Just in case you had forgotten, America is awesome.
And in case you need further proof, “The Alamo” is
here. Unfortunately, “The Alamo,” the story of an
extremely deadly battle, is not all that awe-inspiring. Instead,
it’s rather boring, and despite the fact that it is both
authentic-looking and sounding, it feels utterly artificial.
The trouble starts where there should not be any trouble —
the beginning. Here, we have gratuitous shots of dead bodies from
the battle, and a shot of the stern Gen. Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid)
staring at a candle. This is as deep as it gets. From there, the
film flashes backwards one year to the beginning of the Texas
revolution (1835-1836) and meets an odd assortment of cliché
There is Jim Bowie (Jason Patric), who fought a bear and the
legendary Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton), who can leap the
Mississippi River. One keeps hoping that these characters will live
up to their legendary status, but they just do not fulfill. Even
the great Thornton has very little to do except set himself up for
one-liners, which aren’t all that good anyway. The characters
turn into caricatures too quickly for anyone to care about
The biggest caricature of all is the villainous leader of the
Mexican Army, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (Emilio
Echevarría). He is a textbook example of a
“villain,” trying so hard to be evil that he ends up
just looking silly.
One half expects him to whirl around in an armchair while
stroking a cat.
Regardless of the characters, the pacing is all wrong. The movie
drags on for what seems like hours, tugging at the audience’s
patience. The acting is fairly wooden, but the real problem is with
the script. While watching this movie, every line and every speech
a character gives feels strikingly familiar, as if the editors cut
and pasted from other movie scripts. A nice touch during some of
the lengthier speeches given would have been to add tumbleweeds
blowing by. And yet, the actors on screen look surprisingly riveted
by the events playing out.
The battle scenes themselves are not especially exciting either,
although they are big, booming and patriotic. That goes for the
whole movie too. Undoubtedly, the creators of this film have good
intentions, but the result is a melodramatic mess, not even
reaching the popcorn entertainment standards of mediocre historical
fare like “Pearl Harbor.” In the end, “The
Alamo” is like that history teacher you had in high school
who, despite all his mincing around in front of the class, could
not make history fun.
Movie review: 2 out of 5 stars