It seems likes Alpha has been advertised in the cinema for a year at least, and I wasn’t sure it was ever actually going to come out. I had planned to watch The Happytime Murders instead but after reading of its dire quality I decided to see what else was playing. The only other film in the time frame I had available was Alpha, and so, not expecting much I went in and watched it.
Alpha follows a young cro-magnon tribesmen who gets injured and separated from his tribe. On his perilous journey home he befriends and eventually tames a wolf after nursing it back to health. The film started off fairly boring, and I found myself disliking it at first for being like a child friendly version of 10,000 BC .
The film did get better, with the main character Keda eventually finding his courage and resolve in order to get home. This film plays at first like a sort of documentary, with Morgan Freeman providing brief lines of narration. This approach is quickly dropped in favour of a more traditional narrative driven approach on the story which I think it benefits from. Alpha does a decent job of portraying the bond between Keda and the wolf Alpha, with the progression of their relationship being natural and feeling realistic of two beings in their situation.
The performances are quite good, with Keda’s father and Keda himself being the two strongest actors in this film, and quite a broad emotional range being shown by them. The effects and CGI are not great however, and one part towards the end where Keda carries the wolf looks horrendously off putting. The wolf appears to have arms on its front as opposed to at its side as a wolf should have.
Another of my main gripes is that they should have utilised the expansive range of megafauna to greater effect. I think that by showing more of the many interesting prehistoric animals that were around during the time period this film is set in they could have created greater set pieces and had more of a spectacle to the film as opposed to the solitary Boy meets Wolf tale that it is currently. I don’t really have much to say about this film, as it is fairly middle of the road not being too dazzling but also being a fairly interesting story.
Verdict: Overall, I would give this film a 6/10.