A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs is the sixth entry in the Alpha and Omega franchise, a 47-minute tale that finds the three adorable wolf pups, Stinky, Claudette, and Runt, befriending a 65-million-year-old gentle dinosaur. Once again, the overarching concept is care and respect for Earth and its creatures, and the enemies of the wildlife population are humans bent on exploiting the planet for monetary gain. Several scenes contain moderate suspense and scares but nothing that kids who are already comfortable with cartoon violence should have problems with. A comically fierce T. rex chases animals and wreaks havoc in the forest. A pack of rogue wolves briefly menaces the pups. And, with great fire and wind, an asteroid hits the earth in a flashback to prehistoric times. Kids will laugh at the sprinkling of toilet humor ("turd," "butt," "pee") and farts. Fine for fans of the engaging Alpha and Omega family, but not quite up to the standards of earlier offerings.
What's the story?
In ALPHA AND OMEGA: DINO DIGS, wolf dad Humphrey (Ben Diskin), mom Kate (Kate Higgins), and their brood have been relocated to "Wolfburbia," a prefab cave complex with all the trappings of what in human terms would be called "a planned community." It's safe and secure, and it's said about its recycled design "Unnatural is the new natural." Unbeknownst to the loving family and their new neighbors, 65 million years earlier, an asteroid buried the earth's dinosaur population in sacred ground nearby. A T. rex and a young raptor have managed to survive deep beneath the surface. When greedy developers and human construction workers (the wolves' familiar old trapper enemies) further disturb the area, prehistoric raptor Amy climbs into the present. Her accidental meeting and friendship with the three wolf pups finds the quartet in a quest to stop the diggers before the T. rex is uncovered and before the rest of the natural world is threatened.
Is it any good?
Endearing characters are back, and there are plenty of kid-friendly laughs, but this adventure is not as clever or well-plotted as previous entries in the franchise. A Las Vegas-style musical production number with geysers and lights is briefly entertaining, but relying on it to move the story doesn't really work. The Alpha and Omega movies have never been lauded for the quality of the animation but for the spirit of the characters and simply stated reminders that wildlife and the planet deserve our respect. These features are intact. And, on a positive note, there's none of the sexual innuendo and much less of the potty humor from earlier entries. Fine for kids, but not special enough to recommend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages in all the Alpha and Omega movies. What are the filmmakers saying about the planet and the creatures that inhabit it? How do Humphrey, Kate, and the pups stand in for all wildlife?
Given the usually frightening role that wolves have played in so many stories, how does this series present a different view of the animal? Do some research and find out about the true behavior of wolves. Why is it important for kids and adults to understand that wolves are not a natural enemy of humankind?
What is the meaning of the movie's statement "Never disturb nature or nature will disturb you"? Identify some specific incidents in which this has proven to be true (i.e., being careless at a campfire).
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