Alamo

Movie Review by Almiro Jorge

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson
Director: John Lee Hancock

A memorable moment in history… A grand John Wayne battle… but will we remember this remake of the Alamo?

The story of the Alamo is well known to most of us. In 1836, almost 200 Texans were held at the Alamo under siege by General Santa Anna. As the great ruler of Mexico led his forces to the Alamo’s gates and terrorized the fortified town, the only thing that stood between him and his victory were the three American heroes: Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and the 200 Texans. For thirteen days, the General put fear into the hearts of the Texans – a people of all races who believed in the future of Texas. A horrific bloodbath decided the fate of the Alamo.

The theme of this story is dominated by the self-conflict of the four leaders, namely: Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid), Col. William Travis (Patrick Wilson), Jim Bowie (Jason Patric) and Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) and the conflict between each other.

There are no bad performances in the film but a great performance by Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett is definitely the highlight of the film. As we learn about the legend of Crockett, it becomes apparent that his reputation precedes him as a larger than life character that has superhuman powers; a person that can leap rivers and kill bears empty-handedly. Thornton delivers the only truly chilling moments in the film: firstly, as he tells a campfire story of a battle with the Indians and again when he plays his fiddle on the roof to the beat of the Mexican drums.

At times the director boasts beautiful photography, which captivates the audience and at other times it seems as if he is caught between making a grand epic and a family film. The film fails to bring out the desired dramatic effect and seems bland; even the sight of dead men strewn across the encampment does not seem to shock. The script finds itself lacking in many instances, although it sometimes does create perfect moments especially with some great one-liners by Billy Bob Thornton.

To the credit of the film, it has reportedly been cut from a three-hour length feature to 136 minutes. A longer film would have been too drawn out since most of the last hour is a waiting period, as the forces get ready to attack the Alamo.

It will probably not be the biggest earner this year but the trip down to the movies is definitely worth it, to appreciate some of the great photography in the film.

Remember the Alamo!

4 out of 6 stars

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