Alpha and Omega

A dog in wolf's clothing, Lionsgate's drab, anthropomorphic animal saga does little more than reconfirm the preeminence of Pixar. Two wolves---the happy-go-lucky omega, Humphrey (Long), and the beautiful alpha, Kate (Panettiere)---are destined to bay at the moon together. Yet ingrained intolerance stands in their way, as natural law states that their disparate kinds shan't mix. Rather, Humphrey is required to live the life of a jovial clown; as the new leader, Kate is expected to unite the pack with starving Eastern wolves via an arranged marriage to a howl-impaired athletic stud (Carmack).

Still, once these would-be lovebirds are shot with tranquilizers and relocated from Canada to Idaho---thus initiating a joint odyssey back home---they come together because hey, opposites attract! It's a pity there are no sparks in their amour, nor in the story's humorless supporting characters (specifically, a goose who plays golf and hates cupcakes) and the torpid voice work from all involved---including, sadly, the late Dennis Hopper. The fact that the movie's middling animation is drenched in 3-D running-and-jumping effects doesn't help one bit, proving that today's buzzword technology remains a tool best suited for those gimmicky moments when objects are hurtling at the viewer.---Nick Schager

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