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Does anyone else find this as disappointing as I do?

If we put the plot aside, the concept of this film provided a truly unique opportunity: it has the versatility of animation that allows what is impossible or difficult to film in live action, the flexibility of the gray wolf’s markings/appearance for unique and meaningful character design, and a mind-boggling amount of information on the behavior of the main characters’ species.

Let me restate that last point; few other animals’ social behavior has been as thoroughly researched as that of the gray wolf.  They’re more or less just below chimps and humans in terms of how much their behavior has been studied.  There is a research center in Indiana that had been focusing on gray wolf behavior for over 35 years when this movie was made.  We can translate their facial expressions, posture, tail and ear positions, and vocalizations.  We even know how the behavior of captive wolves differs from that of wild wolves.

And this is what came of that opportunity.

I mean, if Happy Feet managed to have a holy-kumquats-level of scientific and behavioral accuracy (the angle of the sun, the orca sequence, the way the penguins walked, the way they ate fish, the courtship rituals… the list goes on.) with animals that humans have not studied nearly as much as the wolf, no doubt a movie about gray wolves could do some pretty nifty things, right?  Even if they used more dog-like behavior than wolf-like, it would still be something pretty cool.

And what the fruitcake was that hunting montage?  You can literally (and I do not use that word hyperbolically) put a few wolves with a herd of bison and you will observe an absolute textbook “wolf hunt” about half of the time (though you should not expect a kill; go to the BBC for that kind of footage).  And it looks nothing at all like what is in the movie.

All this amounts to a major case of not doing research or simply not caring.

I’ll admit that I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t comment on plot points, (Idaho does not want wolves, but the story could be set in the 90s) and the mucked-up pack dynamics is more of a genre-thing, so it’s not worth going into.  However, the trailer reveals how little concern there was for accuracy as far as the characters’ behaviors go.

I’d really like to see an animated wolf film that takes advantage of that awesome opportunity it has.  I love being awed by small details in animation, whether it’s the warping of the arrow shaft in Brave or the motion of the wings and feathers in Legend of the Guardians.

Sorry about the rant.  The trailer has bothered me since it came out, and I couldn’t get over it.  This was just a really awful thing to do with that kind of opportunity.

Oh, dear… this got a tad long.  I’m sorry.  Really am.  Really.  Sorry.

Tagged: #sorry for the rant #Alpha and Omega #wolf #animation #I feel bad for the animators who actually had to work on this

  1. marbleousmego said: Among other things, when I first saw this trailer I felt like I had seen it already a good number of times before.
  2. soyrwoo posted this