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The Mexican-American War was an important time for the United States and most importantly the Republic of Texas. Thousands of lives were lost in this war however; it was not in vain. After spending a very long period of time fighting peace was made between both sides creating the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In the film, the Alamo, directed by John Wayne, we were able to get a perspective of what the war was possibly like. While it was not 100% accurate, this nonetheless remains to be one of the few historically accurate movies. Topics such as slavery, gender roles, and stereotypes were explored in this very successful influential film.
The film depicts the events of the Battle of the Alamo and the events leading up to it. We are introduced to another larger than life character, Davey Crockett, who is similar to the protagonist in The Patriot, Benjamin Martin. However, we learn that a hero is not necessarily always just one person but, can occasionally be a group of individuals. These larger than life characters are essentially how the Greeks introduced the ideas of epic characters. These epic characters are characters that are able to go through personal loss and then come back stronger than ever.
In the film we saw characters like, Travis, who took charge of defending the Alamo giving others the option to leave. However, several characters are ready to leave but Travis is able to inspire them once more convincing everyone to stay. This is similar to the scene in The Patriot, when the militia’s families are attacked and Ben gives everyone the option to leave. We see this spark of patriotism arise which is how American films want to portray the winning sides. To much avail, Travis is unfortunately shot and killed, but the others continue to fight on. Not necessarily avoiding the fact that there was some power tension going on between three of the protagonists, nonetheless they were able to put their differences aside for the better of their people.
Throughout the movie we were exposed to a lot stereotypes to how the Mexicans were portrayed. For example, the Mexicans were portrayed as a very exotic people. In one scene, a Mexican woman was dancing on the tabletop dancing salsa. If one has any prior knowledge to Mexican culture, it is known that the Spanish were more interested in salsa dancing. However, due to there being a lot of bias going on in film at the time, directors did not really pay attention to historical and cultural aspects on the Mexicans.
Nonetheless, this was a very powerful film. Despite it being over three hours long, it managed to capture the aesthetic of what really went on at the time. Apart from the stereotypes of the Mexicans, we were still able to get a good idea of the historical aspect of the war. Epic characters were well portrayed and this film showed a perfect example on how not all heroes are alone but there can also be more than one.
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