I'm always game for a good historical drama. I remember seeing the trailer for The Alamo several times on Hidalgo and being mildly interested. It wasn't really high up on my list of movies to watch, but the other day when I was browsing the library looking for a movie to watch that night while my mom and sister were gone, my eyes happened to land on this one. I picked it up, looked at it for about five seconds, saw that Jason Patric played Jim Bowie, and thought, that's it. You're coming with me.
Well, turns out I was even more impressed with this movie than I'd even expected to be. It's got a definite somber tone to it, and there's not much of anything lighthearted. For the most part it's very intense, with lots of fighting scenes, but there's soooooo much good history in there and it's presented in a very accurate picture, with just the right amount of dramatization to make the story alive and real. It drew me in from the beginning, and by the end it'd definitely passed the 'cry test'. :-D
The movie starts really quiet, deathly quiet, as the camera takes in the view of the men who fell at the battle of the Alamo. There's no music or anything, and then the words appear on the black screen: THE ALAMO. It's pretty powerful. If you'll pardon the expression, I almost died.
The story revolves around the central figures of Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid), Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton), Jim Bowie (Jason Patric), and William Barrett Travis (Patrick Wilson), leading up to and during the battle of the Alamo during the Mexican war.
I was HUGELY impressed with Patrick Wilson as Col. Travis. When he first appeared, I immediately thought, I know that guy. Who is that guy. WHO ARE YOU. It bothered me tremendously for a few minutes, but then I figured out that I know him as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. It was really nice to see him with flattering hair and playing a role I could take seriously, haha. Colonel Travis is young, a little listless and not sure at first what he's fighting for, but he becomes an able leader and a very honorable man. Right before the big battle happened, Travis gave a speech to the men at the fort. That has got to be one of the best movie speeches I've ever seen. For five seconds, I was actually there in the crowd hearing his words, knowing I was perhaps about to die. Totally blew me away.
Jason Patric, as I said, was mainly the reason for my wanting to watch this movie in the first place. A while back I saw him in a movie called Geronimo, and I was immediately won over. I'm continually rendered speechless by his acting abilities. Seriously, this guy is amazing. His portrayal of Jim Bowie was legendary. Not a very charismatic character, Jim Bowie is bitter and wild-tempered and dying of consumption. The scenes with Travis and Bowie were my favorites, because the actors had such a mesmerizing communication with each other and their characters had such a rocky relationship. Bowie at first doesn't take Travis seriously, and there's a constant tension between them. Finally, though, they come to respect each other, and trust me when I say it's quite something to behold.
I must say, I find Jason Patric extremely easy on the eyes. :-D And his accent is enough to make me swoon any day of the week, just sayin'.
Speaking of being blown away, that's what Billy Bob Thornton did. He. Blew. Me. Away. Oh my goodness. There's not much I can say, except that this fella ought to have gotten some sort of award for playing Davy Crockett. He completely embodied the character, the time period, the struggle, everything that was represented in the movie. Really, he was superb. And his accent is so awesome, just listening to him talk is pure joy. His hairstyle was super unattractive, but that doesn't really matter because he was just so cool. Okay, I'd better shut up.
Oh, but I can't shut up yet, because I haven't even mentioned the scene where he plays the fiddle with the Mexican military band!!!! This has got to be one of the best scenes in movie history. Something about the pink sky, the haunting, ironic beauty of the military march, the look on Davy Crockett's face, and when the Mexican soldier whispers to his comrade, "Crockett." Ohhhhhmygoodness. It's really something.
(Even though I'm putting this video in here, I recommend not watching it if you haven't seen the movie, just because you can't get the full scope of the moment otherwise. But I can't stop you. ;-P)
|Don't ask me why he's wearing a tricorn hat. Dennis Quaid does his own thing.|
Dennis Quaid is given most of the publicity in the movie for being Sam Houston, but really he makes himself pretty scarce throughout the better part of the movie. He wasn't actually at the Alamo when it was attacked, so I always forget he really had anything to do with it. He played his part well, and I did get shivers when he was rallying his troops and shouted, "Remember the Alamo!" But up against Billy Bob Thornton and Jason Patric....sorry, Dennis Quaid. Maybe you'll get the Academy Award next year. Keep trying.
The scenery was beautiful, huge, and epic. The costumes were awesome. The music was rapturous.....yeah, I don't really have anything negative to say about this movie. :-) Watching a well-made historical epic always gives me a deep-down timeless, wholesome feeling inside, and that's what this is. If you like historical dramas, you definitely need to watch this. (Or if you're a Jason Patric fan...*ahem*, enough of that, Emma.) It has all the components of a good movie, but it's also got that ring of historical truth to it, that shivery sensation of actually being there, seeing the events unfold before your eyes.
Long story short, it's a spectacular film and I highly recommend it.