I have to question the decision to dedicate this animated adventure about a couple of young wolves (voiced by Justin Long and Hayden Panettiere) from opposite sides of the pack to the late Dennis Hopper. I can fully appreciate the desire to honor his last performance, but everything about his work here — and the movie as a whole, if truth be told — just feels wrong.
Hopper leads a regional wolfpack who are hunting on the west side of the turf, which under the jurisdiction of Danny Glover’s Winston. Winston’s daughter Kate (Panettiere) is an Alpha-in-training, while Humphrey (Long) is a fun-loving Omega, who is not suitable mating material for Kate. She’s bait for a peace treaty between the west and east sides, intended to marry Tony’s Alpha son (Chris Carmack). That’s before Kate and Humphrey get tagged by human hunters and shipped to Idaho, which sets up the wild road trip home that gives them enough time to fall in love.
Cute, right? Too cute to an infinite degree is more like it, but without a single spark of wit. Every vocal performance sounds like a flat reading from the Internet Yellow Pages posted to Twitter.
Alpha and Omega longs to be Romeo & Juliet for the kiddies, but maybe you just can’t dumb it down and clean it up that much. Just like you shouldn’t try to make Hopper into a cuddly Poppa Wolf. I want to remember his sharp bite. Grade: D
Opens Sept. 17. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.