You will remember The Alamo — as one of the longest, most anticlimactic films released this year.
The film opens with Titanic-like music, already signaling its desire to become the long, highly grossing epic of the new millennium. Unfortunately, while it strives for all of the above, throughout its duration, The Alamo only delivers length.
The film follows the famed tale of the Texan mission church, the Alamo. At the center of a crossroads, the mission was constantly in the heat of battle. The action of this particular battle takes place in 1836, the final and most infamous battle the Alamo was to endure.
While several rich white men deliberate how to separate the still unformed state of Texas from the motherland, Mexican dictator Santa Ana tries to get the territory all for himself. With an army of 2,000 men, Santa Ana severely outnumbers the 138 men stationed within the walls of the mission.
But who are we kidding here, everyone dies in the end. Yes, even the brave — and, according to the script — quite funny — Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton).
Just like all other historical films where the outcome is known, it becomes incredibly hard to achieve a climactic point in a movie with no surprise ending. So hard, in fact, that The Alamo was destined to fail the moment it was conceived.
The film is a remake of 1960’s The Alamo, starring John Wayne and a very, very young Frankie Avalon. The plot, as one may guess, is quite similar.
To the film’s credit, The Alamo is well-directed by John Lee Hancock. It has great visual effects and camera action.
There are many more cons, however, than pros. The accents of the actors fade in and out, with the exception of Thornton, whose accent is genuine.
The script reaches new lows when the Alamo is finally conquered, and the writers’ desire to make audiences cry delves for the most drastic of all measures — an indication of a dying puppy. And, at 137 minutes, the film is twice as long as it should have been.
The Alamo makes itself out to be a patriotic film, which portrays Americans in the most positive of all lights. All the while, the Mexicans — or any other foreigners fighting against the “truth” of America — are portrayed as tyrants and fools.
How appropriate that such a commentary should come after battles in Iraq are claiming more American lives everyday. But to call The Alamo a piece of propaganda would give its writers too much credit. The film simply appeared at a time that accentuates the agenda.
The film’s cast is well chosen, save for the vocal training. Patrick Wilson, son of FOX 13 anchor John Wilson, does well with the part he is given, as do the rest of the cast including Dennis Quaid and Jason Patric. The best performance, however, is by Emilio Echevarria (Santa Ana). He is full of emotion, rage and, when time calls for it, cold blood.
The Alamo’s patriotic message, especially at a time when patriotism is the main slogan for all politicians, will draw crowds at the box office. But whether these crowds will leave happy depends only on how long they can wait to find out what is already known. After all, they haven’t forgotten the Alamo, have they?