out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Jason Patric, Emilio Echevarria, Patrick Wilson, Maurice Ripke, Laura Clifton, Philip Olivas, Jett Garner, Todd Reimers, Nick Kokich, W. Earl Brown, Matthew O'Leary||
Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4
Ever since silent films, movie-makers have remembered the Alamo. Perhaps
John Wayne's 1960 folklore version is the most famous. Now that iconic military
engagement is revisited.
The story begins in the 1820s, when Mexico encouraged development of its
northern territory by offering free land to anyone, including U.S. citizens,
who would settle there. By the early 1830's, conflict arose between the Mexican
government and American residents or "Texians." As an organized rebellion
developed, frontiersmen like Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) and boozy Jim
Bowie (Jason Patric) took command, along with colorless Lt. Col. William B.
Travis (Patrick Wilson). They were among the nearly 200 Texians killed in 1836
defending The Alamo, an old Franciscan mission-turned-fortress, during a savage
13-day siege by sadistic Gen. Santa Anna (Emilio Echevarria) and his 1,400
Mexican soldiers. Two months later, Gen. Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid) wreaked
revenge at San Jacinto, shouting: "Remember the Alamo!"
If this sounds like a solemn history lesson, it is. Writers Leslie Bohem,
Stephen Gaghan and John Lee Hancock, who also directed, go for authenticity. So
the characters are flawed and dull - with the exception of Crockett, thanks to
the eccentricity of Billy Bob Thornton. Meticulous attention is paid to the
accuracy of the grandiose production; a canon-ball shot is amazing. And Carter
Burdwell's wooden-flute music adds flavor. (Director Ron Howard's
pre-production departure, with writer John Sayles and actor Russell Crowe, took
its toll.) On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Alamo" is a talky,
thoughtful, if rambling 6. But I suspect Disney chief Michael Eisner may
someday want to forget he forked over $100 million for "The Alamo."
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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