Movie Review: ‘Alpha’ Blu-ray

Review by Bradley Smith

Trailers can be misleading. I did not see the trailers for Alpha beforehand, but I nearly took my nephew who backed out due to the time of the screening. He and his mother, my sister, had seen the trailers and wanted to see the film, but neither of them had any clue that the film was in a foreign language with subtitles. No big deal for me, but neither of them can keep up with subtitles very well. When I told my sister it was probably better that her kid backed out, she was shocked to hear it had subtitles. I later watched the trailers and, sure enough, I wouldn’t have know it was subtitled. One even has a voiceover from what seems like the main character.

And that is the only problem I have with this movie, not that it is subtitled, but that the promotional material is apparently hiding that fact, as well as some of the more serious tones throughout.
But, I digress.

Alpha is a great film. Visually stunning and beautiful in 3D. The story is not very original, but it is well told. The storytelling could break the film down into two roughly 40 minute episodes with the first part ending on a literal cliffhanger with which it began.

The first half tells a story of a tribe of prehistoric hunters going on a ritual yearly hunt to gather food for their tribe. The leader of the hunt is taking his son, Keda, along for the first time despite the concerns of the boy’s mother. Along the way to the hunting grounds, Keda’s father tries to impart some wisdom about survival, navigation, and being a leader. But, Keda seems to have too much heart to be a hunter and when the moment of truth comes, he fails… or rather falls, far. After several hours of anguish, the others leave Keda for dead and return home with their spoils. But…

Keda is not dead. And so begins the second half and Keda’s coming-of-age story. Alone, injured, and facing harsh terrain, wildlife, and an oncoming winter, Keda has to quickly learn to do things he couldn’t accomplish just a day before. But his heart isn’t a complete hindrance.

While defending himself, Keda injures a wolf who subsequently gets left for dead by their pack. Instead of killing the helpless wolf, Keda nurses it back to health, slowly developing a bond. The wolf joins Keda on his journey and the two develop new techniques to survive together.

Even with all the clichés, the film is a heartwarming, thrilling adventure with some cringe worthy and scary moments. The visuals alone are worth viewing in a theater; those that “don’t want to read a movie” can probably ignore the subtitles and still get the gist.

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