The Alamo — Movie Review // #JPMN #BoxOfficeBomb

Published on March 8, 2024

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• The Alamo (2004) — Barely coherent, but put together well enough, 4/10.

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Review Script
Based on the battle of the Alamo, this John Lee Hancock war film was released in April of 2004, where it failed to earn back even a quarter of its massive $107-million dollar budget. Its $94 million in losses make this picture one of the least successful movies ever made. The drawn-out, 137-minute narrative depicts the true story of Texan frontiersman defending a small church outpost from Santa Anna’s invading Mexican forces, during the winter of 1836. The outnumbered militia are led by the headstrong, but disrespected Patrick Wilson as Lieutenant Colonel Travis, Jason Patric as a hot-tempered Jim Bowie in failing health, and Billy Bob Thornton as the folk-hero Davy Crocket, who carries a larger-than-life reputation. Dennis Quaid is featured as Sam Houston rather sparingly in a wraparound story, despite being first billed. With the exception of Patric, who has never been convincing, most of the cast do a fine job with their mutton-chop facial hair, and period-accurate dialogue… it’s just a damn shame the lines they’re given are so dismally written. Thornton is especially great as the “King Of The Wild Frontier”, sharing haunting and cautionary tales of his former exploits with his fellow defenders. The PG-13 rated story seemingly jumps into the plot with no explanation of the players involved, or the politics of the Texas revolution. Director Hancock just foolishly assumes the audience understands all the nuances of a 170-year-old conflict. On a technical level however, “The Alamo” is an extremely well-made production, complete with a patriotic score from Carter Burwell, believable visual effects, solid battle choreography, and wonderful cinematography that frames the old-west sets and locations. In fact, the 51-acre recreation of the titular building and surrounding fortifications was the largest and most expensive set ever built in North America. Sadly though, all of this production effort is wasted on an uninteresting, and poorly structured script – which amounts to nothing more than a well-polished turd. Indeed, individual scenes actually seem to contradict themselves, as characters are made to look incompetent and hesitant with their decisions only to immediately outline a sound strategic plan. The audience is left to interpret these scenes at face value. To that end, the reasons for defending this tiny mission are not adequately explained, making the actions of the Texans seem more foolhardy than brave. I first watched, and even reviewed this film when it came out ten years ago, but despite the film’s tag-line, “You will never forget”, there wasn’t a single scene or moment I actually remembered. When Quaid excitedly musters his troops for a retaliatory strike, he famously yells, “You will remember this battle! But that is for tomorrow, gentlemen. For today, remember the Alamo”. What is normally a powerful quote from history resonates instead as ironic, given the lackluster and boring events that preceded it. Ultimately, this is the story of 189 proud individuals who gave their lives defending each other, and fighting for Texan independence… yet this film completely fails to convince the audience to care when every single last one of them is killed. Historians, Texans, and Alamo enthusiasts may enjoy the picture for its reported historical accuracy, but most others should avoid this dreary and forgetful experience. Although barely coherent or even entertaining, “The Alamo” is put together well enough that I’ll score it a MEH…

What Is The History Of The Alamo

What Is The History Of The Alamo, The Alamo — Movie Review // #JPMN #BoxOfficeBomb.

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