The Alamo

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson,
Written By: John Lee Hancock
Directed By: John Lee Hancock
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
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The $96 million dollar budgeted action-drama epic, The Alamo didn’t perform well at the box office, but the story proves to be the most historically accurate picture yet. Huge sets, exciting action and interesting character development makes The Alamo a fun movie to watch. Well except that they all die for the most part.

Not exactly a fair fight, The Alamo is about a group of 180 men, give or take, fighting the dictator Santa Anna of Mexico and nearly 4,000 of his men. At this time, Texas was just a republic and not a state. Not that I knew this going in since I didn’t pay attention in history class. Sorry former teachers. Brought to The Alamo, a mission ordered to be protected, were Jim Bowie (Jason Patric,) Lt. Col. William Barrett (Patrick Wilson,) and David Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton.) Crockett’s character is developed the most and is an enigma. Here you have a historical legend, even one the Mexican armies have heard of, and the other trait is one of modesty. David Crockett is a congressman, and has a legend to live up to. Though, he just really wants to be a soldier and not the man who can pull ‘Haley’s Comit’ out from the sky. Jason Patric plays Jim Bowie’s character with great respect and admiration, and unfortunately, you do not see him for the most part of the second half of the movie. Bowie develops tuberclosis and is on death’s door throughout the picture. Stricken, Jim Bowie’s still has the desire to lead his army and fight. The other character is Lt Col William Barrett, a “two bit dandy,” as Jason Patric’s Bowie refers to him in the movie. A goody two shoe Colonel who is assigned to The Alamo to protect it, leaves behind a family in Alabama. He clashes with Jim Bowie on how to run The Alamo, and where cannons and troops are to be placed. There is a more deeper dislike for one another that is only lightly touched upon. Lt Col William Barrett strives to be a hero like Davey Crockett. He grips with decisions and reality and only becomes enlightened while at The Alamo on how to be a hero. The Alamo was surrounded for almost two weeks and the troops could only know that they were doomed. I think they had a small ray of hope that reinforcements would show up to save the day but as you in the movie, that was not happening. Dennis Quaid’s character Sam Houston, was a leader who wanted to make a name for himself as well. He was supposed to send more troops to the Alamo but did not do so in order for future strategies. Therefore, he understood he was losing all the men at The Alamo, so that in a few days Santa Anna’s troops were weakened and scattered. The scary part about the massacre at The Alamo is that Sam Houston’s men defeated Santa Anna’s troops in 18 minutes a few days after The Alamo. Sam Houston chose to spare Santa Anna’s life in return for Texas and Mexican troops to return home.

Extras on the disk were very educational and fun to watch. The first was the making of “Return of the Legend:The Making of The Alamo,” which covered many aspects of the film’s production, like the massive sets, costumes, arsenal and weaponry. The other featurrettes were “Walking in the Footsteps of Heroes,” which covered the four heroes in the movie, David Crockett, Jim Bowie, Sam Houston and Lt Col William Barrett. This featurette showed drawings of the real life characters and how they were portrayed in the movie. According to the pictures, the actors did a great job portraying the real life people. Also check out the deleted scenes which gives you some back story to Santa Anna, and a few other quick scenes.

Overall, I enjoyed the Alamo. A few things I thought were wrong with the movie, like pacing and not enough drama/action in the beginning, as well as some of the quality of the transfer. Some images seemed to be grainy and blurred due to different gradients on the lenses. I still liked the film. The ending had me on the edge of my seat. The Alamo is entertaining and educational, and Texans will love it.

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Favorite Scenes: David Crockett’s violin rebuttal to the mexican army’s music, The Battle for The Alamo, Sam Houston’s payback
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 137 minutes
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