Blu-ray Review: Alpha and Omega 3 - The Great Wolf Games (2014)

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Timed to tie-in with the Olympic Games, this straight-to-disc sequel from the director of Disney’s The Fox and the Hound easily surpasses the introductory film in the Alpha and Omega franchise, while likewise making up for what it lacks in celebrity voice actors with breathtaking computer generated animation and a universally relatable plotline.

Although The Great Wolf Games referenced in the title is an obvious play on the Olympics complete with clever digs about fairness in judging with home advantage bias, screenwriter Tom Kane takes it to a more easily identifiable level.

Less about the games than their true meaning, as the film continues it moves beyond the event to explore the tendency for drama among sports parents and youth coaches who live vicariously through their child athletes as a commentary on Little League parents and the like.

When the offspring of the eponymous wolf couple from the first film encounter wolves their age practicing for the games in other packs nearby, the headstrong alpha Claudette becomes inspired.

Vowing to bring back the spirit of the event which her dad Humphrey said used to be open to all critters (and not just alpha wolves), Claudette takes it upon herself to put together a diverse team of five members – recruiting a fearful bear cub and a flying porcupine along with her younger twin brothers Stinky and Runt to form their own Western Pack.

Working with her team to help overcome their weaknesses from emotional Brent the bear’s bird issues or the fast-talking porcupine Agnes’s plan to negotiate as many berry bushes and salmon falls as possible, the motley Western crew eventually turns to Humphrey to be their coach since Claudette’s more athletically inclined alpha mother is away tending to official forest business.

Befriending a fellow competitor on the Northern Pack whose coach and father pushes him way too hard, Claudette and her new pal Fleet discover that his father’s trying to relive his own youth through his talented son, trying to make amends for the ego blow he took when he lost in the games to none other than Claudette’s mother.

Not wanting to risk losing a new friend or compete for the wrong reasons, when the race is down to Fleet and Claudette, the younger generation realizes they must take it upon themselves to stand up for themselves and each other in this nicely constructed, altogether positive follow-up to the recent holiday themed second installment of the series (which I have yet to review).

Light years ahead of the far more expensive original that suffered from some oddly inappropriate material for children’s fare when it came to exploring the teenage wolves’ more amorous feelings, although Games is only 45 minutes, the eye-popping clarity of the Crest Animation Blu-ray (plus included high definition Ultraviolet digital copy) is quite breathtaking to behold.

Additionally offering two youth friendly games you can play as part of the special features, this budget friendly combo pack also includes a DVD version of Games to ensure you’re able to entertain your own pack regardless of whether you’re at home, in the wild or on the road.

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