(Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson, et al / PG-13 / 104 mins / Touchstone Pictures)
Overview: Where myth meets history... where legend meets reality... the roads cross at San Antonio de Bexar and the small, ruined mission there: The Alamo. In the spring of 1836, nearly 200 Texans -- men of all races who believed in the future of Texas -- held the fort for 13 days under siege by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, ruler of Mexico and commander of its forces. Led by three men -- the young, brash Col. William Travis; the violent, passionate James Bowie; and the larger-than-life living legend David Crockett -- the Texans and their deeds at the Alamo would pass into history as General Sam Houston's rallying cry for Texas independence and into legend for their symbolic significance.
Verdict: Touchstone Pictures' hugely-touted Summer box-office hope is - at the end of a long day - a movie more concerned with details like Jim Bowie's terminal case of consumption than it is with the historical context of its story and its legendary characters. The filmmakers seem to have been working out of over-reverence to legend to create more than distant shapes of the people and the sacrifices involved. In truth, 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. And yet, donít you dare wait for this one to come out on video. It should be seen on the big screen in all it's glory. In closing, 'The Alamo' is handsomely shot and written with plain-spoken eloquence. But the characters are indistinct, and there's no compelling reason for this movie. A few dollars lighter, a few hours closer to death, get a chance to glimpse your own mortality reflected in the dead, shark-eyed glare of this big-budget, entertaining hokum of a picture.