Suriyothai” which tells the story of Siam’s most famous queen; Queen Suriyothai of Ayutthaya. That film was the largest and most expensive production ever mounted by Thailand and “The Legend of King Naresuan” has gone considerably bigger than that piece. This is not a film review but I would say they are excellent movies though probably will not please everyone, certainly foreign audiences. Each are very epic in scope, no expense spared, visually stunning, engaging and a spectacle to behold. They both also have a huge number of characters, a great deal going on simultaneously so that foreigners in particular will probably have a hard time keeping track of everyone and everything going on, certainly if you are not familiar with the names and places.
Lately, I have felt more and more compelled to try and remind people from European countries in particular just how much they have to be proud of and how much greater they are capable of being than simply another province of the European Union. European monarchies have done films that are somewhat in the same vein as these but they often seem to get stuck on certain figures and so we have numerous films about Queen Elizabeth I of England or Napoleon Bonaparte but nothing about others. Many have also been made by people openly hostile to their subject and none have been made by royals or royal relatives themselves. In English history the nearest thing are the films done on Shakespeare’s plays about Henry V but one could make a great epic film about Henry V without re-doing Shakespeare. A film about King Edward III would be magnificent if done properly. King St Louis IX of France, King St Ferdinand III of Castile, Charlemagne, Emperor Otto the Great or Frederick Barbarossa for the Germans would all be excellent topics and highly entertaining I would think.
The point is that there are tremendous tools available to glorify the dynasties of the world and any number of great stories to tell that would fill people with pride and confidence in their royal houses and in their national history. It is no good waiting for others to do it for you. This is also something that has come up recently in Thailand as a Thai historical drama has come under criticism by the Burmese for how they are portrayed which is, in the context of virtually any story about the history of Siam, as the villains. This is silly and a waste of time. Years ago when the very well made but historically atrocious film “The Patriot” came out, I was quick to point out its flaws. However, even I, Tory at heart that I am, was rather annoyed by the criticism from the British about how they were portrayed in the film. Such criticism was certainly not unwarranted, I made it myself, but if you are British, you should not be counting on the Americans to tell your side of the story. There should, rather, have been a British film about the war in America in which the Americans were the “bad guys” and the British were the heroes. Likewise, Burma should not complain about how they are portrayed in Thai television, but make their own television drama showing their side of the story.