These days, Hollywood is skittish about staking the millions necessary to produce a blockbuster film on an original script. While it is safer to go with a known quantity and leverage a built-in audience, it’s just not quite as exciting or fun. That said, the first official trailer for Sony Pictures’ wholly original, unadapted, prehistoric survival epic Alpha has us very intrigued.
Released on Tuesday, the nearly three-minute-long spot features little dialogue, but feels thrilling and epic in a very organic way. Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse, Slow West) plays the as-of-yet unnamed title character who is injured and separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt and befriends a wolf in his quest to survive and return to his people.
Set in what is now Europe, the story takes place roughly 20,000 years ago in what’s referred to as the Upper Paleolithic period (aka the most recent Ice Age). The film’s effects team looks to have done a bang-up job building the prehistoric world, which feels immense, looks gorgeous, and seems less CGI-ified than other films of its ilk (we’re looking at you, 10,000 BC).
Albert Hughes will direct, but will do so without Allen, his twin brother, who collaborated with him on both Menace II Society and The Book of Eli. While the latter does share some major themes with Alpha (survival, perseverance, etc.), the helmer is certainly not the safest, most obvious choice for the gig. Again, we have to give props to Sony Pictures Entertainment for be willing to depart from the formula that some argue has made Hollywood creatively stale in recent years.
Also of note, here, is the presence of Game of Thrones alum Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Tau) and the fact that this film will be shot in IMAX 3D, which seems like the only way to fly with the size and scope of the project.
All in all, it looks like this film could be very strong, but its planned March 2 release does betray a lack of faith in its ability to put butts in theaters seats. For the sake of gestating original scripts everywhere, we hope it outperforms expectations.
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