My mom reviews “Alpha”

Alpha is an intense drama. Set in Europe 20,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, it is about a wolf and a boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who is becoming a man in the hunt. There are cave lions and Ice Age spotted hyenas. (I feel about hyenas about the same way I feel about owls. They are one of the reasons I hate The Lion King. I hate owls.)

It was mesmerizing, if intense. As you know, I did not enjoy the hyenas, nor the saber tooth tigers. I kept telling the young man—and his wolf friend—that you cannot outrun a herd of bison, hyenas, tigers, wolves, or really, any other animal. I knew the young man, Keda, would live, or there would be no movie, yet it certainly held our attention through many possible death possibilities. (He fell over a cliff and was presumed dead, later he falls through a frozen lake and almost drowned, and he’s attacked by the cave lion that killed his friend.)

I will also add it had the best scene of buffalo revenge I have ever seen. The male members of Keda’s tribe are out for a hunt. Keda has earned the right to attend his first hunt. Of course, they have to travel an entire week to get to the hunting grounds. They are cowards actually and arrange for the herd to stampede and fall of a cliff—a typical hunting technique. One of the buffalo who does not go off the cliff turns and heads directly for Keda, of course. I totally expected that particular steppe bison to come for him, and it did. He tosses him into the air. When that does not kill him, he reverses the charge, catches him on his horn, and deliberately charges to the cliff’s edge, where he tosses him over the side! It was great.

Dad said it was the precursor to domesticated dogs, which is true. Alpha, Keda’s companion, is played by Chuck, a Czechoslovakian wolfdog.

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