Nonzee Nimibutr's Queens of Langkasuka (Puen-Yai-Jom-Sa-Lad was presented in a special midnight out-of-competition screening on Friday at the Venice Film Festival.
There, it was reviewed by Lee Marshall for Screen Daily. Marshall writes:
A big-budget Thai period epic that mixes pirates, magic, martial arts action and a kneejerk eco-pacifist subtext, Queens off Langkasuka is good to look at but clunky in pretty much every other department. Those in the mood for a chaste action-laced love story with dazzling costumes will not complain but the Thai Pirates of the Caribbean this most certainly isn't.
Distributor Sahamongkol opens the film in Thailand in October following a [Bangkok International Film Festival] screening. As a mix of family fantasy actioner and national epic, Langkasuka should draw the same sort of audiences as previous big-budget patriotic actioners like the two-part 2007 The Legend of King Naresuan, but it will still struggle to make back its record 140 million baht budget on home ground alone.
The film is neither stylish nor original enough for significant cross-border action, except perhaps in Malaysia (the ancient kingdom of Langkasuka, of which few documentary or archaeological traces remain, spread over both sides of the present-day frontier). Without the dramatic heft and sharp attitude of breakout Asian epics like House of Flying Daggers, Queens of Langkasuka looks unlikely to do much US or European business.
Sigh. Another off-putting review. Meanwhile, an alternate trailer is on YouTube.
Queens of Langkasuka opens in Thai cinemas on October 23.
(Photo via EPA/Monsters & Critics)