FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2018 -- Albert Hughes - half of the movie duo, The Hughes Brothers - takes a major turn with his latest film that travels back 20,000 years to early modern man. If you recall, Roland Emmerich made a similar mistake with his horrid film "10,000 BC" that eventually wound up on just about everyone's 100 worse films ever made. But it seems to be a cyclical thing; every ten years or so some makes a film on prehistoric man.


Old timers remember Don Chaffey's unforgettable "One Million Years B.C." in which he proved that Racquel Welch would be sexy in any epoch. Then there was Michael Chapman's "The Clan of the Cave Bear" which he too cast a really sexy actress in the lead; this time Daryl Hannah in the role as a super hot Cro-magnon gal. There was also Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Quest for Fire" which cast the lovely Rae Dawn Chong with Ron Perlman. Annaud at least had the right idea as to how they should look, the film won an Oscar for Best Makeup. Then Emmerich's fiasco he direted the super cute Camilla Belle and Steven Strait to the downfall of their careers.


Hughes elected to go a completely different route to unbelievablility, as he cast the delicately slim Kodi Smit-McPhee as Keda, son of the tribal chief of a bunch of hunter-gatherers. His father is played by the hulky Johannes Haukur Johannesson and mom is portrayed by the fit looking Leonar Varela. Wouldn't have his father Keda to the creatures from disappointment or are these evolved tribesmen?

The story is basically about Keda going on his first hunting expedition with the rest of the guys from his tribe. His mother is concerned that something might happen to him, presumably because he is so frail and puny, but the father insist that the boy is ready and is stronger than he looks.


The tribal hunters embark on an extremely long trek following markers to where they will find a herd of bison to kill and take home. [NOTE: Hunter/gatherers followed the food by packing up their village - which is how teepees/wigwams/sod houses began; they did not got on hundred mile treks and drag the food back 100-miles.]


Keda get attacked by a bison and is left for dead on the side of a cliff. Some how he survives and begins the arduous trip back to his home village. He is attacked by a pack of wolves and injures one while escaping. After the rest of the pack leaves, Keda takes it upon himself to safe the wolf whom he names Alpha. he then continues his improbably trek with the improbable companionship of the wild wolf that was ready to eat him just a couple of days ago. The weather changes to snow...yadda, yadda, yadda.


Though it is a compelling story akin to Androcles and the lion, history dictates that the probable domestication of the dog began with killing a new mother and taking the pups and raising the pups as pets. Fully adult wild animals aren't really that forgetful that they are wild and that humans are food. That inaccuracy could be overlooked for the sake of entertainment; you can't open a movie of a man killing a mother wolf and taking her pups. However the other inaccuracies are just careless mistakes.


In addition to the fact that Kodi Smit-McPhee is totally unbelievable, he's like a metrosexual caveman; it just doesn't work. And the teeth are just too perfect.


"Alpha" is yet another mistaken attempt to reenact prehistoric life. It probably would be more entertaining if Scarlett Johansson or maybe Jessica Alba were dancing around in animal pelts, but as it is it is miscast and unbelievably inaccurate.   -- GRADE D --   GEOFF BURTON