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The Alamo (Widescreen Edition) (2004)

Westerns movie directed by John Lee Hancock

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A good idea wasted by a boring, plodding, plot.

  • Apr 13, 2004
Rating:
-1
Pros: Some nice visuals and Thornton

Cons: Plodding story and boring action

The Bottom Line: Nothing great here, wait for the DVD

The classic siege of the Alamo comes to the big screen yet again this time with a mega-budget in “The Alamo”. The film stars Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston and Billy Bob Thornton as Congressman Davie Crockett and chronicles the events that would forever etch the name Alamo into American lore.

While many people know of the battle of the Alamo, few know the range of events that lead up to it and the film does a good job of setting the stage for the classic confrontation between Texas settlers and the vast Mexican forces under General Santa Ana (Emilio Echevarri’a), for control of the region.

The film attempts to fill in much of the lore, but has to speculate on many events as very little is confirmed about the battle aside from the fact that the defenders of the Alamo fought and dies valiantly against overwhelming opposition.

What is shown is that the Alamo was a former mission that is was a strategic point defending the settlements in Texas, which at that time was land that was claimed by Mexico. Sam Houston and many Americans headed to the land as it offered plentiful amounts of land and a chance to start anew for many such as William Travis (Patrick Wilson), who avoided debt and a failed marriage to find success and redemption in the new territory.

Infighting amongst the settlers caused Houston and his forces to deal with political events thus leaving the Alamo without at reliable plan of relief should the Mexican army attack. The attack did come and roughly 183 men found themselves facing off against 2000 battle hardened troops of the Mexican army.

The film shows the setup to the battle well, but the first shot is not even fired until 45 minutes into the film. The main battle does not start until almost 85 minutes into the film and by this point you may find yourself losing interest as the setup is painfully drawn out. Once the battle arrives it fails to satisfy as the action comes to late.

The filmmakers are to be commended for showing that Mexican nationals and slaves fought side by side against the Mexican forces for the cause of freedom as this is a fact that is often overlooked by the very history that inspired the film.

Another issue with the film is that the cast was woefully underused as Quaid spends the majority of the film scowling and aside from the Battle of San Jacinto is given little to do save drink and grumble to anyone who will listen. Thornton attempt to add some life to the film but aside from some colorful moments Crockett is largely relegated to playing the part of folk hero to the troops. Another issue is the woefully underused Jason Patrick as James Bowie who aside from flashing his namesake knife spends the majority of the film bed ridden dying from consumption and offers little to the story.

The film is not a total loss but due to its plodding pace, is better suited for a rental.


2.5 stars out of 5


Recommended:
No

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More The Alamo reviews
review by . October 01, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
THE ALAMO suffered in its theatrical release because of the flap it received in the media, articles condemning its production history and personal swings at far too many people. Had all of those gossipy rumors not surfaced, perhaps the public might have been able to view this solid American history re-enactment for what it is - a well written, character driven, well acted blockbuster grand movie. Yes, it is lengthy, but the length itself helps communicate the intensity and inevitable failure of …
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Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
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I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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Wiki

Despite a troubled production history including a switch in directors, budget overruns, and delayed release dates,The Alamoturned out to be a remarkably intelligent mini-epic of corrective historical biography. Dispensing with the grandiose myth-making of previous films on this subject (including John Wayne's gung-ho1960 version), this well-written film breathes new, credibly dimensional life into the stodgy legends of Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton), Jim Bowie (Jason Patric), and Lt. Col. William Travis (Patrick Wilson), who fought with 185 Anglo-"Texican" settlers (some historians claim their numbers were closer to 250) during the bloody 13-day siege by 5,000 Mexican soldiers at the titular San Antonio mission-turned-fortress in 1836. While Gen. Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid) anguishes over military strategy and reluctantly withholds much-needed support, the Alamo defenders face the unbeatable multitudes commanded by Mexican Gen. Santa Anna (Emilio Echevarria), and the screenplay (on which John Sayles was an early contributor, when Ron Howard was slated to direct) allows the central heroes to reveal a richer, more substantial humanity beneath their mythic reputations. Tackling his biggest production to date, director John Lee Hancock (who previously worked with Quaid onThe Rookie) reportedly shot 100 hours of footage, so it's almost miraculous that this 135-minute battle drama is so evenly balanced in telling its oft-told tale. Thornton was deservedly ...
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Details

Director: John Lee Hancock
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2004
Runtime: 137 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
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