Directed by Kompin Kemgumnird, it's the story of a young elephant named Khan Kluay who wanders away from his herd and ends up becoming a work elephant in a village, and eventually the prized war elephant of King Naresuan the Great.
It took three years to make and was released in 2006, and won several awards, including Best Picture at the Subhanahongsa Awards. Technically, it is pretty marvelous to look at, and toward the end has some action scenes that would have fit in with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
But a review at Blogcritics is pretty harsh.
The Blue Elephant succeeds as a showcase for the animation techniques of its original Thai animation studio but fails to connect as a meaningful motion picture. It’s perfectly pretty to look at, but there’s just not much substance or cohesiveness going on under its trunk. At its best, it announces to the world that Thailand has some significant CG animation talent, while at its worst it exposes the short shrift given to plot and character development.
The review goes on to say it's derivative of Disney (not necessarily a bad thing), and says the quality of animation approaches Blue Sky Studios' Ice Age or Dreamworks' Madagascar. Indeed, director Kompin worked on the Disney features as Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Tarzan, as well as Ice Age.
The Blue Elephant is part of the "Discoveries" series of releases by The Jim Henson Company and The Weinstein Company's Genius Products (PDF).
I am disappointed to find out that the Thai soundtrack has been entirely dumped. Martin Short, Carl Reiner and Miranda Cosgrove are the Hollywood stars brought in to serve as voice talent, but they fall short. Blogcritics has more:
The entire cast is uniformly abysmal, making this reviewer long for the absent original Thai audio to accompany the included English subs. The performances could possibly be chalked up to poor direction in the localization effort, but whatever the cause, the vocal cast does the film no favors. Also, there’s little attempt to marry the U.S. script to the Thai character speech, so the film constantly seems to have an audio/video synch problem.
I would have expected better from the people who built Snuffleupagus. But, since the Thai-released DVD of Khan Kluay doesn't have English subs, The Blue Elephant is the only English-friendly alternative we're going to get.
The Blue Elephant is available at Amazon.