Alpha: A Little Review

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The kids and I went to see Alpha today. Let’s call it my final birthday gift to myself. I was just glad to see that it was still in the theater.

Alpha is an interesting story about how the domestication of man’s best friend might have come about. They probably skipped a few steps, but as far as a story goes, and some of the anthropological insights into life in the good old days 20,000 years ago, it was fairly decent. Anthropology is not my main subject but from what I have studied I think the recreation of life then was as accurate as any speculative idea can be.

Having grown up during a time when we were essentially taught at the most base level that our ancestors were cold, ruthless, and more like animals than we are, I appreciated how the characters and the relationships between them were developed. From my understanding now, this is far more realistic than some of the things I was told way back in the 70s and 80s.

The story is very typical of a children’s man-v-elements film. There isn’t a lot of action, and a lot the story can be formulaic. My only real concern was that BC, who has autism and is more around three than nine, would grow bored because it was all in subtitles. But the film was visually explanatory and this didn’t hinder his understanding at all. In fact, he really enjoyed the film.

The invention of a language was, I thought, one of the more creative parts of the film. It was created by an Anthropology professor from Canada, Christine Schreyer. You can read about the process here.

Overall, it is a film worthy of your time. 🙂

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