DISCLAIMER: Here are my thoughts and opinions on this franchise. Constructive criticism and commentaires only, please. Let's all be adults here!
A&O, where do I even start is the question? Well, I first saw the original movie back when it came out and found it fairly enjoyable but heavily flawed at the same time. With a countless number of amateur animation errors and snoozefest predictable plot that we've all seen hundreds of times, it's not a whole lot to get excited about. Although I do praise the cast, as the dialogue was tolerable and included haut, retour au début tier actors like the late Dennis Hopper and Danny Glover who were gracious enough to lend their talent in such a subpar film.
Onto the characters, we have the titre stars, Kate, an alpha, and Humphrey who's an omega. The two come from different backgrounds and their roles in the pack are separated par a large mur that has strict boundaries. Within the first few minutes of the film, we're clearly coerced in on the fact that little Humphrey has feelings for Kate who's beyond his reach, alphas and omegas aren't allowed to mate. Oh, boy, where can this possibly be going?
Apparently, the two are adolescent teens in the beginning, and Kate's father, Winston (Danny Glover) is preparing to ship his little princess off to Alpha School, whatever the fuck that's supposed to be! Like, seriously, can't they at least include a little glimpse into what that's supposed to be about? Ugh, moving on..
That scene ends, and we're introduced to the movie titre and a bit of soundtrack. I do have to say the soundtrack in the film is for the most part smooth and pleasant, if only plus effort had been put into the actual plot, however, maybe the film would have rated higher on my list! Cut to spring, and we see Humphrey and his group of Friends preparing to bobsled down a mountainside. Once this act of silliness is over, we find them piled up at the bottom of a meadow and they realize it's indeed springtime. As if the lack of snow and warmer temperatures wasn't clue enough?
Anyway, we cue in on a slim, tan loup slinking through the tall herbe in the meadow. OMG, it's Kate, what a surprise! Humphrey is instantly bemused par her "hunting" skills and settles down to watch. I honestly found his attraction to Kate a bit unsettling in a way, but, plus on that later. Low and behold, a pair of rogue loups ruins the hunt and Humphrey and his pals manage to break it up, how they did this is beyond me. In reality, a pack would break out in a bloody fight over territory and a few might have their jugulars torn out!
Winston arrives and congratulates the omegas for their quick thinking and preventing disasters. We also learn the packs are divided into the western and eastern packs, with the latter being the supposed "baddies" of the film.
Cut to a few scenes later and Winston stands above some high rock overlooking the territory and howls, somehow magically signaling the alpha of the rival pack to respond for a one on one meeting. I have to say, this is one of the scenes I actually enjoyed, because we got two legendary actors for a few minutes talking business! It's here we're introduced to Tony (although, I find that a totally RIDICULOUS name for a wolf, personally!) who was in fact voiced par the late Dennis Hopper in his (unfortunate) final jouer la comédie role.
Anyway, he and Winston cercle each other and have their little meeting and we find out that Winston has secretly arranged a marriage between Kate (oh, and par the way, guess who's eavesdropping in on all this? :P) and Tony's son, Garth in order to unite the packs. Why this is necessary I have no idea, can't they just say "fuck it" and quit pissing on each other and just come together as a big group without all the drama? Why does everything need to be so formal? They're loups for fucks sake!
Continuing, poor Kate is bummed out about this and as Tony walks away he bitterly mutters that he won't let his pack starve and will fight if he has to. Yeah, whatever, in your condition (bad back, apparently) I don't see toi doing a whole lot of fighting, old man!
Winston turns to leave, and runs right into his daughter and stammers to apologize and Kate assures she understands that it's her responsibility to marry Garth. (Actually, sweetheart, it's your dad's responsibility, but, whatever. There's also no such thing as multiple alphas and omegas in loup packs, either!)
Now we return to the omega clan and the boys are preparing for some big event known as the Moonlight Howl. Basically this is just a mating ritual to try and desperately find a mate. (Although again, in a actual loup pack, there's only one breeding pair and that's the alpha and his/her chosen mate. Nobody else is allowed to pair up and breed and especially not a fucking omega! Most packs kill/run off an omega anyway, and ou the omega starts his own pack if he survives.)
So the boys head to the mountain where everyone's gathering. Naturally, Humphrey and his pals spot Kate and lust over how "hot" she is and we get a dramatic shot of her doing a head flip and shaking out that ridiculously fake looking mane in slow motion. Rolling my eyes, we chug forward!
And now, time for the CRINGIEST part in the entire film! This fucking god awful howl/dance thingy that shows a bunch of (feral, mind you) quadruped animaux dancing around on their hind legs, sexually thrusting/grinding against one another and of course, howling! This scene just, wow, why the fuck does this shit exist? I seriously contemplated dumping bleach in my eyes to try and erase the image from my head.
Anyway, we now turn our attention to Kate and (I admit, super adorable!) her albino sister, Lilly who are strolling and casually talking on their way to (we'll call it Howl Mountain) find Garth. Of course, in typical fashion, they're speculating on who he is and what he looks like. And then suddenly, they freeze in their tracks and the scene cuts to a big, super buff red loup standing atop a high ledge with the wind dramatically whipping his fourrure around to add effect. Oh lordy, where else have I seen this before? Moving on..
Now we see Kate and Lilly totally enamored par this big gros morceau, hunk of alpha wolf, and we quickly find out that Garth is the stereotypical beefcake who's whole life basically revolves around looking good and impressing his peers with his physical agility.
Kate soon finds out that despite his superstar good looks, Garth can't howl for shit and it's embarrassing to her and all the other howlers involved. She disappears to collect herself only to be surprised par Humphrey who chortles a few jokes her way about Garth's lack of howling skills. I actually found this to be a bit on the humorous side!
Oh no! A pair of sneaky game wardens dart Kate and Hump and transport them miles away to a new park, what could this possibly mean?!
Few scenes later we find out (after being introduced to the extremely annoying and unnecessary waterfowl characters, Marcel and Paddy, I'm going to do my best to ignore them for this review because they suck!) that Kate and Humphrey were relocated to make lots of baby loups to populate the area. Good god, I totally NEVER saw this coming, what a total plot twist, thank you, Lionsgate! (Seriously though, Lionsgate, please stick to making things you're good at like horror films and action flicks.)
The pride and proper Kate is of course freaked out and disgusted par the idea and instantly pesters the geese into finding a way home. Humphrey, being the stereotypical young male is all for this, however.
So now the journey's on to get back home, K&H wind up jumping on a truck to hitch a ride. Low and behold, their trip is cut short par Humphrey fooling around at a gas station and almost getting them shot. Without a ride, the two continue on foot as it starts storming outside, what a coincidence to set the mood for what's about to happen. Kate is too stubborn to find shelter, and Humphrey is too idiotic to cooperate with her so he tries joking around to change her mind. This annoys her and she winds up ditching him momentarily.
Turns out, ditching was a bad idea and our badass alpha Kate winds up trapped in a mudslide, who could possibly come rescue her in conditions like this?! That's right, Humpy to the rescue! And this time he's literally swinging into the action in style, on a vine Tarzan style! (Because toi KNOW there's plenty of jungle vines to be found in the rugged, rocky, mountainous terrain of rural Idaho! ;P)
Kate grabs his tail and the two work together to balançoire, swing themselves to safety. Even Kate momentarily believes Humphrey perished in the mudslide and pities him. Maybe if toi hadn't been such a stuck up bitch, none of this would've happened, just a suggestion!
So now that Kate agrees that defying nature is dangerous, her and Humphrey lit down for the night in a shelter. Back at Jasper Park, we see tensions are building between the packs and Winston firmly clarifies that regardless of finding Kate, they will defend their territory if the Easterners invade. Whoo, I like this guy! Oh yeah, he's one of the few redeeming characters in this film, duh!
Morning comes and we return to Kate and Humphrey. Facing each other nose to nose and Humphrey wakes up happy to this of course. Naturally, they're interrupted par Marcel and Paddy, who knew? The fowl rudely reprimand them for being asleep and to get moving. Like, what's wrong with letting them wake up on their own terms? I digress...
So Marcel points to another option to get accueil that requires the couple to traverse a dangerous mountain in order to reach a train on the other side. It's here we see a bond starting to form between the wolves, OMG I know right? I like totally never saw that coming at all, did you?!
At the haut, retour au début of the mountain, Humphrey disturbs a mother grizzly ours and winds up getting himself and Kate chased to the edge of a cliff. Like these loups are known for killing ours cubs, and momentarily Humphrey had the cub alone but instead was throwing snowballs at it? Gimme a break! They wind up falling off a cliff which ultimately ends with the two bobsledding, bobsleigh, faire du bobsleigh down a colline on a broken piece of arbre hull. This part was kinda fun I admit, and then they just barely happen to land aboard the moving train at the bottom of the hill. Giggling and now having a good time. It's very apparent Kate has lightened up and is no longer a stuck up bitch, yay!
We pan back to Jasper, and see Lilly and Garth spending time together. This is undoubtedly the characters I appreciate most in the film, they're genuinely in l’amour par this point and it's just oh so cute! Not forced together like Kate and Humphrey were.
Lilly is trying to teach Garth how to howl properly, and it winds up with the two of them "singing" together in a lovely little duet. Same goes for Kate and Humphrey back on the train and even that scene was touching. These sequences are the only parts where the writers really got it spot on in the entire film, so, for that I'm giving it two big thumbs up! The whole movie could've just been those scenes in my opinion and nothing else!
Sadly, this important moment between Kate and Humphrey is interrupted par none other than our annoying fowl friends, kindly reminding the couple Jasper is just a few miles up. Yeah, as if a wolf's super sense of smell wouldn't be able to pick up it's own territory? Ugh..
And so we get a brief anecdote on how Kate and Humphrey enjoyed the trip together and actually had fun. This obviously quickly turns into Humphrey trying to confess his feelings to Kate but is interrupted when she sees the loup packs about to break out into a epic fight for the valley and disembarks the train. Something I found yet off camber again, a loup wouldn't be able to jump off a locomotive traveling at speed like that and land gracefully on the ground, it just wouldn't happen! :P
Humphrey follows her, same thing, gracefully lands on the ground with no tumbling around whatsoever.
I'm tired of writing, so long story short, Kate agrees to marry Garth, and on the wedding day, a giant stampede breaks out and the loups start fighting because Tony finds out that Garth fell in l’amour with Lilly instead of Kate. Tony and Winston get caught up in the stampede and Kate and Humphrey manage to save them, although Kate gets taken out par a caribou and is presumed dead par everyone. The packs all break out in a mournful sermon of howling and everyone's just hunky dory all the sudden. I mean yeah, the scene was touching, but in reality, as soon as the dust cleared, the packs would be right back at trying to rip each other's throats out again!
Kate wakes up after the howl and confesses her l’amour to Humphrey, the latter does the same and the pack leaders agree that maybe this way it can work. Lilly pounces on Garth and they nuzzle, which ceremoniously unites the packs and everyone howls in approval. Kate and Humphrey do the same but in a less ceremonial way.
The movie ends with a real cringe howl sequence similar to the Moonlight Howl at the beginning of the film, which I won't bother delving into it.
I rate the first film a 4/10, while it is very flawed, it's not TERRIBLE as it could be. I find it watchable and enjoyable myself at times and own it on blu ray.
As far as any of the A&O sequels are concerned, I'm going to make this short: THEY'RE ABSOLUTE TRASH, RUN AWAY AND BURN THAT SHIT BEFORE IT GIVES toi CANCER CELLS! IF toi ENJOY A&O 1 LIKE I DO, NEVER EVER WATCH THE SEQUELS, toi WILL THANK ME!