My grandma wants to see The Passion, but my mom and I are pretty sure she won't like it. And we aren't all that interested in seeing it. So we pretty much insisted that we see something else. We were planning on seeing Ladykillers, but have heard bad things about it. So this is where we ended up.
I seem to remember them featuring Dennis Quaid (Sam Houston) in the previews. But this movie seems to be best for Billy Bob Thorton's (Davy Crockett) character.
I remember some of the setting from Texas history in junior high school, but not a lot of particulars. I remember Crockett being there. Bowie being bedridden. Santa Anna had about 5,000 troups. Uhh, not a whole lot more jumps to mind.
I didn't know about the one side of the mission being completely open and indefensible. I didn't know about the division of what would be considered regular army vs militia, and the chain-of-command problems that caused. I didn't know about Sam Houston being a better military commander than Santa Anna.
The chain-of-command thing was handled in a typically clumsy Hollyweird fashion. The army commander performs one brave act and thereby earns the respect of Bowie (the militia commander) and everyone else there.
Other stuff was handled like that. For example, And I wonder if Davy Crockett really did get a shot off at Santa Anna, or if that's another Crockett tall tail. And did Crockett really play his fiddle in accompaniment with the Mexican's band, thus prompting the Mexicans to not bombard them that night. Stuff like that really did feel Hollyweird.
I generally enjoyed the movie, but I'm trying to figure out why it didn't stand out for me. I guess partly because the battle had very little context around it, sort of like Blackhawk Down. Especially since they didn't really show anything beyond a few of the soldiers. Almost nothing of the indigenous population. Just one token militiaman (I think) with his wife and child. And he only had about six lines, while all his wife did was hold the baby and cry. We saw him get killed, but we never learned what happened to the wives.
And that sort of thing left me feeling shortchanged. I know this film was meant to entertain and not to teach history. And having just typed that, I guess I better step way back across that line of skepticism. Most every other Hollyweird movie about a historical event I've seen is incredibly light on facts. It feels like that if I took the time to learn more about the battle and the situation surrounding it, that I'd find this one very similarly bad.
On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Pay Per View With Dinner. It's a war movie. Sort of like Pearl Harbor, it extends the story to give an opportunity for a happy ending.
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