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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Alpha and Omega 3: The Great Wolf Games is the second direct-to-DVD sequel to the original Alpha and Omega adventure. The movie is fine for younger kids; there are positive messages about fair play, good sportsmanship, and gender discrimination in sports. Families who liked the original movie may enjoy seeing Kate and Humphrey's offspring learn to navigate their own alpha and omega friendships.
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What's the story?
Humphrey and Kate's three young wolves introduced in Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure are now "juveniles" or young adults, and they find out that various area packs are competing in an Olympics-style inter-pack competition, the Great Wolf Games. At first they're told they can't compete, but, after convincing Humphrey to be their coach and enlisting a bear and a porcupine to join their team, Stinky, Claudette, and Runt are ready to race. Claudette discovers that years ago her mom was the star of her winning team and hopes to prove a worthy successor, but the rival team's bitter coach will stop at nothing to see his son's team beat Kate's offspring.
Is it any good?
This movie is a considerable step up from the forgettable holiday special, but it still suffers from the lack of polish that many direct-to-DVD features share. The production values are fairly poor, to the point that a mud pool looks laughably awful in one scene, and there are times when the mouth movements don't quite match the dialog. For those who aren't bothered by the animation level, at least the plot is more thought-out than the previous sequel's and involves positive themes about fair play, discrimination, girls in sports, and teamwork.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it's necessary for animated movies to put out these straight-to-DVD sequels. What's their appeal? Are they the same quality as the original theatrical films?
What is the movie's message about discrimination and sports? Why is Claudette being good at the race so upsetting to Coach Nars?
How does this movie compare to the other ones in the series? Do you think there are still more stories to tell about these characters?
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