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Legend of Sudsakorn
 

Sorradithep Supachanya champ@thaicinema.org

   
 

Kaisorn Buranasings The Legend of Sudsakorn easily falls into the unfortunate category of a much-hyped blockbuster gone disastrously wrong. Reportedly cost 100 million baht and three years to make, the movie only has quality visual effect to match its production effort, while its plot barely holds together, its message tragically lost, and its characters invariably one-dimensional.

Set in a land of mermaids and magic, the movie tells an adventurous story of a young boy named Sudsakorn (Charlie Trairat) who left his mermaid mother for a perilous journey in searching for his long-lost human father.

Written in the 19th century by one of Thailand s greatest poets, the coming-of-age story teaches the important lesson of a real world experience. In one of his misadventures in the original text when Sudsakorn is pushed off a cliff by a cunning thief who wants to steal the boys magical horse and wane, he is rescued by a Yogi Hermit who then teaches him not to be so naively trusting of men.

Such a message (and that particular scene) is lost in the live version. The movie only concerns itself with unnecessarily long action sequences that never lead to how Sudsakorn learns to wise up. The attacks by ghosts and giant butterflies, for example, begin as suddenly and inexplicably as they end.

Moreover, the movie makes no effort to explore Sudsakorns relationships with his mother and surrogate father. His magical horse also seems like a mere transportation vehicle than a companion. With hasty and choppy transitions, the movie seems to be in a hurry to get to the next action sequence. The end is no betterthe supposedly touching father-and-son reunion ends up like Sudsakorn accidentally running into his father.

The movie introduces too many characters and sub-plots. It is understandable that the director wants to stay faithful to the literature of which The Legend of Sudsakorn is actually an episode, but I fail to see why should the uncle, his three sidekicks, the fathers nemesis, and even a gang of bandits get more screen time than Sudsakorns parents and surrogate father.

Charlie Trairat starred in the titular role before his better work in Dorm earlier this year, and his inexperience is strongly evident. Two other child actors, Anyarit Pitaktikul and Nuttathida Damrongwisetpanich, as Sudsakorns newfound playmates, speak and act in such a 21st-century manner that their performances become annoyingly anachronous. The grownups are not as bad, but are not afforded the chance to act because, with so many characters, everyone seems like a cameo role. The only other prominent character, the Naked Hermit (Patimakorn Vinichpanichkul), strangely reminds me of Gollum in Lord of the Rings, without the charm or the intelligence.

The Legend of Sudsakorn must have aimed to be the Thailands response to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Despite having excellent material to work with, the director mishandles the movie and it become empty, confused, and forgettable. This may be another case of inferiority complexneeding to prove to the world that Thailand can make an effect-ridden epic fantasy in the Hollywood scale. Too bad much of the product time, effort, and money are wasted with special effects because what makes a good movie is, among other things, a good storyline, a relevant theme, and identifiable characters. Without these, The Legend of Sudsakorn becomes one of the biggest disappointments of 2006.

   
 

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