How is it possible to find a family movie about cute animals depressing? I don't mean movies like 'Old Yeller' or 'Marley and Me,' either. (The spoiler alert has worn off of that one by now, yeah?) No, I mean run-of-the-mill animated films with anthropomorphized beasts touching noses, singing and dancing, crazy sidekicks, daring action moves and a guaranteed happy ending. 'Alpha and Omega' has all of these things, and in 3-D to boot, but the final effect was flat and dull. And that's exactly how I felt when I left the theater afterward, dizzy and nauseous, having sat stock still for the duration of the movie barely cracking a smile.
'Alpha and Omega,' for starters, is not a catchy title, but that is the least of its problems. The voice acting by Hayden Panettiere,Christina Ricci,Justin Long,Danny Glover and Dennis Hopper (in his last role, for the love of mud), is phoned in, but you can't totally blame the actors as the lines they're given are immediately forgettable. Kate the alpha wolf (Panettiere) has sass and guts and does all sorts of neat tricks that involve doing flips mid-air, but she's as boring as hell. There's no discernible reason why Humphrey (Long) would be interested in howling at the moon with her at all, but you can't blame Kate for not wanting him around, as his constant jokes and pratfalls are just plain lame. Humphrey, see, is an omega; omega wolves are second to the alpha wolves, and so their jobs are to, uh, I don't know. Humphrey and his friends spend a lot of time drooling over the girl wolves and using hollowed-out tree trunks to luge through the forest.