Implications of wild-animal violence make"Alpha and Omega," an animated feature about wolves in the Rockies, an iffy choice for kids younger than 6. Add to that a misguided visual style that gives wolves pig-like noses and weird hair and you have a disappointing film. Not that "Alpha and Omega" (made in lackluster 3-D) doesn't have moments of charm and humor kids 6 and older will like, but these are not abundant.
Kate (voice of Hayden Panettiere) is a wolf cub entering adolescence. As the daughter of pack leader Winston (Danny Glover), she's an alpha huntress. Her childhood friend Humphrey (Justin Long) loves Kate, but as an omega, he's expected to be a clown and keep the pack entertained. Tradition dictates that alphas and omegas do "howl" together - the script's euphemism for mating. Kate learns she's expected to marry Garth (Chris Carmack), the son of Tony (Dennis Hopper), who leads a rival pack. One day Kate and Humphrey go out wandering and are shot with tranquilizer darts and transferred from their Canadian home to Idaho by rangers. A golf-playing goose (Larry Miller) and his duck caddy (Eric Price) help the pair get back to Canada. Along the way, they're shot at and chased by bears. Will they get back in time to prevent the rival pack from attacking their pack? And will Kate marry Garth or see that Humphrey is her soul mate?
The bottom line: There are enough scary moments in "Alpha and Omega" to unsettle toddlers - those huge bears, the shotgun, and also Kate's mom making explicit threats of lethal wolf violence to anyone she believes threatens her family. Scenes of caribou stampeding are also harrowing. The film includes brief toilet humor and mild sexual innuendo.