It’s a bit of a blight for anyone releasing a computer animated film over the next few months that Toy Story 3 came out this year. One of the best CGI features of all time, and the most financially successful to boot, it’s almost guaranteed that Pixar’s creation will wipe the floor with anything else before the year’s end. That’s not to say films shouldn’t try to make a dent in Buzz Lightyear’s appeal, hey, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was a surprisingly unmitigated success in 2009, but let’s be honest, on the current slate, no ones expecting much more than cannon fodder.
Roll up Alpha And Omega, a film to make or break people’s estimations. Set around a wolf pack, whose members are brought up to either be alphas or omegas, the hunters or the gatherers, different social orders aren’t meant to mix, but that doesn’t stop one heady prankster. Humphrey (Long), an omega, is head over heels for Kate (Panettiere), an alpha, and the alpha male’s daughter. He spends his days fooling around with his friends and doing as little work as possible, while Kate leads hunts for food to feed the entire group. Furthermore, to help fend off an impending starvation and fight with neighbouring pack, Kate is pushed towards an engagement with their alpha male, it certainly doesn’t look like her and Humphrey are meant to be. One day though, the pair are captured by rangers and wake up in another wildlife park altogether, far south in Idaho, but before Humphrey can even start to work his charms, they’ve got to work together and figure out a way to make the mammoth trek back to their home in Jasper, Canada.
What keeps you coming back to Pixar’s classics, is the depth and emotional maturity of the stories, sadly there’s anything but non-linearity in Alpha And Omega. The plot is remarkably simplistic and though it will have very young viewers up to pace, the trivial nature of Humphrey and Kate’s journey grows hugely tedious some time before the end.
The film feels bland and unadventurous, quite the opposite of what you need for a cross-country trail that can throw up so many possibilities. From top to bottom, it feels thoroughly mediocre.
The screenplay is quite underdeveloped and as little craft is given to the storytelling, no connection is developed between the audience and the two lead characters. You know they’re going to make it home but there aren’t even many complications thrown up along the way.
To top it all off, the 3-D used in the film is pointless, barely i mplemented and adding nothing. Certainly one to miss and revisit Toy Story 3 one more time instead, even the big(ish) names providing vocals for the cast never felt anything special.