Last Sunday I made my first visit to a movie theatre in Thailand, the SFX Cinema complex at the Central Chaeng Watana mall. I have seen several movies since I've been here but all have been DVDs or from the movie channels I get with my TV package. The film I went to see was Inception which I had read good things about. I was entertained but not really impressed by the film. Conceptually it explored some interesting ideas but had so many "action sequences" that went on for so long that I almost got bored. Special effects can only take you so far. The best thing about the movie was what happened right before the start, after endless previews and commercials: everybody stood up for a short - maybe two to three minutes - film of the King of Thailand, showing historical grainy footage, mostly black and white with no sound other then music and a few words in Thai as subtitles, which of course I couldn't read. Most of the images showed him and sometimes members of his family engaged in civic activities. The Thais love their king - he is very well respected and considered above politics - and I assume this film goes on before every commercial showing. It was a strange experience.
Then today, while listening to the Thai radio station that broadcasts news in English every 7 AM, I learned that a new version featuring the Thai king was in the making, due to be completed by his birthday in early December. It is also slated to be shown in all public theaters prior to the main feature. So now when you come to visit and if we go to the movies, you won't be surprised. .