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But with another kind of inference. If you’re a dog lover, one of the following films is for you—the other, avoid.

So, Alpha. It starts off slow and doesn’t take off until the wolves enter. There are a few content issues that make no sense, holes you could drive the proverbial truck through, but the most glaring is how the men trudge off for days and days to hunt bison. History and logic say that people are nomadic or prefer to live near food sources. At any rate, who would want to trudge miles and miles, get the meat and skins, then schlepp them all the way home for days and days. The visuals are lovely, the costuming, strange. The men’s leather coats looked like WWII bomber jackets. I can suspend reality but that was a bit jarring. The best part was the wolf-bonding thing and the interesting bit where the wolf teaches the boy how to hunt as a team. Wolves do have that down to a science. The best part was the surprise ending that made me tear up. If you love dogs, you’ll like this film, especially if you’re overloaded with vacuous digital mayhem.

Then we come to AXL. What a mess. If I hadn’t planned on doing a “dog” blog thingie, I would have gotten up and walked out. Oye, the stereotyping is criminal. The storyline is idiotic, as if written by a ten-year-old. I take that back. Make it younger. The poor dog robot changes size about ten times and every trite and overused idea that can be crammed into a story is there, including making teens look like idiots. I was young and dumb, but these kids are like the ones in the commercial hiding in a shed with the dangling chainsaws. And I resent that the young protagonist thought it was OK to rip off an ATM just because computer wonder dog AXL programmed it to spew money. My grandson would have immediately reported the problem and turned in the cash. I guess that’s what irked me most, the way teens were trashed, the military to look asinine, and the bad guy of Middle Eastern descent. The only positive about movie is that actors got paid (presumably) and kept their SAG membership active.

In Alpha, there is much to be admired in the young man struggling to survive and get home to his parents. There is much to despise in a film like AXL that insults our youth and audience intelligence. I see the fun in B-type movie genres, but AXL is cruel and unusual.

Sorry this was kind of crabby and I miss my dogs and horses. And have been reading Dorothy Parker poems and quotes.

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)

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