Two princes get banned from Rattana by their father, King Sudas. During their journey, one of the brothers, Apai Mani, gets kidnapped by a giant sea witch who fell in love with him. His ... See full summary »

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(as Juralak Krittiyarattana)
Sorachai Sang-aakaat
Viyada Umarin
Panadda Wongphudee
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Two princes get banned from Rattana by their father, King Sudas. During their journey, one of the brothers, Apai Mani, gets kidnapped by a giant sea witch who fell in love with him. His brother Sri Suvan and a couple of warriors want to rescue him. Written by Pedro Vargas

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Adventure | Fantasy

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27 December 2002 (Thailand)  »

Also Known As:

The Prince, the Witch & the Mermaid  »

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1.85 : 1
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Visually impressive "hardcore"-fantasy
2 June 2003 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

"Phra-apai-mani" by Chalart Sriwanda is an adaptation of the literary classic "Soondhornpoo" by poet Sunthon Phu (1786-1855) - sorry if my spelling is wrong. It uses a lot of CGI, but for once that is not so bad. Thai fantasy and horror pictures often use too much CGI and make them rather funny than impressive. One example would be "Kunpan: Legend of the War Lord" (2002), another "The Trek" (2002) or "Krasue: Demonic Beauty" (2002). "Phra-apai-mani" uses even more digital imagery than those two, but since we're completely in a fantasy world, I have no problems with that.

We are presented a world in which sea witches reign, in which a flute enchants tigers, in which Kings lead bloody wars. What I'm actually reminded about is the work of Ray Harryhausen in his Greek history movies. The effects in "Phra-apai-mani" are never as good as in a a Harryhausen film, but I accepted the heavy CGI stuff because I accepted this world as a fantasy world. A world where such creatures dwell. And hey, I have never seen a sea which, so if she's a huge creature in front of a blue screen with lots of CG-weapons, what do I care. At least this film tries to go all the way and show us creatures, show us strange worlds and places, I as a fantasy- and sci-fi-fan can appreciate that.

That said, the film is not for everyone. Of course you have to be a fantasy fan because this is hardcore fantasy. Also, you should be able to accept this visual style which relies so much on CGI. Try to remember how you felt watching "Final Fantasy". Not that this film would come close to the CG-work in that one, but it's the same effort you as a viewer have to make in order to enter this strange world and appreciate the motion picture. It might never get into any film book about important fantasy work, but the Thai film "Phra-apai-mani" is worth a look. I've already seen more than a hundred Thai films and I enjoyed this one more than I enjoyed most other CG-heavy pics from Thailand.

My rating: 7/10


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