This reviewer will have to admit being very excited upon viewing the theatrical trailer for “THE ALAMO” before its initial release date was changed. Unfortunately, as the film was pushed back farther and farther from its original date, leaks came out about mediocre-to-miserable test screenings. Apparently, the film was cut a great deal due to its poor receptions. It also seems probable that some important character development and plot was excised in the process. What’s left on screen concerning “THE ALAMO” is neither a definitive or staggering vision. While Santa Anna may have been a nasty individual, having him portrayed here as Snidely Whiplash-like character, is ridiculous! Jason Patric is a fine actor, but the script fails to give any depth to his character, James Bowie. Patrick Wilson’s William Travis has one of the film’s few memorable orations, built around his rallying of men by trying to establish what the “idea” of Texas should mean to them. It’s extremely unfortunate that most of the film isn’t as provocative or stirring as this scene is! The only thing that really stands out about “THE ALAMO” is Billy Bob Thornton as Davey Crockett! He’s terrific, and actually is “almost” saves the film! He rises above the material in much the same way Val Kilmer did in “TOMBSTONE.” Dennis Quaid, unfortunately, is completely wasted in his performance here. There are some well-staged action sequences, the film looks terrific, and of course Thornton stands out. Is this enough to make the film recommended? The answer is a very guarded “yes.” There’s a whole lot wrong with the film, but it’s still engaging, in spite of its failure to adequately examine the true story behind the history.
BUENA VISTA has preserved the film’s 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are solid and the detail is impressive in every instance. There are various color schemes taking place and all of them are well presented here. Contrast is excellent, offering deep blacks and grays. Fleshtones appear natural throughout.
BUENA VISTA has provided an aggressive Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. In spite of complex battle scenes, layered with discrete/panning effects and a swelling score, dialogue is always discernible. A great mix!
An audio commentary with a military expert and historical advisor is provided. While it doesn’t captivate the audience for its full length, there are moments interspersed, that are worthwhile. Three featurettes are included, but none are anything out of the “very” ordinary. A deleted scenes segment is offered, and for some reason there’s an option to hear Director John Lee Hancock here, although he didn’t choose to be featured on the film’s running commentary? We hope that BUENA VISTA chooses to release a longer, “original” director’s cut sometime soon in the future, along with Hancock’s commentary.