With Hollywood’s recent obsession with slapping 3-D onto everything, we’re past the point of saying that converting any old 2-D movie cheapens the 3-D experience. It’s already been reduced to little more than a marketing tool. We still need a crop of movies willing to take the technology, or rather, movie makers willing to use the technology, to regularly add the kind of sense of depth putting the audience more “in” the movie rather than have stuff fly “out” at an audience. Otherwise, whatever power and promise that came from James Cameron’s Avatar will be relegated to quick cash grabs, a cheap ploy to wring dollars from the most mediocre of movies. Case in point, Alpha and Omega.
In Jasper Park (Canada) two packs of wolves have one valley to live in. Each pack has two classes among them: Alphas (hunters/leaders) and Omegas (fun loving jokesters). Kate (Hayden Panettiere), the daughter of leader and heir apparent to leadership has her duty to unite the pack bys marrying her counterpart among the eastern pack, Garth (Chris Carmack). Garth, an otherwise strong, proud, an alpha’s alpha, is prone to howling dysfunction. Complicating this scenario is Humphrey (Justin Long), an Omega from Kate’s western pack who is desperately in love with Kate. He and his merry band of Omegas are the main comic relief trying to sustain the movie. These star-crossed wolves inadvertently get relocated to Idaho and have to get back to Jasper before the whole East Coast/West Coast tensions erupt into something bloody.
Alpha and Omega didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be. While it may aim to be this generation’s Lady and the Tramp, it is a jumbled mess which feels likes it drags on well past its fairly short running time.
“All I ask was for you to follow the customs.” –Tony
All of the parents keep citing the “law of the pack” as their raison d’etre for everything. Their goal to unite the pack might be forced to work under the law, however, it seemed more that they were trapped by the rules that define the pack and needed a new covenant, a new paradigm or way of looking at things.
The Bible is one story with two covenants. The Old Testament (Covenant) was the story of God saving the world through a specific people, the story of the nation of Israel. In Christ, we have the fulfillment of the story. The New Testament (Covenant) was the climax and conclusion, if you will, to that story. Jesus fulfills the story–without undermining the necessity and vitality of the Old Testament–bringing the story to its ultimate end. We are all adopted/grafted into the story of Israel. So what we have is essentially two acts of the same story.
“I am a stickler for tradition, but this one I don’t understand.” –Paddy (Eric Price)
While her father, Winston (Danny Glover) represented the law, through Kate, a child of destiny, a sacrifice on her part is required to unite the pack. She ends up wounded for their transgressions, which allows them to form a new pack, adopting in all kinds. The Mosaic laws were about defining a people, a nation. That was their point and their focus. In Christ, we have freedom and equality from class structures.
“Remind us all to have fun.” –Winston
Though earnest, Alpha and Omega has a forced sense of fun and uses a juvenile crassness to cover his flaws. It’s dull, without any interesting characters or anything approaching very crisp dialogue. This not compelling, not funny, ode to mediocrity ends up being a more lackluster Barnyard than an attempt at a How to Train Your Dragon. Filmmakers need to remember that, like any bandwagon or trend, too many bad examples of movies in 3D can kill the industry.