Review: 'Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave'
When I finally saw the plot synopsis and the box art for Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave, I was actually pretty upset. I feared that they just no longer care for the original characters of the very first movie.
The box art only featured the wolf puppies and I kept thinking negative things like: "Are they heading in a direction that I don't want them to go?"
I was scared about this movie. I just didn't bother posting a preview here, probably because of that. But you know what? My fears weren't completely true. They actually shown Kate and Humphrey and they had real roles. However, the focus was still often on the pups. There was also a white wolf called Daria often along with the pup Runt. These two were the main focus.
Some amount of spoiler is to be expected!
While I believe story style is never a flaw, I have to say, this was a darker story than the previous films, and had some shocking moments for a kid's film. The story involving the cave actually went well and had some deep moments. One of the more intense moments I had was Runt's dream. He had a dream of himself climbing a tree, and in his dream, right before he woke up, he saw a person. Which is someone he meets after dreaming. It's like he had a out-of-body experience, that becomes reality.
It probably would have been crazier to me if the place had not been found yet while dreaming about it first, though.
For the rest of the story, it was pretty good, there was some sense with it too.
The story is, like everything, an inspired fantasy story, but with new types of ideas added, combined, etc. In a good way, of course! One of the greatest parts is that this actually goes amazing with Halloween. Even though, it's not like a human Halloween, but still another amazing way.
One of the greatest parts was that the ghost, was actually a god-dang ghost. It wasn't those cheesy "It was all a Scooby Dooby Doo!" fakes. It was real, deal with it kids.
Sadly though, I wish it was longer. The film is still trapped in its 45 minute run, but this time, it didn't feel as rushed as the second movie of the series.
In terms of effects, and other models, this still doesn't hold as great as the first main movie.
The lands are still lowly animated, there are parts where the grass still doesn't fade into the rock right and looks like a model I would make in high textures (sort of) in a program called SketchUp, and there are other problems.
I can't tell though, but the models outside the wolves might look a bit better. The tooth cave looks good a bit but kind of looks like it's in the middle of the PS3-PS4 graphics ... Then again, graphics on video games are starting to look like Pixar quality graphics from some movies.
While the land is still hollowed a bit, the characters however, have interesting detail. There is also some kind of small change into there models, though, it might be the lighting again. For example: Kate's face looks more rough and I don't know why. For new wolves, I noticed there faces are very furry this time. Kate and Humphrey's faces looked less noticeable but these new wolves, they are a lot furrier. I am not sure if it's just a new personal style or they are trying to add more details this time around.
The animation still isn't like the first or smoother or detailed, sadly. The animation at parts can be a bit of an eye-sore due to how choppy they are.
However, I am not very sure, but I think they might of improved it from the third movie this time.
Other than that, I don't know what I can say. The first movie looked very well worked on, and they had the wolf creatures move in ways that made me like the characters in the first place.
The way Runt climbs a tree is very incorrect looking - he jumps as if he would fall down due to gravity whenever he bounces off the tree while climbing; it looks like he is jumping off the tree wall, but the tree pulls him back as if the tree itself had a source of gravity, too.
Some effects were still cheap-looking, but the ghost and the leaves flying with the ghost looked okay.
Personally in terms of story, this was pretty good. Some parts I liked, but you know what? There is one major disappointment I've had with this film, and that is the lack of what made Alpha and Omega really free: Anthropomorphism.
Don't get me wrong though, this movie does have this, but very little. I decided to watch the first movie again, and where I clicked at a random part, I see Kate and Humphrey doing really cool anthropomorphic human-characteristic moves. My biggest fear about this makes me question something: Are they trying to avoid that and go off to boring real life limits? That would probably be my greatest fear, even more than if they ruin the art style.
In the fourth movie, I was trying to spot some sort of anthropomorphic move from Kate or Humphrey and I couldn't find one. There might have been a very tiny, and I mean a tiny bit of it from them.
However, some other wolves in the movie did show some signs and there was a part where one of those little creatures did a human-like ninja move, but alas, if I had to compare all three sequels to the first movie, then the first movie would have so much more.
In the first movie, they dance around, stand up at times, use there front paws like hands, and do other kinds of amazing stuff. This was awesome!
But in the latest sequel, and some others, they just act very limited, much closer to a non-anthropomorphic film. Nothing wrong with those kinds of films themselves but part of the joy was that it was anthropomorphic often in the first place, not a limited Lion King like animation. Yet, even The Lion King had some anthropomorphic freedom.
Are they trying to avoid the spirit of the first movie? Or is it just lazy animation? I hope it's the second.
Either way, in my opinion as a person who reviews this film, they need to bring more of that style back. It's what made me got into the characters.
- CGI: 7.5
- Personality: 9.1
- Shading/Lighting: 8.5
- Animation: 7.2
- Plot/Story: 9.3
- Other: 6.0
If you are looking forward for a slightly dark kids film about wolves, you may be pretty surprised by the story in a good way. The DVD was released on October 7, 2014. This is also a more appropriate month this time as the theme of this sequel fits for Halloween.
This film still isn't as close to being smooth and detailed as modern animated movies like the Pixar films, but if you're here for the story and characters and could care less about being all for next gen CGI, then you may like this. Especially coming from a small company.
However, I wish the company remained truer to the spirit of the original characters and they acted more like themselves from the first movie.