4 August 2017 | TheLittleSongbird
A journey not worth getting invested in and a less than epic war
Made the decision, despite not caring much at all for the first 'Alpha and Omega', to see its follow-ups (yes there is a franchise) out of curiosity (not as a hate campaign as some defenders will no doubt insinuate) and as an enormous fan of animation, would see anything regardless of critical reception.
Of the seven sequels, 'Journey to Bear Kingdom' to me is the least bad and the best since the first. The villainous wolves actually did serve a threat which did generate a little bit of tension, and the conflict made sense than any of the conflicts in the previous sequels. That is not saying that 'Journey to Bear Kingdom' is good, it's still very bad. Just not as irredeemably awful as the previous seven sequels. Love animation, always judge a film for what they set out to do and for what they are taking into account the target audience. It is just hard not to be hard on the 'Alpha and Omega' follow ups because they insult the intelligence of children and adults alike in what is intended to be a family film where children and adults can judge and are of such poor quality.
Let's start with the animation, a marginal step up from the insultingly amateurish (even by 'Alpha and Omega' sequels standards) animation seen in 'Dino Digs' but the quality is still an assault on the senses. The animation wasn't the best in the first film but it had its decent moments. It however is 'Toy Story' compared to the animation quality here, which is not quite Video Brinquedo, Spark Plug Entertainment or 'Foodfight' bad but almost and on the same level as 'The Swan Princess' CGI films. Blocky character designs, almost creepy expressions, very flat colours, a complete lack of fluidity in movement, endless goofs as long as your arm and less than meticulously detailed backgrounds are reminiscent of computer animation and video games in their infancy, something that one does not expect at all for 2017 even for low budget when technology has advanced as much as it has. Animation for water has never looked more hideous.
Can say no better for the music either. None of it fits with what's going on, stylistically it feels out of place and out of kilter, it's obtrusive and it's not even good music on its own. The writing is even worse, summing up in one word it's abominable. half-baked ideas and any parts that strive to be funny or poignant instead come across as eye-rollingly cheesy or cloying.
Worse are the "funny" jokes and dialogue, which are not funny at all, one groans at some of the wordplay/puns and older audiences who are children at heart whenever seeing animation (like me, one is never too old to appreciate animation and it is not strictly oriented towards kids only) will question the appropriateness of some of it.
'Journey to Bear Kingdom' may have the best story of the sequels in that it actually feels like there is signs of one. It is still very thin and a lot of it plods in pace and feels padded and repetitive. The action is the best of all the sequels, but, while with a little tension, the suspense and the excitement aren't there, it seems derivative, there are a few moments that make one cringe and are completely misplaced and it's badly animated. This is one less than epic war.
Few of the characters engage, faring best are the villains and the Queen bear. The others are bland, due to being cast to the side-lines and barely in it, annoying or pointless.
Voice acting continues to be weak.
In conclusion, the best of the sequels but that's not saying much. 2/10 Bethany Cox