Alpha & Omega

Justin Long, Dennis Hopper, and Hayden Panettiere star in this animated film written by Chris Denk and Steve Moore and directed by Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck.

A film outsourced? This movie may seem peculiar as you watch it, as if it were an American vision of the wilderness Disneyfied, and then filtered through foreign eyes. It’s not exactly crappy the way a big studio would make it, and it’s nowhere near good enough for an indie labor of love. The wolf pack of course has been anthropomorphized, but the moves are either dorky or too slick. These wolves oddly seem to know acrobatic kung fu. The “hair fashions” that the girl wolves sport seem from another era or continent; when they break into song it’s a lot worse than the usual watered-down soul music — out of date and buttery bland. But the most awkward oddity is the way Alpha & Omega’s narrative has been stretched, dumbed down, and then padded with overlong set pieces, like a wolf who has to pee and finds a donut; a goose that golfs; the voice of the late Dennis Hopper urging a pack war. Okay, well, that part seems right.

Turns out that this film was coproduced between Burbank and Mumbai, though it feels more like a film that was discovered by a Hollywood studio and half-heartedly redubbed. The first 10 minutes of 3-D are nice, then it’s fair ordinaire. It’s enough to say that this story about four wolves marrying outside their social station seems more relevant to India than America — maybe I’m naïve, though. Either way, this film truly feels like nothing remotely relevant to the nobility of tooth and claw out in the wilderness.

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