Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thai Epics - We Can Only Dream To Match Them.

Thai filmmakers are getting more and more ambitious with their movies. Ever since Tanit Jitnukul's massive hit Bang Rajan was released in 2000, Thai filmmakers, who can pool millions of dollars for their quest of producing epic movies, have tried to better it.

One such filmmaker is Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol whose Suryothai in 2001 sort of set new standards for the Kingdom's epic movies.

Such was Suryothai's impact in global cinema, that Francis Ford Coppola agreed to lend his name as Executive Producer in the re-cut international release.
Award winning filmmaker, Nonzee Nimbutr, whose horror flick Nang Nak, became a massive hit domestically and internationally, also tried his hand at directing an epic - the 2008 movie Queens of Langkasuka. Nonzee's movie, even with its faults, to me was the best Malay epic ever produced in Thai language. Those who watched it know what I mean.

However, it is Prince Yukol that sealed his status as the Kingdom's best epic filmmaker. He stamped his class with his Naresuan Trilogy.

The first part was released in 2007. Part two, released as Kingdom of War overseas was released a year later. However, the final part (Naresuan 3) was only released earlier this year.
Budget-wise, the trilogy is the most expensive produced films in Thailand's history.
And if you had seen any of the three, you can see why.
I haven't seen Part 3 yet, but Part 2 was a truly amazing epic.
Eventhough the story is a little convoluted due to the many palace intrigues and the politics of ancient Siam, the pay off at the end is worth the wait.
The final battle scenes which lasted easily an hour in duration is also breathtaking.
Watching Naresuan makes me believe that unless we really have similar kind of funds, we shouldn't even try to make epics.
Naresuan makes both Puteri Gunung Ledang and Merong Mahawangsa look so pitiful. Not only in technical terms, but also in the storytelling department.
Just look at the trailer of Naresuan 2 and you'll know what I mean.

Catch the movie, be patient in trying to remember the names of the princes and lords, the numerous kingdoms at war, the beautiful heroines and the numerous colorful tribes involved in this bit of Ayuthiya history, and enjoy the movie as it sends you on a rollercoaster ride in the last act.

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