Sunday, April 11, 2004

Remember the...uh...hmmm...oh yeah, that old church that became a fortress

Tonight my new friend and I went to see the new movie, The Alamo. This is the second time we have gone to a theater without checking the listings hoping to catch The Ladykillers and ended up seeing something else. The first time we saw Hidalgo which was cool with me since it had the guy who played Aragorn and I was curious to see him in another role. For those of you wondering Hidalgo is half a good movie. I recommend leaving after the raid by the bandits. The guy who played the Nazi guy in Oz and the newspaper editor in Spiderman plays Wild Bill Hickock in Hidalgo and he's great. It's worth seeing just for that. That dude's a great actor.

I really enjoyed the Alamo. It's not a great movie but it's pretty darn good. I read one review that said there's too much talking. I believe it's called dialogue and it assists in establishing characters. It also had Billy Bob and Jason Patric in it. I dig Billy Bob, he's a fine actor and funny and witty when interviewed. Jason Patric always reminds me of that cool handsome senior who treated high school freshmen like humans.

Billy Bob was fantastic as Davey Crockett. He comes within a hair of stealing the movie. There are a couple of great scenes where he is the focus that just make the movie worth watching. It's fascinating watching a man grapple with his legend. I don't recall ever seeing such a concept portrayed so effectively before. The dialgoue you've seen in the commercials is probably the weakest of these moments. There is a scene involving the Mexican army's band and Davey's fiddle that is fantastic.

I also enjoyed the actor who played Santa Anna. He had the right amount of vanity and visciousness that allowed you to view him as "the bad guy" and have sympathy for the Mexican soldiers under his command.

The battle scene is pretty intense but it doesn't have the gore factor of say Private Ryan or the Passion. I wish they had spent a little more time displaying the fortifications so the battle scene would be easier to follow. A couple of times I found myself thinking, "this is good but where in the Alamo is it taking place?" So far Private Ryan and Band of Brothers have best set up a battle so during the confustion of fighting you know what is going on. My favorite examples of that is during Band of Brothers and the scene where they attempt to take Carenten and when they approach the town during Operation Market Garden and the silly British tankers ignore the paratroopers warnings about the camouflaged German Tanks. What the Alamo does do well is give you such good characters that you really don't want the battle to start since you know they are all doomed. It reminded me of the final battle in Saving Private Ryan when the men are waiting for the German troops to arrive. The sense of fear and doom is palpable. You just wish Davey Crockett and the rest would crawl over the walls at night and try to get away.

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