The Alamo (2/10)
2004 by Tony Medley
Howardís name is on the credit as ďproducer,Ē he was Disneyís
original choice as Director. But Howard wanted a different script and an
R-rated story, so he was bumped up to a Producer credit and John Lee
Hancock was brought in to direct. The result is that Hancockís The
Alamo is too long and very slow. How long is it? It only took
Mexican General Santa Annaís forces 90 minutes from start to finish to
capture the Alamo and kill all the Texians, including Davy (please call
me David) Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton), but it takes The Alamo
137 minutes to tell the story.
There are a lot of
reasons why itís too long. For one thing, we all know the story.
Approximately 2,500 Mexicans under the leadership of Santa Anna
massacred approximately 189 people defending the Alamo. It takes The
Alamo 137 minutes to tell an 18-word story (I apologize for being
redundant, but you didnít have to sit through the entire 137 minutes,
as I did).
For another, Hancock
hasnít presented any characters we care about or any conflict that
involves us. Oh, Travis (Patrick Wilson), the 26-year-old lawyer who
commanded the troops, doesnít get along with Jim Bowie (Jason Patric),
but itís not presented as a terrific conflict that cries for
resolution. Virtually nothing happens inside the Alamo thatís of any
interest. You might think that everyone would hate Santa Anna (Emilio
Echevarria) since he was the attacking general, but, no, heís not
hateful and thereís no conflict between him and Travis or any of the
other defenders of the Alamo.
Dennis Quaid plays
General Sam Houston, who knew the Alamo was indefensible and wanted it
abandoned, as an always-angry caricature. Poor Dennisís implausible
characterization is undoubtedly the result of a weak script and feeble
Santa Anna lays
siege to the Alamo for 10 days, then attacks. I was surprised everyone
inside wasnít dead already from boredom.
I did like Billy Bob
Thorntonís interpretation of Davy Crockett. Iíve never been a
Thornton fan, but he gives Davy a different twist than weíve seen
has tried this story at least three times now, 1936, 1960 (John Wayne),
and now this. When will they get the message, to wit, the story of the
Alamo is not a good basis for a movie?
April 6, 2004