Disney's "Alamo" Begs for Amnesia

You had to know this movie was going to tank hard, based on nothing more than the premiere fiesta hosted by Disney. 1,500 people came to the invite only event at the Historical landmark, dozens of party tents, stars showing up in Stetsons, a 3-block-long carpet for the luminaries to stroll, miles of cable for a 50 speaker sound system, and a culminating fireworks show. Oh yeah, this movie must really blow.

And blow it did. Sporting a bloated budget and the big-studio marketing push, nearly $140 was put behind a film that didn't come close to a $10 million opening weekend. This is the kind of failure that gets Wall Street to notice. So dismal is the ledger entry that it has rekindled talk surrounding the Comcast attempt to buy Disney a short time ago. But the laughable conclusion is that while the string of movie failings for the House of Mouse has possibly made it more affordable to a take over, Comcast my simply walk away from a losing enterprise it once coveted.

The failure of "The Alamo" does manage one bit of positive news--its underscores the ludicrous nature of the hyper-liberal hand-wringing that normally gets provoked by historical epics. I for one was not surprised to read that Mexicans were rather in a fit over the movie, but the reasons had me scratching my head. If I'm reading this AP story correctly Mexican residents are not upset at a stilted film portrayal, but rather the movie actually displayed events that happened. It looks to me that they expected this to be "only" about the Alamo massacre, and they are dissapointed that the defeat of Mexican troops at the Battle of San Jacinto was shown at the end of the movie. I would tend to think this was a crucial addendum, given the traditional "Remember the Alamo" was employed here, and the fact that San Jacinto was played out just one month after the titular story.

More comical to me is a column written by Oscar Villalon in the San Francisco Chronical, who is in a lather because of the numerous atrocities against Mexican-Americans not displayed on screen. While I feel for the guy's personal angst, it is misdirected here. He wants to address items like the activities of the Texas Rangers who wiped out a number of hispanics in violent sweeps through the state. He also wants mention made that the first move towards desegregation in schools involved Mexican students in San Diego.

These are important issues to be sure, but any writer would have a difficult time working them into a story that took place around 80-100 years previous. Tough to segue from a a dusty battle scene in the 1830's to a courtroom in 1931. If I could offer advice to Mr. Villalon, and any others bent out of shape by a movie of sort it is to remember--it's a Disney movie! Mel Gibson addressed this misguided angst years ago when people were miffed at the historical innacurracies in the animated "Pocahantos". He pointed out that the film also had animals communicating with humans: so much for the importance of accuracy in entertainment.

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