If you thought Alpha is just a movie about man’s first foray into dog training you’d be wrong, because after finally seeing it in theaters it’s more of a period piece about a coming of age tale that also happens to have some spectacular looking visuals. Sure the whole man and wolf aspect provides emotional moments, but the true joy of this film is its depiction of early man and beast, and what life was like 20,000 years ago before we screwed everything up.
You can check out the full review below via the embedded video or script.
Hey now doggie fans, Matt Heywood here to review Alpha, or the movie that provides a fictional take on how man first tamed wolves into eventually becoming dogs.
There will be no major spoilers in this review.
I’m not a dog guy, I don’t hate them, I just don’t want the responsibility of taking care of one, so when I first saw a trailer for Alpha I was intrigued by its setting more than its tale of man first taming a wolf to become a dog-like companion. After seeing the film, I can report back that while the movie does dedicate parts of its plot to that mantra, it isn’t the only narrative being told.
Alpha is more of a period piece about humans that lived in Europe 20,000 years ago. The whole first act is dedicated to setting up the main character, who is a young boy in a tribe that just became a hunter and is going on his first hunt. I really enjoyed seeing his setup, as it helped to flesh out the type of man he’d become after he’s faced with a near death experience while on a buffalo hunt with his Father, who happens to be the Chief, and other men from his tribe.
The first act lays down lessons that become valuable for Keda as he struggles to stay alive in the final two acts, and it also features some brilliant looking visuals. To me, the cinematography of this film is the true star and one reason it’s worth watching on a big screen. The environments instantly transported me back 20,000 years to an Earth that had yet to be ravaged by humanity, and it was a beautiful thing to behold.
Again, my favorite aspect of this film was its non-stop history lessons that offered looks at how early humans had to live back then. I wouldn’t say anything I saw was eye opening in terms of early human history, but the visuals just helped to reinforce just how dangerous it was for humans back then, and the perils they faced every waking moment of their lives.
While the period piece aspect of Alpha is what I enjoyed most, I am an animal lover after all, and even though I don’t own a dog myself, I couldn’t help but appreciate the final two acts of this film, which solely focus on Keda bonding with a Wolf that finds himself in a similar predicament. Like Keda, Alpha’s pack left her when they thought she was down and out, so the two share a friendship that starts off very combative, but ultimately ends up being a beautiful bond between man and beast. If you’ve ever owned a pet that you became very close with it’s hard not to feel something for Keda and Alpha as they struggle to keep each other alive while trying to get back to Keda’s tribe.
It becomes very clear as to why early humans started to domesticate wolves, because as Alpha shows, these beasts could be great allies in the game of survival every living thing had to play back then. But in the end, as it is with most pets, it was the emotional bond between Keda and Alpha that made their friendship so special, and the reason why I may have got a bit teary eyed during the climax.
On its surface Alpha may look like a feel good movie about man’s first domestication of a wolf, but upon further review it’s more of a brilliant looking period piece with a story about hope and perseverance that anyone can glean inspiration from. The visuals are intoxicating, the emotional moments are strong, and anyone who has loved a pet will undoubtedly enjoy the bond between Keda and Alpha because it will remind them of their own current and former pets. It’s a solid 8 out of 10 type of movie, and one that I do recommend you go see in a theater. The visuals alone warrant the big screen, but it’s just a really entertaining movie when everything is all said and done.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood here signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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