TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, April 14, 2004
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Hancock’s ‘The Alamo’ is like an ode our state

By Cassie Fauss
Skiff Staff

Texas pride takes on a whole new meaning in John Lee Hancock’s “The Alamo.”

Though most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the battle that took place in the spring of 1836, for Texans, the Alamo was more than just a lost battle — it was a victorious defeat.

“I’d like each of you men to think of what it is you value so highly that you are willing to fight and possibly die for it. We will call that Texas.”

William B. Travis, commander of the Alamo, spoke these words to the men who would soon give their lives for Texas independence.

It is the spirit of these men, their unbending will to break free from Santa Anna’s tyrannical rule and to make Texas a place where dreams come true, that made the Alamo memorable.

Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston and William B. Travis come to life in “The Alamo,” written and directed by John Lee Hancock.

While most films depicting the battle of the Alamo tend to draw its defenders broadly, focusing solely on their heroic qualities, Hancock delves deep into the men who gave their lives for Texas.

One common problem with historical films is presenting the event so that it engages the audience’s interest despite the fact that the outcome is predestined.

Films like Titanic and Pearl Harbor overcome this obstacle by weaving fictional love story subplots into factual events. To me, this seems like a cheap, easy way out.

Born and raised in Texas, Hancock wanted to create a film that was historically accurate, so he took a different approach in “The Alamo” by illustrating real people during real events.

This character-driven plot line allows the audience to relate with, or at least understand, the motives behind those who died in pursuit of a dream.

The focus on characters also makes the film more entertaining than a boring history lecture.

Hancock really tries to capture the authenticity of the event. From a complete replica of the mission to authentic weapons of the day, the film is almost like a documentary.

Don’t expect to see graphic details like arms flying off and lots of blood and gore, because you will definitely be disappointed.

“The Alamo” is more of an “Ode to Texas” than a spectacular Hollywood blockbuster.

Nevertheless, the film is brilliantly made and is a must-see for those of us proud to be Texans.

And if you have ever wondered what the big deal is with Texans and their steadfast belief that their state is the greatest, go see “The Alamo.” You’ll soon understand what it’s all about.

The Alamo photo
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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