Review - Film - Lupine capers leave us howling for more

11th February 2011 at 00:00

Alpha and Omega

Director: Anthony BellBen Gluck

Starring: Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper

Out now on DVD and BluRay

Cert: U

Rating: 55

The main characters in the movie are two wolves called Kate and Humphrey, who set out on an adventure to reunite two fighting wolf packs. The story is about teamwork, friendship, love, treating everyone equally and accepting each other's differences.

Our class's favourite characters are Kate, Lilly, Humphrey, Tony, Salty and Winston. They are funny, kind and good fun to watch. The actors have great voices that really suit the characters.

Alpha and Omega has a bit of drama in it, especially at the end. It made us feel happy and excited. It is even better than Shark Tale and Megamind.

The storyline is amazing, the characters are brilliant and the animation is fantastic and very colourful. The wolves walk and run like real animals - and their hairstyles are unusual but cool. Wolves don't normally have hairstyles and we think this is very creative. We especially like their howling and singing.

The scenery is really good. You can see lots of trees, mountains, snow and birds. We think that it looks realistically like Canada, where it is set.

We couldn't stop watching the film - it was like our eyes were glued to the TV screen. But the fight scene and the stampede could have been better because the wounds don't look real. However, this film deserves five stars because it is awesome.

Year 7A, Harberton Special School, Belfast

Rating: 25

Let's start by being completely honest about Alpha and Omega - it isn't that good. This is in spite of a stellar cast, featuring such names as Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover and Christina Ricci, all of whom lend their considerable and varied talents to what ultimately is an animation-by-numbers affair.

The plot is centred on two wolves, Kate and Humphrey, at opposing ends of a rigid lupine social structure, who have to overcome not only the internal politics of the pack but a series of predictable and sadly unimaginative happenings in order to be together.

Kate is to be married to Garth, a high-ranking wolf from the East Pack and poor old Humphrey's love for her is going to lead to nothing.

However, a kidnapping, a friendship with two geese and a long journey back to the Rockies cause things to start changing.

It's storytelling at its lightest and although nicely animated it leaves the viewer thinking they have seen this a thousand times before, only with bears or squirrels or maybe dinosaurs.

The time has passed when a studio can churn out a kids' movie by casting animals in human roles and take them on a predictable journey that leads to an ending treacly-rich in moral self importance.

Kids are a sophisticated consumer group nowadays and are accustomed to films with layered character and plot.

Unfortunately Alpha and Omega has to be compared with its competitors and on every count, except number of wolves, it falls way, way short.

Although the 3D sequences often worked well they couldn't mask a movie that seems 20 years out of date. Verdict? A howler (ahem).

Brian England, Filmclub leader, Harberton Special School, Belfast

Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after-school clubs where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister

The Brute

Director: Luis Bunuel

Starring: Pedro Armendariz, Katy Jurado, Rosa Arenas

Out now on DVD

Cert: 12

Rating: 35

People in a small poverty-stricken village in Mexico are notified of their eviction, granting them 20 gruelling days to vacate the premises.

However, the villagers are not prepared to leave without a fight, specifically four men. Landlord Don Andres hires Don Carmelo Gonzalez to intimidate the unwanted tenants, leading to a frantic cat and mouse chase.

Director Bunuel is known for his artistic and surreal style. His films often include an animal in a scene, which is irrelevant and out of place. This is demonstrated at the end of The Brute where the viewers see a hen sat on a fence.

The film seems to appeal more to women due to the love affair storyline and smoochy scenes. Pedro's brutal behaviour reminds me of Lennie Small, from Of Mice and Men. They both do not know their own strength, and kill innocent people and animals.

As I was born into a generation of high technology, I had reservations about experiencing a black-and-white film, let alone one in another language, but I was pleasantly surprised as the content kept me watching.

I wouldn't particularly suggest watching this film in your own time but see it at Filmclub as an interesting example of Bunuel's work.

Sapphire Sherbird, 16, Wanstead High School, London


Director: Ishiro Honda, Terry O Morse

Starring: Takashi Shimura, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi

Out now on DVD

Cert: PG

Rating: 45

Godzilla is a great film to watch. The special effects were extremely good for the time, and it is better than some modern films.

The storyline is brilliant and is way ahead of its time as it uses a clever theory of science and links it into the action. Commentary from newspapers within the film helps you understand what is happening.

Furthermore, the music accompanying it adds great atmosphere, especially as there is a theme for Godzilla that begins just before he appears. Graphics-wise I think that Godzilla would be as good as, if not better, than films like Avatar if they had been produced in the 1950s.

One problem is that there is no time to expand on characters and build on their relationships with the other characters. I would recommend this film to anyone though as it is entertaining and poses questions that are gradually answered as the plot unravels.

Ziad El-Toudmeri, 13, Park Hall School, Birmingham.

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