The Barenaked Archives: The Alamo

From 2003 up until 2007, I was lucky enough to have “movie reviewer” as my job description. As such, I’ve built up a *lot* of reviews for just about every movie that came out during those years, as well as reviews of classic movies.

The Barenaked Archives are reviews that I did for two previous websites. Sadly, they are both gone, so this is now the only place online you can see these old columns.

The Alamo posterI’m one of those people who can find something to like about nearly every movie that I see. And in The Alamo, the sunsets were beautiful. Gorgeous. They’re the ones that look painted but are real. God bless the cinematographer, because that was some fine work. Seriously, they were great.

If only the same could be said for the rest of the film.

The Alamo, directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, and Jason Patric, is about the battle for Texas independence at the titular San Antonio mission.

Well, that’s what one would infer, anyway.

It’s really about a bunch of famous guys who don’t like each other and have too many vices (drinking, smoking, women, gambling, etc.) but must work together to defend their paltry fort from the Big Evil Mexican Army, led by the Big Evil Mexican General Santa Anna.

It sounds like it could be a good movie. Suspenseful, especially since the Alamo defenders were trapped at the fort for thirteen days, just waiting for the Mexicans’ next move. Also, the powers that be even pushed back the release date from Christmas to Easter, to give them more time to work on it. You would think that three and a half months would’ve been enough to make this movie interesting, or at least viewable.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The Alamo is boring, and worse, it is long and boring. Watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy back-to-back seemed to take less time than getting through this movie.

I didn’t care about any of the characters, and thus found myself looking forward to the eventual battle and their ultimate demise.

However, by the time the movie actually got there, the thought of actually sitting through the battle filled me with dread, and rightly so. I never thought I’d see a battle involving guns, bayonets, axes, and cannons that was so dull it made me want to go to sleep, but there it was. Guess this is what you get for with a PG-13 rating.

So much more could be said about this movie. The lack of tension and suspense, the shots that added nothing to the story, the multitude of annoying dissolves, the laughable dialogue and even more outrageous “inspirational speeches”, Santa Anna’s one-dimensional villainy, the fact that the Bowie knife—which put Crocodile Dundee’s knife to shame—was never actually used…I could go on and on.

Unfortunately, this movie isn’t worth the time I’m spending to discuss it, and it certainly wasn’t worth the eons spent in the theater watching it. Sam Houston may have shouted “Remember the Alamo!” but after two hours, all I wanted to do was forget it.

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