Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Now set for October release, Variety reviews Queens of Langkasuka

Following up on the news that Queens of Langkasuka has been postponed from its August 12 release comes word that it will be released on October 9. Thailand's unstable political scene was cited by director Nonzee Nimibutr as the reason for the delay, but given the mixed response for the film at the Cannes Film Market, I wonder if there are other factors to consider.

Now comes a Variety review, from Cannes, that heaps more troublesome scorn on the film. Derek Elley writes:

Medieval pirates, assorted sorcerers, giant cannons and Thai star Ananda Everingham riding a giant stingray are just some of the visual attractions in Queens of Langkasuka, a long-in-the-works fantasy actioner that rarely fulfills its inherent promise. Helmed by one of the country's leading directors, Nonzee Nimibutr (Nang Nak), and the biggest Thai production of the year, the pic finally delivers in its last three reels but is elsewhere hampered by stiff direction, immobile camerawork and choppy plotting. Casting and hype will ensure an initially big opening locally [...]; cutting by a good half-hour could sharpen offshore chances.

Known during production as Queens of Pattani, and originally planned as a two-parter, the movie is likely to open locally in a version different from the international cut that preemed in the Cannes market. In whatever version, this will never be an Asian Pirates of the Caribbean -- the pic is not even in widescreen -- as Nimibutr seems out of his depth helming such big-budget fare. In fact, Queens lacks even the visual sheen of his best movies.

Disappointing and worrisome. Still, I want to see it, even if it is a mess.

At the heart of the tale are some really big cannons, which pirate captain Black Raven (Nang Nak's Winai Kraibutr) plans to use against Queen Hijau of Pattani (veteran actress Jarunee Suksawat). But the cannons never reach their intended emplacement, and sink to the bottom of the sea when the ship carrying them blows up.

Meanwhile, a boy, Pari, is schooled in sorcery by White Ray (Sorapong Chatree), who was also a mentor to Black Raven. The boy grows up, learning the ways of the ocean and becomes Ananda Aquaman. He also learns he must avenge his father's death.

Dan Chupong co-stars as Prince Jarang, the loyal commander of Queen Hijau's forces.

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