There's no elephant in the room in The Legend of King Naresuan Part IV. Well, okay, maybe one or two. But not the huge fighting herd of pachyderms that was promised for the fourth movie in the series.
It's tough to get those big beasts to cooperate for the cameras, so the vaunted elephant battle will be depicted in Naresuan 5, which is being filmed at the Prommitr studio in Kanchanaburi. It's tentatively planned for release in December.
Meanwhile, there's enough battle footage – some of it shot for the first two installments back in 2007 – to cobble together another violent and bloody chapter from ancient Siamese history. Naresuan 4 (Tamnan Somdej Phra Naresuan Maharaj 4: Suek Nandabayin, ตำนานสมเด็จพระนเรศวรมหาราช ภาค 4 ศึกนันทบุเรง) is being released this week to coincide with the auspicious occasion of Her Majesty the Queen's birthday on August 12, which is also Mother's Day in Thailand.
Naresuan 4 follows the March release of Naresuan 3.
Meanwhile, the first two movies in the Naresuan series have been released on DVD in the U.S. as Kingdom of War.
With the movie's subtitle loosely translated to mean "wars with Nandabayin", Naresuan 4 focuses on the various battles with the army of Burmese King Nandabayin in the 16th century.
Jakrit Ammart portrays the Burmese monarch. Lt. Colonel Wanchana Sawasdee returns as Naresuan, back in action with a cast of thousands that includes Taksaorn Paksukcharoen, Chatchai Plengpanich, Sorapong Chatree, Grace Mahadumrongkul and Inthira Charoenpura.
"Peter" Nopachai Jayanama is back as Naresuan's right-hand man Lord Ratchamanu. Also starring in Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Headshot, he's interviewed in today's Bangkok Post.
The trailer (now with English subtitles), playing for the past month or so in cinemas, on Bangkok's skytrain and elsewhere, has been frightening children and tourists with a graphic beheading scene. It's embedded below.