The resulting sequences might as well be lifted directly from Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy; watching these pockets of pure cinema emerge from a "crowd-pleasing" story of a boy and his dog may just be one of the oddest experiences you have at the movies this summer.
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Alpha is not a perfect movie, and it is occasionally a way-too-pumped-up pulpy one relying on big-budget bulk. But it is most certainly a tonic in an age when every blockbuster film feels like part of some endless multiverse-cum-marketing scheme.
It reduces the domestication of wolves to a series of simplistic interactions that don’t exactly convey the difficulties of a wild animal overcoming millennia of instinct.
Alpha has been sold, to some degree, as a family-friendly film, and while it’s too violent and perhaps too heavily subtitled for young kids (or, for that matter, some adults, who may notice how superfluous much of the dialogue is), it’s easy to picture some 10-year-olds taking to its exciting, cornball charms.
Enjoyably old-fashioned in its narrative but crisply modern in technique, it is engaging enough even for those of us with no soft spot for pets.
Alpha, a spectacular prehistoric eye-candy survival yarn, is enthralling in a square and slightly stolid way.
Alpha has to stand as one of the pleasant surprises of the cinematic summer, a gritty yet sentimental fantasy about that first Ice Age boy to fall for a dog.
The movie...is a visual feast, one of the rare 3D films which was clearly designed with that extra dimension in mind.
The stylishly crafted film mostly succeeds in its engaging (and tagline-ready) ambition to chronicle “how mankind discovered man’s best friend,” even if its naturalistic strengths are swapped out for an exaggeratedly epic tone in the later going.