We first see Princess Suriyothai as she is on the cusp of adulthood. Though she loves anotherman, she agrees to marry a prince out of duty to her country. This sets a pattern that will holdthroughout her life, as any decision she makes is not for her own sake but that of the nation. Shewill have plenty of call to be selfless, as a series of palace intrigues threatens the stability of whatwill become Thailand, and leaves it at the mercy of Burma. There is a lot of voice-over h…re,telling us who’s who and what’s what, and the tale, as we travel the decades, at times feels morelike a history lesson than a narrative. Since it turns out that the Queen of Thailand commissionedthe film to teach her compatriots of their history, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. As well,some of the action scenes are a little flat. Suriyothai’s ride into battle is particularly anticlimactic.Nonetheless, the film draws you in. The story is undeniably fascinating, and the look is utterlysumptuous.
The sound is a superb 5.1 in the original Thai. The music is most impressive, and theenvironmental effects are very successful. During the early pastoral sequences, waterfalls echoand insects buzz on all sides. The war scenes have satisfyingly loud explosions, and the bulletswhizzing out of the rear speakers are quite properly startling.
The colours are the most successful aspect of the transfer. They are deep and beyond lush,with fabulous contrasts and satisfying blacks. Most striking are the reds, warm browns and richgreens. There is some edge enhancement visible, however, and the sharpness of the image varies.Interior shots tend to be very sharp, but some exteriors, especially in the early goings, are quitesoft. The aspect is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.
Exectutive producer Kim Aubry talks with writer/director Chatri Chalerm Yukol on theaudio commentary. Prince Chatri’s accent in English is quite strong, but still understandable, anddoesn’t really need the subtitles that he is given in the Making-of featurette. This last packs 14chapters into 18 minutes, but certainly answered a lot of questions I had about the making of thefilm. There are also 7 deleted scenes, a photo gallery, a poster gallery, and trailers for a handfulof Sony Classics films. The menu’s introduction is animated and scored, and the rest of the menuis scored.
The title is a little misleading, in that our heroine is a supporting character in her own story:she has surprisingly little screen time. But the film is still well worth seeing, and consistentlybeautiful and entertaining.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Poster Gallery
- Photo Gallery