Alpha and Omega
Directed by Anthony Bell, Ben Gluck. Voices by Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover, Larry Miller. (2010, PG, 88 min.)
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Sept. 24, 2010
What a curious beast this kiddie flick is, with its two wolf packs turf-warring over a prime feeding ground for caribou but played out with an almost comical bloodlessness. Wolf cubs Kate (voiced by Panettiere) and Humphrey (voiced by Long) – she the tart alpha, he the court-jester omega – talk big about how delicious caribou tartare would taste but snack onscreen only on blueberries and cupcakes and the occasional bone licked clean of anything remotely resembling dead meat. Alpha and Omega is also something of a dirty bird: Two wolves howling at the moon is code for the mating dance. ("Was it good for you?" one wolf leers at his partner). And, yes, they do in fact dance – an embarrassing kind of disco boogie – and sing, too, with a cappella grooves that would've gone over like gangbusters on Star Search. The 3-D angle is the only one I can identify to justify Alpha and Omega not going straight to DVD, but it's a double-edged sword: While DreamWorks' team of animators produces quite painterly landscapes, the inflated ticket price exacerbates the sting of this film's dogged banality.