Tuesday, May 4, 2004

The Alamo

The girls and I went to see "The Alamo" this weekend. I didn't go in expecting a "feel good" movie. As a transplanted Texan I know the story much better than I did growing up in Kansas. I came out of it feeling the same way I did after watching "The Patriot" ... war is brutal, cruel, and, ok I'll say it, hell. It was really well done and found that delicate balance between real characters and legend. Certainly the filmmakers made us understand that both sides suffer and people of all sorts are caught up in the conflict. I also really admired the performances, especially Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett. I suppose that is nothing that we haven't read in reviews already. My two realizations were:

  • As we watched the Mexican Army swarm the Alamo from all sides, familiar defenders began to die. I suddenly realized that in most movies like this I expect to lose a few favorite characters but we always know that some will live and prevail in the end. That wasn't going to happen here. I mentally compared it to the "Lord of the Rings" movies which I loved. Suddenly all those battle scenes seemed clean and sanitized, fangs and gore notwithstanding. "The Alamo" didn't follow that formula because it was following real life. (Just one of those mental head-slap moments.)

  • Our 13-year-old, Rose, and I know WAY too much about Goliad. I helped her with a research project last year and we both became "experts." Discussing this movie, we discovered that we also are devoted to making sure Goliad isn't forgotten. I'm sure there were a zillion historical details wrong but we only cared about the fact that no one ever bothered to explain why Fannin never came from Goliad with aid. Santa Anna's army already had executed Fannin and his army after they surrendered. That's one reason the Alamo defenders didn't surrender. They'd heard the news from Goliad. That's why the battle cry at San Jacinto was, "Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo!" [courtesy of the "Remember Goliad" research committee, J Davis and R Davis]

Van Helsing Anyone?
Next up is "Van Helsing." You'd think that Rose would choose "13 Going On 30" for a birthday party movie, right? No such luck. I'll get to take 9 girls to see a monster movie. Granted, Hugh Jackman is looking mighty fine from what I could see in the trailers. I'm not sure that is enough to get me through 2 hours and 20 minutes!

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