Sunday, November 11, 2018


We were transported 20,000 years into the past thanks to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment sending us ALPHA to watch for a family movie night.  This movie that takes you on an Ice Age adventure that tells a story about how canine's became man's best friend became available to add to your home video entertainment library via a digital edition on October 30 and will be out on Blu-ray and DVD beginning November 13, 2018. ALPHA has a run time of approximately 96 minutes and is rated PG-13 for some intense peril. While the movie is void of sex, swearing or stomach churning gore because of death scenes, some action sequences and the use of sub-titles for dialogue it probably isn't suited for viewing by preschoolers though I still recommend it for a family movie night if the children in your household are elementary school aged and older.

In ALPHA, the impending winter season leads a fearful seventeen-year-old boy named Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to accompany his father Tau (Johannes Hakur Johannesson) and other members of his Cro-Magnon tribe on their annual bison hunt. While dangerous this hunt provides the tribe with the food it needs to make it through the frigid, snow filled winter months of the Ice Age. During the trek, Keda's boyhood friend is snatched away from the group's nighttime campfire and eaten by a beast then he is critically injured by a charging bison as the hunt is taking place. Left for dead by his companions, Keda finds himself alone in an unfamiliar wilderness.

The survival skills his father taught him begin to kick in as the boy tries to find his way home.  Along his way home, Keda reluctantly tames a lone wolf that has been abandoned by its pack which he names Alpha.  The pair learn to rely on each other becoming unlikely allies as they endure a variety of dangers ranging from predatory animals to hazardous weather.  Will they find Keda's tribe? You'll have to watch ALPHA to find out!

In addition to sending us this movie, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment also made a donation to the WOLF CONSERVATION CENTER (WCC) of South Salem, New York to adopt one of their wolves named Nikai on our behalf. Founded by Hélène Grimaud in 1999, the WCC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that works to protect and preserve wolves in North America through science-based education, advocacy, and participation in the federal recovery and release programs for two critically endangered wolf species - the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf. The WCC's Endangered Species Facility is home to a number of these wolves providing them with a safe habitat.  While most of these wolves are isolated from humans, the WCC does have wolf ambassadors that participate in presentations to teach the public about these animals important role in the environment. Through working to protect and preserve wolf populations, the WCC hopes to promote broader messages encouraging people to support conservation, ecological balance and personal responsibility for the stewardship of our planet's environment.

My family received from the WCC a packet that included an adoption certificate for Nikai that was "signed" with a paw print from one of the wolf ambassadors named Atka.  It also included an 8x10 photo of Nikai and a fact sheet about this four year old grey wolf. It seems we adapted a celebrity as he was a viral sensation in a WCC YouTube video "Wolf Pup Hiccups!" that has had more than a million views. We also received a 2019 Wolf Conservation Center calendar and an adorable plush wolf that my daughter has constantly been hugging ever since it arrived at our house.

With the holidays coming up consider giving gifts that support the WCC. Make a donation to symbolically adopt one of their wolves. They also have some nice apparel available. I really like the sharp looking baseball cap being sold on their online store!  They also have a number of stuffed animals based upon the wolves cared for by the WCC that would make great Christmas presents.

Whether you want to pick up ALPHA for a family movie night or a holiday gift don't miss out on seeing this movie.  I really enjoyed taking in the scenery as a majority of ALPHA was filmed in Alberta, Canada's Dinosaur Provincial Park and at locations around Iceland rather than in front of a green screen within a movie studio. Also being in the process of training our family's own puppy, I was impressed by the use of a trained dog to portray the wolf in the movie versus the use of CGI. You really felt like you were observing a real wolf on the screen while watching ALPHA.  The imagery of this movie makes it a must see in my opinion and earns it A Geek Daddy nod of approval.

For bonus features you'll want to pick up the Blu-ray or Digital releases of ALPHA. These include an alternate opening and ending to the movie and three deleted scenes along with a Director's Cut that aren't available on DVD. Blu-ray, Digital and DVD all contain two featurettes. "The Wolf Behind Alpha" introduces viewers to Chuck, the dog/wolf hybrid that plays the role of Alpha. You also get an inside look into the training that Chuck and Kodi Smit-McPhee went through to create a real life bond in "Boy & Wolf."

For more information about the movie, visit or check out the film's social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. While on social media don't forget to follow A Geek Daddy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!

A Geek Daddy received a complimentary Blu-ray + Digital movie combo pack and a Wolf Conservation Center adaption kit from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for promotional consideration. The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

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