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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-ho 1960 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 singled out for his fine performance, and Dean Semler's cinematography is Oscar-worthy throughout. Of course, any film about the Alamo necessarily includes speculative history, and this one's no exception, but it's got a ring of truth that previous versions conspicuously lacked.--Jeff Shannon
Well worth seeing&buying! Excellent film. I agree with all the other reviewers have written so I won't repeat. I saw the John Wayne film when it was released (many years ago - I was only 7!) and loved it but was very upset that Davey Crockett, who was a hero of mine, had died. I knew nothing of The Alamo and it's history and was shocked by the ending. Since then I've always had a fascination with everything-Alamo. I was excited about the new film and thought it excellent, very well filmed and acted and just a fantastic movie. My only challenge is the way the Crockett character was written. I thought Billy Bob Thornton stole the show, was brilliant as Crockett and the violin scene and his death scene are exceptional pieces of film that stay with you a long time. No, my point is that where I agree and liked the way his character was portrayed (multi-dimensional, flawed, down to earth) I disagree with how he seemed, at all times, to want to dispel his legend and make out that he really wasn't how most people thought of him. Well, he WAS like that when younger. He ended up at The Alamo by chance not realising the seriousness of it all but to try and tell an audience that he wasn't who he was is misleading and irresponsible. Well, that's my only negative point but this in no way interfered with my enjoyment. I loved the film and recommend it 100%.
The Alamo At last I got to see a more factual and historically correct version of the Alamo. I remember the Fess Parker one, and knew most of it was Hollywood. This movie for me was really good, and I enjoyed the acting. Patric was great as Jim Bowie, and so was Dennis Quaid. I enjoyed it completely and recommend it to anyone who wants a more historically correct account of the Alamo.Another Version of The Alamo is of Interest I liked this version of THE ALAMO even though I am a big fan of John Wayne's epic. Billy Bob Thornton's Davy Crockett is a bit of a conundrum. He really had no intention of actually sacrificing his life in this conflict but perhaps was more interested in enhancing his legend. Ultimately he must come to terms with who he really is and is unwittingly perhaps the most heroic figure represented here. I liked Jason Patrick's Jim Bowie because he is a man haunted by memories and is just a shell of what he once was. His fate is also inevitable. It was good to see that the follow up after the fall of The Alamo was included in this film, which gave the sacrifice of the defenders an actual visual presentation in a well-staged battle. The prolific Carter Burwell once again composed a befitting score. This time his score for THE ALAMO is rich and full of emotion and melancholy. Burwell seeks out the motivations and dissolutions of the principal defenders as their inevitable doom becomes apparent. This is Carter Burwell's best score to date and ranks up there next to his score for PSYCHO III. I consider Dimitri Tiomkin's score for John Wayne's THE ALAMO one of the best ever composed but Carter Burwell managed to refocus his music on different elements of that pivotal battle for Texas' Independence in the year of 1836.