Alpha and Omega
Starring the voices of Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover, Christina Ricci
Directed by Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Starring the voices of Abbie Cornish, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren
Directed by Zack Snyder
It’s apropos that these two films have been released at this time — right during the political “silly season.” That’s because they have exposed some interesting “facts” about some “political animals” — information that heretofore has not been well known. For example, you may not know this about these animals, but wolves (Alpha and Omega) and owls (Legends of the Guardians):
• Have not been rendered through computer animation (yet) by Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks;
• Are three dimensional (uh, that is, when you put on special glasses);
• Frolic in majestically stunning digital landscapes;
• Look weirdly funny when talking like humans with their beaks and muzzles;
• Have a rich and involved culture complete with politics, histories, traditions and legends;
• Are widely divided politically in that there are those wolves and owls that are tolerant, peaceful, hopeful, and democratic, and then there are wolves and owls that are oppressive, domineering, power-hungry, and mean;
• Have families where some siblings are misfits and struggling, while others are adventurous and competent;
• Have adults that speak with voices that incredibly sound like famous, seasoned human actors;
• Have youngsters that are forcefully abducted from their homes and transported to foreign, unfamiliar and scary lands;
• Have individuals who reject and seek to overthrow the dominant political paradigm;
• Are able to communicate with and seek assistance from members of completely different species — and those foreign animals are more than willing to provide such assistance;
• Have youngsters that are surrounded by a band of supporters and friends that help them make their way in the big, scary world;
• Are menaced by sibling rivalry;
• Encounter birds that speak with a strange and humorous British (or Australian) accent that help them make their way back home;
• Encounter all kinds of perils, obstacles and challenges on their way home;
• Meet up with others of their kind who are goofy and comedic, while others are deadly serious and stern;
• Have to confront the opposable segment of their species and battle them for dominance and power;
• Awkwardly struggle to earn the affections of the opposite sex;
• Provide snarky commentary about those awkward struggles to woo the opposite sex and become young adults;
• Appeal to very young humans, and less so to the adults of the human species;
• Use tools and other devices to help them get what they need and battle each other;
• Learn that they possess more courage, strength and agility than they realize; and
• Communicate with cheesy, hokey dialogue.
I know all of this may be scandalous and outrageous — suggesting that animals possess human traits and similarities (sort of like witchcraft?!). But, these films thought you needed to know all this about these species. At least we now know that we have more in common with our animal brethren than we thought. Nevertheless, although these animals talk, act and think like humans, they don’t physically evolve into humans.
So, I guess that is another thing these films have in common: they both (amazingly!) disprove the theory of evolution.
Doug Young writes about political animals for The Colorado Statesman. He works for Sen. Mark Udall, the king of the jungle.