The Alamo on DVD
Grab your history books and a bottle of whiteout.
Disneys big-budget flop about the storming of The Alamo creates its own
version of the story and turns it into your typical politically correct evil
white man tale.
Lt. Col. William Travis (Patrick Wilson) is assigned to The Alamo, which the
Texans and Mexicans have been fighting over for some time. The evil Mexican
dictator, Santa Anna, wants it back. Hes marching thousands of troops
towards it, intent on not only taking back The Alamo, but also killing off Gen.
Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid) at the same time. Just for the record, its
never explained why Santa Anna has it in for Houston so bad, so youll
just have to go with it.
But Houston isnt there yet. So the Mexican army surrounds The Alamo and
launches a series of were here and we can take you out
we dont want to just now kind of attacks. Travis, James Bowie (Jason
Patric), and David Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) combine their efforts to hold
off the attacks until Houstons army can reinforce them. We pretty much
know how it goes from there.
This movie cost $100 million to make, primarily because they decided to build
The Alamo and the entire town of San Antonio from scratch. Not a bad idea, except
that very little of the film actually takes place in San Antonio, so if theyd
just used sound stages, they could have undoubtedly saved themselves countless
millions of dollars. And because so much was spent on production design, they
didnt bother to make an interesting movie. This action-packed epic
spends most of its 137-minute runtime letting the characters jabber on and whine
about pretty much everything. With the exception of the climax, the action sequences
are extremely short and dont feature much more than the exchange of a
few cannon shots.
Davey Crockett is supposed to have been a tough, gruff, mans man who
dont apologize for nuthin. Why, then, does he have a ten-minute
speech in which he talks about how horrible white men are, and how they slaughtered
the helpless Indians for absolutely no reason? Well, its because even
when youre Disney telling a 170-year-old tale, you have to somehow get
your left-wing agenda in there somewhere.
The filmmakers would have you believe that this is a more personal look at
the characters of The Alamo. I believe they were just wasting time because the
actual storming of The Alamo and the subsequent events didnt take very
Then theres the issue of the script. While the $100 million may have
gotten them a very authentic looking movie, youll notice in the first
few minutes that these people seem to be speaking exactly like we do in the
21st century. Combine that with a large number of terrible and clichéd
lines, and you have a complete lack of authenticity. If you dont believe
this is all happening in the 1830s, its hard to take seriously.
And so, we have an overly expensive movie that does nothing but take up over
two hours of your time. Its boring, preachy, and politically correct.
That, unfortunately, is three strikes. If you absolutely must watch this movie,
dont say we didnt warn you. If you want to see a better version
of The Alamo, watch the John Wayne original.
A well-deserved flop, The Alamo was one of the biggest box office disappointments
of the year (and fellow Disney flicks Around the World in 80 Days and King Arthur
are at the top of the list, as well).
The DVD is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and it looks pretty good.
Theres a lot of bland color, but detail is always perfectly visible. There
is no grain or dust (except for the dust in the movie), fleshtones are good,
but the brown color of the buildings and background make it look pretty boring.
The audio would have been a lot better if there had been more opportunities
to use it. Most of the movie is just people talking, so the center channel takes
good care of that. When theres something happening, the five channels
split the duties very nicely. Cannonballs whiz past your head and bullets fly
all over the place, while the score subtly comes from all sides.
Return of the Legend is a 20-odd minute making-of featurette that
quickly takes you through the basics: casting, filming, building the set, etc.
Walking in the Footsteps of Heroes spends a few minutes familiarizing
us with the real life characters in the movie. Theres also the short Deep
in the Heart of Texans and some deleted scenes, and of course the usual
The Alamo, from Touchstone Home Entertainment
137 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson
Produced by Mark Johnson, Ron Howard
Written by Leslie Boehm and Stephan Gaghan and John Lee Hancock, directed by
John Lee Hancock
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