4-10-2004 - 11:04 p.m.
The Alamo: Movie, not the Shrine in San Antonio
Being a true son of the Texas revolution, not to mention a grad of UT AND on the Daughters of Republic of Texas mailing list, I received free passes to a sneak premiere of the new Disney pic ‘The Alamo’.
Word on the ‘net was the latest telling of the story of famous battle was ‘historically accurate’ as opposed to the revisionist history as in some of the previous Alamo films specifically the 1960 John Wayne flagwaving epic.
Hawk was glad to be my date for the evening because there is nothing Hawk likes more than to see the White Man gets his ass kicked by indigenous brown people.
As for me, I wondered what ‘historical accuracy'was going to mean and more important was I going to be subjected to any of the graphic ‘Saving Private Ryan’ style battle scenes. Accurate, but a boy could lose his popcorn watching the guts and gore.
However, even though the movie is about a massacre, we were mostly spared the spurting arteries and amputated limbs.
Trouble with these historic movies is you pretty much know the punch line going in; the Titanic is going to sink, Pearl Harbor gets bombed, the Texians get slaughtered.
As for accuracy, we finally get reminded that our brave Texas freedom fighters were actually greedy guys from back East, trying to get rich by grabbing up land that belonged to someone else.
This is not a new theme in American History.
So, not heroes? Well, maybe not heroic intentions to begin with, but there is nobility in the way the characters come to grips with the fact that they are way out numbered and going to die. Crockett, Bowie and Travis are all flawed humans who find themselves dealing with circumstances that force them to become heroic.
Of course, the most important question is ‘Was the actor playing Grandpa Will Travis as cute as Alec Balwin in the miniseries 'The Alamo:13 days to Glory'?’
Lawrence Harvey also made a dashingly handsome Travis in the John Wayne movie.
The good news is that Yes, Patrick Wilson is very cute and young.
Colonel Travis was only 26 when he died. Wilson plays him a little naïve, somewhat stuffy and arrogant but he finally rises to the occasion and becomes a leader of the men. When Travis gives the famous ‘line in the sand’ pep talk to the troops, he does it with unshed tears shimmering in his eyes. I was genuinely moved
But Billy Bob Thornton owns the show as Davy Crockett. BBT plays him a real man who is tortured by the fact that only he knows that he not even close to his legend the proceeds him. He knows he can't ride a lightening bolt. he's not even John Wayne. It’s an incredible multi-dimensional performance.
Now being a Disney movie, we have to have a happy ending which is damn hard to do with everyone dead except the widows and slaves.
Yeah slaves. Freedom fighters that own slaves, go figger.
Santa Ana explains at one point to his men that if Mexico loses the Northern Territory that ‘our grandchildren and their grandchildren’ will be begging for crumbs from the Americans…which turned out to be true. But that didn’t stop the General from signing Texas over to Sam Houston in exchange for his life, did it? And that’s our happy ending
Unless you are Mexican.
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