Review by Chastity Campbell
Narrators: Dennis Quaid, Kenny Rogers
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen Color, and Black & White
Features: See Review
Length: 240 Minutes
Release Date: December 30th, 2003
ďREMEMBER THE ALAMO!Ē
I believe it was during one of my junior high school
history classes that I first heard the phrase, ďRemember The Alamo!Ē
Well unfortunately, I didnít remember much about what happened at the
Alamo until I popped in these DVDs. So
much of our nationís history cannot be appreciated until you are older and
wiser. While I hate to admit that
Iím getting older, I donít mind getting wiser.
This box set contains two DVDs with four documentaries that
link together to give you a wider picture of the battle of the Alamo, the people
who fought there, and what came after.
The first DVD contains two documentaries, Remember The
Alamo and The Real West: The Battle Of The Alamo, narrated by Dennis
Quaid, who coincidentally will be appearing in the feature film The Alamo,
coming to theatres sometime in 2004.
Both of these documentaries take you inside the Alamo,
before and after the battle. Through
black and white still photographs and re-enactments you will take a visual
journey back in time and watch as one of the western frontierís most
historical battles builds and unfolds.
The narration by Dennis Quaid is steady, and despite being
monotone at times, very interesting.
The photographs will help you more easily identify with the events taking
place on screen, but the narration does fill in historical gaps that help things
make sense over all.
The second DVD in this box set deals with the Alamo
indirectly and directly at the same time.
Davy Crocket: American Frontier Legend is a
biographical piece on the life of Mr. Crocket, and the mystery surrounding his
death at the battle of the Alamo. Again
old photographs and re-enactments make you feel as though your walking his
lifeís path right along with him as he struggles to survive and prosper in the
ever changing landscape of 1800ís America.
The Real West: The Texas Rangers was for me the most
interesting out of the four presentations in this box set.
Still photographs of the first Rangers who patrolled the
frightening and wild Texas landscape after it was liberated from the Mexican
dictator Santa Ana, who was the military leader behind the battle of the Alamo,
give this story a lot of character.
The faces of the men in those photographs charged with
protecting the families that settled in Texas from Indian war parties and
Mexican raiders was a very powerful visual aid to understanding the times they
lived in. The re-enactments in this presentation were nice, but it was the
photographs that stood out the most.
I enjoyed listening to Kenny Rogers narrate this story.
He has a very good voice for this type of documentary.
He never sounded flat or monotone, and always put emphasis on any
individual who was known for a historical act or event.
This helped bring those characters forward, and separate them from the
people who were, if youíll excuse the phrase, supporting characters.
A&E has yet to disappoint me with a production, and I
honestly hope they never do. Putting
something like this together on this scale, requires a lot of planning, staging,
and just in general a lot of hard work.
From the interviews with historians who have made the Alamo
and American history their lifeís work, to the journals, letters, and still
photographs that take you into the hearts and minds of the individuals who are
no longer here to share these stories, everyone will be able to find something
about this box set to enjoy. If you
have a history hungry child at home, or are just interested in learning more
about this country and the Lone Star state for yourself, you wonít want to
miss out on these DVDs!
The video quality of these two DVDs was wonderful. I loved the black and white photos of people and places from the 1800ís. The still shots of those photos were very nicely done, with a minimal amount of glare from the lighting used to illuminate them for filming.
The re-enactment of the battle itself and the men who
participated was vivid, and very clean. The
colors were bright, and the shadows used to good effect.
The battle scene itself was lit very well, keeping a nighttime feel about
it, with daytime clarity.
There was a minimal amount of softness to the top edge of
disc two. That disc coincidentally
is the one that contains all the features and thus suffers from the amount of
compression necessary to hold more information.
Overall, there was a very nice look and feel to this box
set, something A&E excels at in my opinion.
The Alamo may have fallen but at least it sounded
great on the way down!
The Dolby Digital Stereo mix on these DVDs was crisp and
clear. There were no drop- outs or
disruptions of any kind on either DVD.
From the announcer, the voiceovers, and individual
re-enactment scenes the audio levels were steady and balanced.
The sound effects were minimal but all were clear, and noticeably present
Volume 1 contains only interactive menus, and scene
selection, but have no fear, volume 2 is here!
The second disc in this two DVD set contains the lions
share of the extras.
An Introduction and Conclusion to Remember the Alamo
featuring Dennis Quaid is ready and waiting when you pop this one in.
Remember The Alamo A Behind The Scenes Featurette is
chock full of information and inside looks at the up and coming feature film, The
Alamo, starring Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton.
An interactive timeline of the events that took place
during the fall of the Alamo is only a click away, and are other interactive
menus, and scene selections.