Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Natassia Malthe, Leonor Varela, Jens Hultén, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Mercedes de la Zerda, Priya Rajaratnam, Spencer Bogaert, Marcin Kowalczyk
Director: Albert Hughes
Rating: * * * *
Prehistoric times, the Ice Age to be specific, is the setting for this beautifully photographed coming of age survival story about a boy and his best buddy. Absolutely no Oscars for guessing who that might be. Directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), the film tells us how the dog, rather its ancestor, the wolf, evolved into man’s most loyal and dependable ally.
Rewind to Europe some 20,000 years ago when primitive homosapiens is battling feral beasts and bad weather. They speak in a strange tongue so English subtitles helps the audience along this tale of survival of the fittest.
Our hero is all of the 17-year-old boy named Keda. Keda (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is making his first ever expedition in the company of his tribe, to kill the “great beasts” a.k.a bisons for sustenance to see them through the brutal winter. An accident separates Keda from his dad Tau (Johannes Hauker Johannesson) and the rest of the tribesmen. Keda must retrace his way back home alone.
Enroute, he is attacked by a wolfpack including the titular Alpha. How man and beast forge an unlikely, but enduring friendship during their odyssey forms the heart of this enchanting family-centric adventure film.