side characters did hold a bit of intelligence unlike most kiddie flicks.

The acting is fine, the only part that really made me grit my teeth was when they started “howling”. They had the actors wail er… “sing” kind of. With a bunch of “oooooooooh”. I cringed every time. Bleq. I knock 10 off the film just for the howling, that’s how much it annoyed me. Thankfully though none of the woofies broke out into an obnoxious song, and the howling didn’t last more than maybe a minute at a time.

Anyways, aside from that, the animation was pretty good. Some of it was WAY over exaggerated, which is ok, but I think they should have made them act more like wolves. Too many kiddie movies make the characters act more human unlike classic animations like Lion King, or Jungle Book. They did have human qualities but you didn’t see them doing Kung Fu moves.

Hummmm I seem to find more negative than positive, oh snap! Guess I should say something good about it. WELL! What kept it from crashing was the part in the middle where they are shipped off to Idaho. They have some pretty good comedic moments there and the two bird characters they introduce are pretty funny too. The beginning is kinda ho hum and the ending is typical.

Overall, like I said, it’s not a horrible movie, but it’s not a really great one either. It missed it’s potential big time, but it would keep the kids entertained. Unless you’re an animation enthusiast I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone over 12.

lupercal's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 517

lupercal's Review

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posted: Apr 15, 2011
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Well, you know I'm going to watch anything wolf, or wolf-type canid related, but do remember I gave 'Millionaire Dogs' 1 star.

This gets 2, and frankly it's not very good. For a start, if the producers had any intention of conveying wolf pack structure, they were out of their minds. 4 Omegas and about 3 aplhas? That's close to the average total of a pack, and it's not alpha/omega; it's incremental. No Betas in this film, you notice. Also notice you can't get this film on Beta.

It annoyed me firstly because the wolves would change from quadruped to biped furry depending on the situation (this was done splendidly in the 'Footrot Flats' strip, but in a movie it sucks.)

All of the nonsense about pack structure is BS. This film is not about wolves; it's an analogy for human race relations. Well, if you want that, go watch Coonskin or Fritz the Cat.

Also there is an utterly pointless goose who looks like a cross between Robert Morley and Alfred Hitchcock. As if the damn goose in Balto, or the Mooses in 'Brother Bear' weren't bad enough.

But it's not an utter catastrophe. As a play it to the kids on Saturday film it's fine. But as an 'I wanna see a great animated wolf movie' it blows. Watch the live action 'Never Cry Wolf', instead.

I remember when this movie came out I had no interest in seeing it. I thought it was a Disney kid's movie and basically forgot about it for years. About a year ago I caught it one night on cable and began to watch it. I immediately knew that I was seeing a great film, it was obvious within 5 minutes. Since I caught it in the middle and had missed the beginning, I decided to not ruin it and I turned it off with the idea of renting it the very next day, which I did.

"Never Cry Wolf" is a beautiful and breathtaking film about a biologist who travels alone to an extremely remote part of The Yukon in order to live with white wolves, and study their behavior. Charles Martin Smith, who I've always felt is an under-rated actor (see "The Untouchables" and "Starman") gives an unforgettable performance. The cinematography is spectacular, the music is superb, and the message is subtle and haunting.

(("Never Cry Wolf" is a true classic in every sense of the word, I would give it a 10 out of 10 and I do not throw the "classic" word around lightly.) - from amazon review))

Loop

This is Dennis Hopper's (Easy Rider) last film: he died shortly before its release and it is dedicated to him.

Juuchan17's avatar
World Class Animation Critic
Reviews: 157

Juuchan17's Review

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posted: Jan 17, 2011
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As a fan of wolves, I was obviously thrilled to hear about this romp into the lupine world called "Alpha and Omega". Originally, I figured it'd be like the Balto trilogy - mainly the first sequel, "Wolf Quest" - in the way wolves are shown acting and terms are used. However, when I saw the trailer for it online and read some reviews for it, I wondered how good this predictable film could be after watching it.

[WARNING: Possible spoilers... but then again, REALLY predictable movie.]

The film is focused on two rival packs of wolves living in Canada's Jasper National Park - the Western Pack and the Eastern Pack. ...Can you see where this is headed yet? No, it's not like "The Lion King 2" with Kiara and Kovu, but it's close. The Eastern Pack wants the plentiful caribou that roam freely in the Western Pack's territory, so they constantly cause trouble by ruining their hunts.

The main story focus is on two wolves of the Western Pack - Humphrey, an Omega, and Kate, an Alpha - and even though they are just good friends, that is all it can ever be; based on wolf law, Alphas and Omegas can't be together, as their priorities are completely different. Meanwhile, Kate learns that Winston [her father] and Tony [Alpha of the Eastern Pack] have made a deal to join her and Tony's son, Garth in marriage to join the packs. Sounds good, right? Not so much for our Omega friend. At a chance meeting during a moonlight howl, Kate and Humphrey are tranquilized and suddenly moved to Sawtooth Park in Idaho to 'repopulate' [I kid you not; it's in the movie AND the theatrical trailer!], causing panic amongst the Alphas of the packs and a meaningless battle seems imminent if Kate's not back by the full moon.

Here's where the obvious part happens: the two wolves - though it's mainly Kate, being the "responsibility-first" Alpha she is - begin a frantic journey home, not realizing at first that through every obstacle in their way, they are falling for each other and accepting their differences. There are a couple of other surprises and a duck and a goose too, but still, the ending can be seen from a mile away.

I have to give the writers props for not making wolves as bad as stories make them out to be here [though there was one scene when Humphrey has a gun pointed at him by a human...]. They have families and face conflicts with each other, just like people do. In other words, wolves are just misunderstood. As for the whole "howling" term... well, the writers really tried not to use the word "mating", though I feel that's not what they meant. When they "howl," the wolves are just expressing their love for each other and crying out to the moon, not really... you know, doing anything else... except for dancing a la Furry-style; the phrases used throughout the movie seem to say otherwise - ex. "Was it good for you?" Still, they do reference some natural wolf mannerisms near the end at a ceremony, so I'd say that makes up for it. That and using the terms "Alpha" and "Omega"; unfortunately, saying that any wolf that can't learn the hunting and leadership skills that an Alpha must possess is instantly called an Omega... not how it's really done in real life, but give them props - THEY TRIED. Not to mention, the howling... I think they took the idea from "Happy Feet" [in my opinion, "Alpha and Omega" made the term "beautiful music" better by not adding words].

In a nutshell, this movie is a big, huge TRY. The animation isn't bad, but I would have preferred to see this as a traditionally-animated film than as a 3-D CGI film. The music was basic, and in a way, so was much of the voice cast [this also was Dennis Hopper's final film role before his death; he voiced Tony and the film was dedicated to him.]. The backgrounds are stunning, and I hate to admit but I loved the end credits, as they showed off examples of storyboards, character model sheets, and rough animation stills at work. It was a nice change. Also, the fact that the main areas are based on real places [though the Sawtooth area in Idaho is more well-known for the famous Sawtooth Wolf Pack that's been used in documentary films. Totally a Shout-Out.] is a huge bonus for adults, as is the... eh, references to howling. Whoo-hoo~

There's fun and adventure for the kids too, as well as a look at all sides in the same connected story without getting too boring, so that's a plus. It's not perfect, but again, they TRIED, and it's not too bad. Could have been better.

My Rating: 2.5 STARS