Have you ever wondered how wolves eventually evolved into the darling domesticated dogs of today? Alpha’s story suggests that it all started with a prehistoric teenager coming of age with the help of a wolf who has been separated from his pack.
Visually captivating scenes, intermittent action, good acting and a cute boy and his dog story, all combine to make Alpha a decent movie that fans of good movies will enjoy.
As I just mentioned, Alpha is another boy and his dog story, like Lassie, Turner and Hooch, etc. Standard industry stuff, however, this one is given a pre-historic spin. (I couldn’t help but notice the irony of a preview of A.X.L. being shown before this movie, another boy and his dog story but with a futuristic spin.) The story takes place 20,000 years ago in Europe.
Alpha opens with beautiful landscape imagery, aptly immersing viewers into the setting. As a teenage boy Keda (Kodi-Smit McPhee) is chosen to go on his first hunting trip with his tribe, he becomes separated from them. Ultimately left for dead, he must find his way back home by himself. Well not entirely by himself as he has the help of his wolf friend. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves I’ll get to that later.
Director Albert Hughes does a fantastic job building suspense early on. Most notably with the scene in which Keda is separated from his tribe while hunting buffalo. Hughes partitions this into two separate scenes, the results being masterfully entertaining.
Despite being chosen to come on the hunting trip, Keda is repeatedly shown as unprepared for what this hunting trip demands of him. Which means a lot of growing up is going to have to take place for him to survive what is in store for him.
After nearly falling to his death, Keda’s life is miraculously spared, unbeknownst to his tribe who has already left. He is now tasked with returning home by himself. Wait no not by himself, enter the wolf eventually known as Alpha. While nursing a dislocated leg, Keda is chased into a tree by a pack of wolves. He manages to injure one, whom the other wolves proceed to leave.
Now here is where I thought the writers should have done a better job at previously showing Keda as an abnormally kind animal lover. For me, it’s completely unrealistic that a boy would go out of his way to save and nurse this wolf who was injured while trying to kill him. Whatever what do I know right?
After nursing the wolf back to health, the two form an unlikely friendship as they both try to find their way back to their pack. Along the way they learn to hunt together, to share. They find time to enjoy a nice dip in a lake and the company of each other while avoiding the dangers of hyenas, saber-toothed tigers, and the deathly cold of winter.
Eventually, they make it back to Keda’s tribe, and Alpha is shown having babies. Then just before the movie ends the shadowy figures of assumedly Keda’s tribesmen are shown with leashed wolves at their side. A nice ribbon on this story correlating it to the evolution of wolves into the cute cuddly canines of modern times.
This movie isn’t much for dialogue obviously, and besides a few hard to believe developments, the movie strong points outweigh these lacking elements. I would recommend this movie to anyone who can appreciate good directing and to dog lovers who are a sucker for their canine charm.