Man-Thing

Man-Thing

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Today, I’m going to dive into an obscure, straight-to-video Marvel movie: 2005’s Man-Thing.

The plot of Man-Thing is summarized on IMDb as follows:

Agents of an oil tycoon vanish while exploring a swamp marked for drilling. The local sheriff investigates and faces a Seminole legend come to life: Man-Thing, a shambling swamp-monster whose touch burns those who feel fear.

The screenplay for Man-Thing was written by Hans Rodionoff, who also penned the films The Skulls II, Lost Boys: The Tribe, Lost Boys: The Thirst, and National Lampoon’s Bagboy.

The eponymous character of Man-Thing is credited to Steve Gerber, a veteran comic book writer who might be best known for creating the somewhat infamous character of Howard The Duck. He wrote a lauded 39-issue series that brought Man-Thing to wider prominence and fleshed out the story, but he interestingly did not create the character. The first appearance of the swampy creature was in Savage Tales #1 in May of 1971, and was initially conceived of by four notable comics figures: Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, and Gray Morrow.

This film adaptation of Man-Thing was directed by Brett Leonard, who is best known for movies like The Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity.

The cast of Man-Thing includes Matthew Le Nevez (Feed, Offspring), Rachael Taylor (Transformers, Jessica Jones), Jack Thompson (Australia, Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil), Steve Bastoni (The Matrix Reloaded, The Water Diviner), and Conan Stevens (Game of Thrones, Son of God).

manthing2The cinematographer for Man-Thing was Steve Arnold, who also shot the films Feed, Highlander: The Source, and Last Cab To Darwin, along with a handful of shorts, documentaries, and television series.

Man-Thing was cut by editor Martin Connor, whose other credits include The Hard Word, The Railway Man, and Burning Man, along with a good number of Australian television series.

The production of Man-Thing had two lead designers: Tim Ferrier, who is best known for doing the design work for the cult favorite science-fiction television FarScape, and Peter Pound, a storyboard and concept artist who has worked on films like Ghost Rider, Mad Max: Fury Road, Dark City, and The Crow.

The initial plan was apparently to have Man-Thing film in New Orleans, essentially on-location for the Louisiana setting of the story. However, budget limitations led to a change of plans, and Australia ultimately served for the backdrop for the production.

manthing4While Man-Thing didn’t reach a very wide audience with its television debut and subsequent DVD release, those that did see it didn’t much care for what they saw. Currently, it holds an IMDb user rating of 4.1/10, alongside Rotten Tomatoes scores of 17% from critics and 12% from audiences.

The first thing that I noticed about Man-Thing is that the color grading is absolutely out of control. Most of the sequences are absolutely drowned in green tones, to the point that the whole movie looks like an overdone CSI episode. During the handful of daylight sequences, yellows take over with very much the same effect. However, no matter what, every sequence is unreasonably over-saturated with one color or another, which makes the movie look and feel cheaper than it needs to.

Man-Thing features a handful of unique scene transitions in the form of rapid montages of gore, pollution, and swamp imagery juxtaposed together. While I thought this was pretty interesting the first time it happened, it gets far too overused over the course of the film, to the point that it loses its potency. The same could be said for the whole movie, to be honest: there is a lot of rapid cutting whenever the action picks up, which gets really tiring after a while. When the same gimmick happens over and over again, it becomes predictable and uniform, as opposed to novel.

One of the most common complaints that I have read about Man-Thing is that it is not loyal to the source material of the comics, wherein Man-Thing is more of a heroic avenger than a murderous terror. While I am sure this was frustrating for die-hard fans, I can totally understand why the production went in the direction of a horror movie: honestly, it just makes more sense for the setting and concept, particularly for a one-off story. If this were going to be a television pilot or a franchise-builder, having Man-Thing as a protagonist would have made sense. However, I think that is a lot to ask for in a single movie. Unlike Swamp Thing, Man-Thing is not very humanoid in design, and it would be really hard to get an audience to back him.

One of the most impressive aspects of Man-Thing is surprisingly its use of gore, which I really didn’t expect. A number of key scenes in the movie take place either during autopsies or at crime scenes, where the bodies play an important role in building up the anticipation and fear of the monster’s full reveal. The fact that these corpses are done well adds a lot of power to the movie if you ask me. Honestly, most of the effects look good, which is more than a little unusual for a modern b-movie. This was likely due to the dark lighting concealing CGI issues, but if it works, it works. The portrayal of Man Thing himself is also notably cool and intimidating, and gives a distinct sense of size that does a lot for making the character imposing when fully realized on screen.

As far as the performances go, I think that all of the players are perfectly serviceable for a b-movie, particularly considering that almost the entire cast was filled in regionally on location. Even the comic relief characters, which can easily wreck the tone of a horror movie when done poorly, work like a charm.

As with seemingly every b-movie of the past 30-odd years, there is a sequence in Man-Thing with completely unnecessary nudity and sexual content that adds nothing to the story or characters. However, unlike most b-movies, it only happens once, and stands in sharp contrast with the rest of the film. While I haven’t read anything to attest to this, I have a suspicion that this brief sequence towards the beginning of the film may have been added in at some point, probably to help in selling the film to a distributor. I do know that the movie struggled for distribution before SyFy took it on, and this seems like just the sort of move that would be made to try and lure a sleazy distributor off of the fence.

It is worth noting that I have watched a ton of SyFy originals and straight-to-DVD features over the years, and typically, they are the absolute bottom of the barrel in quality. Man-Thing, when you stack it up against these cohorts, stands out from the bunch. Compare this film to any given Lake Placid sequel, or any of the litany of Mega Shark or Sharknado features, and you would come out with a much greater appreciation for it than if you compared it to Marvel Studios outings. I think that people often see this film, and compare it unfairly to movies far outside of its league.

Overall, I think that Man-Thing is a half-decent b-level flick, though definitely flawed. It clearly turned off fans due to the significant deviations taken from the source material, but as someone who isn’t familiar with the comics: this is totally ok. In a lot of ways, it feels like a modernized swamp monster movie, more so than most of the remakes and homages I’ve seen over the years.

As far as a recommendation goes, I would say to give it a shot. There are way worse entries in the early days of Marvel movies, and if you can handle any SyFy Original, you can certainly deal with the negative aspects of Man-Thing. If you go in with no expectations, and leave any prior comic book knowledge of the character at the door, you might just have a half-decent time with this flick.

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Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing

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Today, I’m going to be taking a look at Wes Craven’s comic book film adaptation: Swamp Thing.

The plot of Swamp Thing is summarized on IMDb as follows:

After a violent incident with a special chemical, a research scientist is turned into a swamp plant monster.

Swamp Thing was written and directed by acclaimed horror master Wes Craven.  Craven is without a doubt one of the most influential horror filmmakers of all time, having been behind such films and franchises as Last House On The Left, Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Hills Have Eyes. That said, Swamp Thing marked his first and only foray into the science fiction genre.

Swamp Thing is based on the comic series and character of the same name created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. The character first appeared in House of Secrets #92 in July of 1971, which was intended as a standalone story. However, the character’s popularity led to an initial 24 issue solo series that ran throughout the mid-1970s. Since then, Swamp Thing has been a mainstay of DC comics.

swampthing4The cast for Swamp Thing was primarily made up of Louis Jourdan (Octopussy, The Return of the Swamp Thing), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow, Batman: The Animated Series), Ray Wise (Dallas, RoboCop, Twin Peaks), and David Hess (The Last House on the Left, Zombie Nation).

The cinematographer for the film was Robbie Greenberg, who also shot the films Free Willy, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, and Wild Hogs. The editor for Swamp Thing was Richard Bracken, whose credits include The Hills Have Eyes Part II, numerous episodes of the television shows Ironside and Columbo, and work on six different Power Rangers series.

The musical score for Swamp Thing was provided by Harry Manfredini, who is best known for his work on the Friday the 13th franchise. However, he has plenty of other films to his credit, including A Talking Cat!?!, The Omega Code, DeepStar Six, and House.

swampthing3Two of the producers for Swamp Thing were Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight, Batman, The Spirit, The Lego Movie) and Benjiman Melniker (Mitchell, Constantine, National Treasure, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

The makeup effects team for the film included Tonga Knight (Cosmos), Steve LaPorte (Van Helsing, Deep Blue Sea, Caddyshack II, The Howling), Ken Horn (Battle Beyond The Stars, The Hills Have Eyes), David Miller (Batman & Robin, The Mangler), and William Munns (Return of the Living Dead, The Beastmaster).

Swamp Thing was filmed primarily on Johns Island, which is located near Charleston, South Carolina. The island measures 84 square miles, and its marsh-y environment made it a perfect backdrop for the story.

Interestingly, Swamp Thing received a sequel many years later in 1989: The Return of Swamp Thing, which featured a handful of returning cast and crew members. However, it wasn’t received terribly well, and currently holds an IMDb user rating of 4.5/10.

The production budget for Swamp Thing was estimated to be $3 million. While I wasn’t able to dig up any box office numbers for the film, I suspect it made a profit due to its low price tag, and the fact that it received a sequel.

Swamp Thing wasn’t exactly embraced by audiences and critics. Currently, it holds an IMDb user rating of 5.4/10, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 64% from critics and 34% from audiences, all of which are less than stellar marks.

One critic who was a fan of the movie was Roger Ebert, who gave Swamp Thing a solid 4/5 stars, citing that it is “one of those movies that fall somewhere between buried treasures and guilty pleasures.”

Swamp Thing is as much a throwback to earlier monster flicks as it is a comic book movie. There are definitely plenty of moments that conjure memories of flicks like Creature From The Black Lagoon, as you might expect. The fact that the movie is very low budget and small scale really helps keep it grounded, which makes it feel all the more nostalgia-inducing. On top of that, there is no lighting trickery to be found here: the eponymous Swamp Thing is always in full light and in the open, much like the rubber suit monsters of olden days.

This is where things get complicated, though. The Swamp Thing suit straight-up looks terrible. However, maybe that is part of the homage, and the greater vision for the film? It is hard to say. Even Roger Ebert, who was a fan of the movie, referred to the creature as looking like “a bug-eyed spinach souffle.” Personally, I don’t think he is even as interesting as that: I think he just looks like a big, wrinkly dude caked in mud. Similarly, there are some hilariously terrible scene transitions (stylistic wipes, particularly) that stand out a whole lot over the course of the movie. While they definitely look like shit, maybe they were supposed to look like shit? It is an interesting boundary to consider, as many movies straddle the delicate line between faithful homage and honest craftsmanship.

As you can gather from the name of the creature, the setting is pretty important for Swamp Thing. And, honestly, I think that they absolutely nailed that aspect of the production. It is hard not to like the South Carolina lowlands in this movie: it has the exact sort of look that you would want and expect for a movie about a swamp monster. I have no idea how or why they decided on this obscure location, but it is fantastic.

swampthing2Something that I have seen written quite a bit is that this movie is supposed to be a comedy. Personally, outside of a few lines, I didn’t see comedy in this at all: it is a pretty straight sort of monster movie, with the modification of the monster being the good guy. I think it is pretty earnest about what it is: I suspect Craven was a big fan of the classic monster flicks, and wanted to do a little throwback.

Overall, Swamp Thing can be summed up as unremarkable. I’ve seen this movie a few times now, and every time, I have forgotten pretty significant details as soon as I finished watching it. I know that the movie has its proponents, but I’ve always found it a bit boring. It might be a tad too faithful to those old monster flicks for its own good.

For Wes Craven completists, fans of the source material, or just fans of comic book movies in general, it is worth giving Swamp Thing a shot. It is not so bad that it needs to be actively avoided, but I wouldn’t advise that anyone go out of their way to watch it.

Tank Girl

Tank Girl

Today, I am going to be diving into a bizarre 1995 cult classic and infamous theatrical flop: Tank Girl.

The plot of Tank Girl is summarized on IMDb as follows:

A girl is among the few survivors of a dystopian Earth. Riding a war tank, she fights against the tyranny of a mega-corporation that dominates the remaining potable water supply of the planet.

The screenplay for Tank Girl was written by Tedi Sarafian (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), based on the comic series of the same name by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett. The series was initially published in strip form starting in 1988 in the independent magazine Deadline, but was collected and more widely distributed in the early 1990s.

The film adaptation was directed by Rachel Talalay, who was also behind the films Ghost In The Machine and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, as well as numerous episodes of television series like Doctor Who, Sherlock, Ally McBeal, Supernatural, The Dead Zone, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.

The cast of Tank Girl includes Lori Petty (Point Break, A League of Their Own, Free Willy), Ice-T (Leprechaun In The Hood, Johnny Mnemonic, Surviving the Game), Naomi Watts (The Ring, Mulholland Drive, Funny Games), Don Harvey (Creepshow 2, Die Hard 2, Hudson Hawk), Malcolm McDowell (If…, A Clockwork Orange, Cat People, Caligula, Suing The Devil, Time After Time, Class of 1999), Iggy Pop (Dead Man, Cry-Baby, The Adventures of Pete & Pete), and James Hong (Blade Runner, Ninja III: The Domination, Tango & Cash, Big Trouble In Little China).

The cinematographer for Tank Girl was Gale Tattersall, who also shot the films Virtuosity, Ghost Ship, Thir13en Ghosts, and numerous episodes of the television series Grace & Frankie.

The editor for the film was James R. Symons, who cut a number of action films over his career, including Fortress 2, Over The Top, Rambo III, Cobra, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The musical score for Tank Girl was composed by Graeme Revell, who has a huge number of film credits to his name: Aeon Flux, Sin City, Open Water, Daredevil, Freddy vs. Jason, Pitch Black, Spawn, From Dusk Till Dawn, Street Fighter, The Craft, and Red Planet, just to name a few.

The production designer for Tank Girl was Catherine Hardwicke, who also did design work for Car 54, Where Are You?, Vanilla Sky, Three Kings, and Tombstone, and went on to find success directing films like Twilight, Lords of Dogtown, and Thirteen.

Legendary effects worker and creature designer Stan Winston designed the humanoid Rippers, and his studio constructed them for the production.

One of the co-creators of Tank Girl, Jamie Hewlett, spoke about his negative experience working on the set of the movie in a 2006 interview with Icon Magazine:

“The script was lousy – me and Alan Martin kept rewriting it and putting Grange Hill jokes and Benny Hill jokes in, and they obviously weren’t getting it. They forgot to film about ten major scenes so we had to animate them … it was a horrible experience.”

As mentioned in his quote, Hewlett and Martin were brought in to fill in a number of gaps in the film with animated sequences. The reason for this may have been budget-motivated or a stylistic decision, but it was undoubtedly a controversial move that has divided many.

In a March 2005 interview, director Rachel Talalay said that Tank Girl was her favorite film to direct, with a caveat:

Tank Girl [was my favorite film to direct], until the studio intervened in their useless wisdom about the ‘morality of America’.

As indicated by that quote, there were some significant editing disagreements between the director and the studio, due in large part to test audience reactions and the explicit nature of the original vision for the film. Notably, an meticulously crafted and expensive prosthetic kangaroo penis was cut entirely from the movie by the studio on moral grounds. Prior to the film’s release, Talalay made a veiled reference to the issue in an interview with Wired:

I think we’ve tried to push the envelope as much as we can…Tank Girl still has a relationship with Booga [the Kangaroo]; we’re trying to keep that in there. That doesn’t mean we plan on hardcore kangaroo sex.

Emily Lloyd (A River Runs Through It) was initially cast as the lead for the film, but eventually dropped out due to the requirement that she shave her head. Lori Petty had already auditioned for the role, and was confident that she would be a perfect fit as Tank Girl.

Courtney Love, the somewhat infamous grunge icon, curated the punk-heavy soundtrack for the film.

In recent years, thanks in large part to the re-release of the film on DVD and Blu-ray, Tank Girl has become a cult favorite for many. In a 2014 interview about the growing popularity of the film in contrast to its initial failure, director Rachel Talalay said:

I really thought I’m going to break the glass ceiling and there’s going to be success for women in action…It was so devastating to me when it wasn’t. Now it has a really strong cult following and there’s a really good teen audience that loves what we were trying to do. But we were just that ahead of our time. So it’s been really frustrating.

Tank Girl was made on a production budget of $25 million, on which it took in only a paltry $4 million domestically in its theatrical run, making it a pretty dramatic financial flop. Critically, it got a divided-to-negative reception: it currently holds an IMDb user rating of 5.2/10, alongside Rotten Tomatoes scores of 38% from critics and 63% from audiences.

In his review of the movie, Roger Ebert gave Tank Girl 2 out of 5 stars, specifically praising its vision and technical work, while calling out some of its pacing and tonal issues:

Whatever the faults of “Tank Girl,” lack of ambition is not one of them…Under the direction of Rachel Talalay, the movie plunges headlong into technique…Enormous energy went into this movie. I could not, however, care about it for much more than a moment at a time, and after a while its manic energy wore me down.

As Ebert mentions, one of the key strengths of Tank Girl is its ambitious vision. In particular, Stan Winston’s work on the Rippers is incredibly technically impressive, and their design is completely off-the-wall unique.

Additionally, the costuming and production design across the board is all really cool. The sets are interesting and over-the-top, the colors and outfits are reminiscent of the source material, and there is an overall surreal, cartoon-y effect that is achieved with the combination of it all.

All of that said, there are certainly going to be some misses when you swing for the fences every time. In this case, I think that the animated and still-frame bits just don’t work at all: they feels like awkward duct tape trying to hold an unfinished product together, and it isn’t a good look. Likewise, the humor, for one reason or another, never seems to land quite right. It might be that the frenetic energy is a bit over-saturated, so no individual moments stands out.

One positive aspect of Tank Girl that I can’t neglect to mention is the presence of one of my favorite character actors, Malcolm McDowell. I am a total sucker for Malcolm McDowell, particularly when he is playing a bad guy. While he does chew a bunch of scenery, he also disappears for a huge chunk of the movie, which was a bit of a letdown. Still, it is always a treat to see him in things. Also worth noting is that the rest of the actors all seem to be well suited for their roles, and there aren’t really any weak links in the bunch. Petty in particular really dives into her role, and (for better or worse) is the engine that keeps the whole tank rolling.

Overall, Tank Girl definitely has plenty of flaws, but I can understand why it has the vocal fan base it does. I can honestly say that there are some distinct things to like here, and that the film is deserving of revisiting. For that alone, I recommend folks give it a shot. That said, I think the movie’s flaws ultimately outweigh its positives.

One of the reasons why I think that many dislike this film is because it is obnoxious: even though that is certainly by design. I can freely admit that this is at least partially true for me. This points to a potentially larger problem with the movie: this material might just not lend itself to a blockbuster flick to start with. Unlike the similar character of Harley Quinn, who propelled the financial success of Suicide Squad, you can’t effective sanitize Tank Girl in a way that makes her antics palatable for general audiences, while also staying true to the character. I think Tank Girl could make an awesome animated series or film, but making a faithful live action version seems like it would be too expensive and too niche interest to ever try again. That said, I could totally see a Tank Girl incarnation headlining an [adult swim] lineup. Also, who knows? We’re living in a world where Deadpool might be the next big multi-film franchise. Maybe someone will roll the dice on Tank Girl again before we know it.

The Alamo

The Alamo


Today, I’m going to delve into a historical war drama from 2004, which also has the distinction of being a major financial flop: The Alamo.

The plot of The Alamo is summarized on IMDb as follows:

Based on the 1836 standoff between a group of Texan and Tejano men, led by Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, and Mexican dictator Santa Anna’s forces at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.

The Alamo was directed and co-written by John Lee Hancock, who has since helmed the films The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Founder. The other co-writers for the film’s screenplay were Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) and Leslie Bohem (Dante’s Peak, A Nightmare On Elm Street 5).

The cast of The Alamo includes Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Bad Santa, The Man Who Wasn’t There), Jason Patric (Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Lost Boys, Sleepers), Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy, Watchmen, The Conjuring), Dennis Quaid (Jaws 3-D, The Right Stuff, Innerspace), and Jordi Mollà (Bad Boys II, Blow).

The editor for the film was Eric L. Beason, whose other credits include the recent horror hit Don’t Breathe, A Simple Plan, and Joy Ride. The Alamo was shot by veteran cinematographer Dean Semler, who also provided cinematography for 2012, Stealth, Click, xXx, Waterworld, Last Action Hero, Dances With Wolves, The Road Warrior, Young Guns, and Super Mario Bros., among many others.

The film’s musical score was composed by Carter Burwell, who has provided work on films like Seven Psychopaths, Anomalisa, Howl, A Serious Man, The Founder, Fargo, In Bruges, Three Kings, Blood Simple, and The Big Lebowski, among many others.

The story of the resistance and fall of The Alamo was famously brought to the screen in 1960, in a film that both starred and was directed by film icon John Wayne. However, that wasn’t the first time that the tale had been adapted: the first feature-length film that depicted the legendary story was 1915’s Martyrs of the Alamo by Chrsity Cabanne, which was itself predated by a 1911 short called The Immortal Alamo.

At one point early on during the production, Ron Howard had expressed great interest in directing the film, with Russell Crowe on board as his lead. However, as often happens, the plans fell apart, and the production ultimately wound up with the final team of Thornton in the lead and Hancock directing.

The Alamo had a production budget of $107 million, on which it only managed to take in $25.8 million in its lifetime theatrical run. This made it one of the biggest financial flops in movie history.

Critically, the movie didn’t do much better. It currently holds an IMDb user rating of 6.0/10, alongside Rotten Tomatoes scores of 29% from critics and 45% from audiences. However, one of its key proponents was Roger Ebert, who gave it a positive review, saying:

Here is a movie that captures the loneliness and dread of men waiting for two weeks for what they expect to be certain death, and it somehow succeeds in taking those pop-culture brand names like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie and giving them human form.

As Ebert mentioned in the blurb above, one of the strengths of The Alamo is how well it builds the central characters: many of whom are quasi-legendary icons, whose enormous reputations in the cultural mindset outshine their truthful tangibility. The best scenes in the movie have either David Crockett or James Bowie staring down their bloated reputations. Ultimately, the result of the way the movie handles these figures might be less romantic than what people wanted or expected, but I think it is quite a bit deeper, and probably more faithful to the real men.

That said, there more than a few issues with the film. One of the biggest problems with this film is the pacing: it is just a bit weird structurally, and movie feels longer than it actually is because of it. This is at least partially because of the lengthy quasi-epilogue, which shows the victory of Sam Houston that followed the events at The Alamo. While there is some catharsis to showing this, it doesn’t merit the amount of time it wound up eating on screen. Some sort of stitched together montage could have gotten the idea across without so dramatically back-loading the film with a sequel built into the third act.

This brings me to something that I couldn’t help but think about on this re-watch: the key similarities and differences between The Alamo and a similar historical underdog war drama that hit theaters just two years later: 300. While 300 certainly has its fair share of issues, it succeeds on a couple of levels where The Alamo fails. First off, 300 has a very brief and effective epilogue that leaves the audience with a sense of fulfilled justice. Just like in The Alamo, the “good guys” won in the end. However, 300 didn’t require a whole extra plot to deliver that feeling to the audience (for the time being, let’s just ignore the sequel).

More importantly, however, is that 300 managed to get people to buy tickets, despite having a cast with very little star power. I think that this is mostly due to the way the battle sequences were done in the two films: The Alamo is very traditional, with frenetic energy and grime making up most of the war action. 300, on the other hand, is very stylistic and unique with its action, almost like a vicious dance. The movie (and, more accurately, the graphic novel) manages to use the claustrophobia of the setting as a way to place the audience/reader right in the thick of the action, right along the warriors. In The Alamo, the point-of-view of the audience is particularly detached, and I think that this affected the tension quite a bit. I don’t think that The Alamo did anything wrong, necessarily: it just didn’t take any big risks that would have gotten audiences talking about it afterwards.

As far as other positives go, I think that the key performances are generally pretty good in The Alamo, particularly from Billy Bob Thornton and Patrick Wilson (in one of his earliest film roles), but the movie definitely suffers from the lack of A-list marquee talent. Had this movie had a couple of more bankable names at the top of the cast, I dare say that it wouldn’t have bombed so hard, despite the quality of the performances.

Overall, I think that The Alamo was only one or two tweaks from being a really good movie, or at least a decent popcorn flick. The material, at the very least, could be elevated a lot by a visionary director with financial means. This adaptation of the story, while having good elements, plays it a little too safe stylistically, and is also a bit unpolished structurally. I still think it is worth checking out for people who are interested in the story, but for film fans, I think that it has been rightly pushed to the margins. However, the movie is by no means as bad as its financial reputation might lead you to believe.