May 23, 2006

Baby Elephant Walk

So do they call it Thainimation? On May 18th, Studio Kantana released Thailand's first full 3D-CGI animated feature, Khan Kluay. In true Thai spirit, the film is about ... elephants. (Click the green elephant in the intro screen to see a trailer.) Says a quick summary at movieseer:
Khankluay is a young elephant who lives his carefree life in a forest, but he's always wondering of his lost father whom he's never met. Inspired by the intention to search for his father, Khankluay leaves the forest and sets his journey to the bigger world. His journey brings such an extraordinary adventure to him. He's experienced so many lessons of life, and finds real friends. Finally, Khankluay becomes a mature elephant who's so brave and powerful, but has a gentle heart. He fights for the king and country until his courage becomes a legend.

The Bangkok Post's review has mixed reactions:
...while our chests are certainly swelled with the pride and joy that Thai artists have produced an animation of startling technical achievement - one that's breathtakingly close to the flag-bearers like Pixar - the movie also force-feeds us Thais with the pride deeply associated with a primitive brand of patriotism. Considering that the film is supposed to be a children's treat, the 150-million-baht Khan Kluay presents a pretty yet profoundly odd package, especially when the young elephant of the title receives a pep-talk on how he should be proud to sacrifice his life for his country by battling, who else, the invading Burmese.
And somehow there's a Lord of the Rings homage in it too, because, y'know. Personally, I'd say it hews closer to the Dreamworks house style than Pixar, but now I'm just waffling. In any case, it's a big artistic step for a country more commonly associated with tourism and food.


MooL said...

I get the video game feel, but it definately resembles Dreamworks more than Pixar.

The scene with baby Khan Kluay and his mother strongly reminds me of the Land Before Time.

12:57 PM  

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