A/V Room









The Alamo - US reaction

Compiled by: Jack Foley

IT WAS designed to be one of this year's epics at the cinema - another of those sweeping, all-action, heroic adventures, about one of the great tragedies of American history.

Not only that, but it was supposed to further the legend created, onscreen, by John Wayne.

But US critics have failed to be impressed with the remake of The Alamo (starring Jason Patric, Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid), referring to it as a bore, which conforms to many Hollywood cliches.

Leading the disappointing notices is USA Today, which wrote that 'the movie is a mild compeller for history buffs, and occasionally it's better than that. But the teenage mall rats, on whom box office success largely depends, are more likely to zoom away in Alamo rental cars'.

While the Los Angeles Times wrote that 'for all the gun smoke, the image of the fort's defenders silhouetted against a blood-red Texas sky and the unrelenting bombast of Carter Burwell's score, the filmmakers never make the case why we should remember the Alamo'.

The Chicago Tribune noted that it 'plays like your standard-issue modern war movie'.

And the New York Times wrote that 'in re-enacting the actual events surrounding the storied 1836 battle, this oppressively solemn historical-action movie is both elegiac and trivial'.

Slightly more positive (as there were some good notices), was Newsday, which opined that 'while the battle scenes Hancock conducts are symphonic in their concussive confusion and chaos, it's in the characterization that the film achieves some gravitas'.

And CNN felt that 'in addition to the way the now-mythic characters are brought down to a human level, the best thing about this production of The Alamo is that Hancock has made everything look and feel so authentic'.

Better still, was the New York Daily News, which wrote that 'Alamo buffs will be delighted, and everyone else will be treated to something that feels like Old Hollywood crossed with new sensibilities'.

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, referred to it as 'a respectable and at times an exciting film that should appeal to males of all ages, history buffs and - yes, it's inevitable - patriots'.

And Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that it is 'a superlative character-driven epic that honors both the varied truths and the varied myths surrounding a battle that pitted less than 300 Texans and Tejanos against General Antonio López de Santa Anna and several thousand Mexican troops'.

But Detroit News wrote that 'tt offers no great insights into the majority of its characters or the politics of the time; it is not the proudest or most shameful moment for any member of its cast; and it is neither overly long or dumbly abrupt. It's simply what it is'.

And the New York Post lamented that 'despite Thornton's yeoman efforts and a remarkable 52-acre set, you're more apt to forget The Alamo than to remember it'.

Variety, meanwhile, declared that it is 'a historically credible but overly prosaic account of the most celebrated episode in the creation of an Americanized Texas'.

And Entertainment Weekly concludes this round-up, by stating that it 'never harmonizes into a cinematic experience any more resonant than the average, manly, why-we-fight pic, or coalesces into a stirring cry for freedom'.

The film opens in the UK later this year.

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