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August 29, 2018

Alpha (2018) --- “Experience The Incredible Story Of How Mankind Discovered Man's Best Friend”

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
    Alpha (2018) is an entertaining family film that appeals to anyone’s sense of adventure and love of dogs. The film is set in the primitive world of prehistoric Europe and follows a young man, Keda, and a lone wolf. While on his first hunting trip with his tribe, Keda is injured and awakens to find out he's been left for dead. As he learns to navigate and survive the harsh and unforgiving wilderness he meets an injured and lone wolf abandoned by its pack. Rather than kill the wolf he decides to patches it up and develops a co-dependency relationship of survival. As they try to make it home before the deadly winter arrives, they encounter overwhelming odds and countless danger in this first story between man and man’s best friend.
     I enjoyed the rather cheesy film 10,000 B.C. (2008), so I had no doubts that I would enjoy Alpha as well. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the film chose to remain historically accurate with a majority of aspects like the dialect, clothes, and sets.
     The film is subtitled throughout as it stays faithful to the aboriginal/"prehistoric" language that existed in Europe 20,000 years ago, rather than like 10,000 B.C. where everyone spoke English. I know some people thought that the prehistoric language distracted from the film and was a barrier for children with only early reading skills. But I believe it only enhanced the beauty of the film, the conversations are short and easy to read without missing what’s happening. And while we know that our forbearers did not speak modern-day English it puts things into perspective and gives the film an authentic quality. In terms of being a barrier for children, I do not believe it is that much of an issue as it helps give kids an understanding of what prehistoric languages most likely sounded like. Besides kids won’t truly be able to appreciate the film until their around 6 or 7 and by then they should have enough reading skills to read the subtitles.
     The costumes of tribesmen were what one would find on a plains hunter, each part was created with attention to detail and with purpose. The lead character’s attire was given the most attention and as the film progress, we see that each piece had a purpose. The cinematography was stunning with stark vistas of British Columbia in which the film was filmed. The first half of the film has a warm overtone while the last half demonstrates just how harsh the colder elements can be to a person. Throughout the film, there are vivid waterfalls, expansive night skies, and warm desolate plains. From sunrise to sunset the colors are dazzling as they blended into an impressive mosaic of beautiful scenery.
     Now for the story. For those expecting another survival film like The Revenant (2015) or The Grey (2011) will be sadly mistaken. Alpha is a modern reboot similar to that of White Fang (1991) but with a sort of Clan of Cave Bears (1986) style storyline. The story is great and the pacing is effective despite being a bit predictable and a bit slow in the beginning. Most survival films can be long and drawn out, especially those involving humans and animals but this one moved at an effective pace that carried the adventure along.
       The characters were great. Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse as Nightcrawler) gives a great performance as Keda. Like his character, this is his coming of age story as he toes the line between man and boy effectively. His bond with the wolf, a Czechoslovakian wolf-dog, was great. The filmmakers made sure that we understood that this was a wild animal so the relationship between the boy and wolf took time to develop. It wasn’t immediate and that helps play into the believability of their relationship. Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson and Natassia Malthe are great as Keda’s parents and the tribal chieftains; however, I wish that they and the tribe had more screen time.

     Overall, Alpha (2018) was an entertaining family film that both kids and adults will enjoy. Of course, do not expect this to be like The Revenant (2015) or The Grey (2011) but rather it is a modern reboot of White Fang (1991) with a Clan of Cave Bears (1986) style storyline. The visuals were beautiful and stunning, while the costumes were authentic and functional. The dialogue is in a prehistoric language so the entire film is subtitled, which adds to the authenticity of the film. And while some people might find this to be a barrier for kids, the conversations were short and easy to read without missing any of the adventures In fact, at the end of the film a little girl around 6-8 exclaimed, “OMG I loved it,” I guess it’s safe to say that this is kid approved. All in all, I highly recommend this film and even found it worth watching in 3D. 

"Raise your head and your eyes will follow."
- Tau

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  7.8 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  7.8 of 10 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Alpha (2018).

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