Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Revealed
The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Billy Bob Thornton
Dennis Quaid
Jason Patric
Patrick Wilson
Emilio Echevarria.
Directors
John Lee Hancock.
Screenwriters
Leslie Bohem
Stephen Gaghan.
Running Time
137 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Guardians Of The Galaxy
4 Star Empire Rating
A Night At The Cinema In 1914
4 Star Empire Rating
Hide Your Smiling Faces
4 Star Empire Rating
A Promise
1 Star Empire Rating
Nut Job, The
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating

The Alamo
Disney's tale of the famous American last stand.


submit to reddit


Plot
San Antonio, Texas, 1836 – as Generlissimo Santa Anna’s Mexican forces march toward the contested territory of Texas, a ragtag bunch of veterans and heroes, including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and their greenhorn leader William Travis, make a stand at old missionary known as the “Alamo”. For 13 days they hold out, buying time for Texan general Sam Houston to pull together an army to defeat the enemy.


Review

As much a vanity project for John Wayne, at the height of his popularity, as a chance to take this fabled slab of American folklore (although, technically speaking Texas was not part of the Union at the time), this flabby, inconsistent attempt at a Western epic (although, strictly speaking, this is too early to be a Western) is an expensive misfire.
 
Wayne, despite harkening from one of cinema’s most enduring partnerships with the mighty John Ford, was not a natural director. The film dawdles and ruminates but never comes alive, and despite various cuts attempting to fillet a dramatic core out of its swollen running time, all eventually failed. Wayne, sensibly enough, borrows devotedly from Ford in the grand scope (he built an Alamo to scale from scratch) and earthy detail, but never manages to figure out where the drama lies. His performers are uniformly at sea. Indeed, his own Davy Crockett is so tailored to showing the star in a grand light, it seems more like Crockett, coonskin cap in place, doing his best Wayne impression.
 
With his own money tied up in the production, he also wasn’t going to squander the chance to coat an often misunderstood part of history with his own right wing agenda. These doomed men are fighting the cause of justice and republicanism, whereas in truth the stand is often considered a folly and needless sacrifice. Determinedly one-dimensional, the folly starts to feel all Wayne’s own
 
The only time it sets about stirring our blood is with the arrival of Santa Anna’s glorious battalions onto the battlefield, granting, finally, a luminous splendour to the arid settings. Although, this may have been more about the management of second unit director Cliff Lyons who reputedly took over the directorial reigns.  Seven Oscar nominations, a spurious nod for sound, were his only reward, audiences stayed away and his great trumpet blast of a personal project would lapse into best forgotten.

 


Verdict
In spite of two great performances, this is a muddled affair. Remember The Alamo? Most will want to forget it.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Models Inc.: The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
How the likes of Batman, Superman and Luke Skywalker become collectible figures

The Empire Podcast #121: Brett Ratner Talks Hercules On This Week's Show
Plus The Purge: Anarchy producer Jason Blum pops in to talk horror

Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Our official verdict on Marvel's latest addition to their cinematic universe

Frank Grillo's Ten Toughest Hollywood Tough Guys
The Purge: Anarchy star picks his favourite badasses

Role By Role With Joel McHale
The star of The Soup and Community on Spider-Man 2 and much more

'I Have The Club But I Didn't Get The Lion's Head'
Dwayne Johnson (and pals) talks Hercules props, action and ancient superheroes

Classic Feature: The Making Of The Silence Of The Lambs
Is this the most frightening movie ever made?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)