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From Coconuts Bangkok

Reenter the cave again and again with two more rescue saga adaptations

A promotional still for ‘Thai Cave Rescue’. Photo: Netflix

A promotional still for ‘Thai Cave Rescue’. Photo: Netflix

The Ron Howard-directed Thirteen Lives premieres today – but not in Thailand – two days after Netflix pinned a September release date on Thai Cave Rescue, a six-episode limited series about the 2018 ordeal to free the boys and their coach from a flooded cave in northernmost Thailand.

Directed by Kevin Tancharoen (Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya (Bad Genius, One For the Road), the Netflix dramatization will portray the incident with more emotional heft, focusing on the points of view of the 12 boys and their coach, as well as the volunteers. When it was first announced in 2019, Crazy Rich Asians director John M. Chu’s name was attached to it

Billed as “the most authentic and expansive retelling yet,” it was filmed in Thailand and is the only project officially sanctioned by the government agency established to control access to those involved. Scenes were shot at the boys’ homes as well as the cave site.

It will feature a mostly Thai cast led by Papangkorn “Beam” Lerkchaleampote as football coach Eak, and Thaneth “Ek” Warakulnukroh as Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn. It stars Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund and Manatsanun “Donut” Phanlerdwongsakul as Kelly and Pim, who represent real-world hydraulic engineers and park rangers.

That it won government support suggests that audiences should expect a noncritical examination of events, given the complaints from Narongsak and other officials over the depiction in the first cinematic treatment of the crisis, 2019’s The Cave.

Thirteen Lives, on the other hand, was filmed in Australia, and therefore avoided any creative conflict with the government-created 13 Tham Luang Co. Ltd.

The film’s star-studded cast includes Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, and Tom Bateman. Mortensen, Farrell, and Edgerton play cave divers Richard Stanton, John Volanthen, and Richard Harris, respectively. 

Thirteen Lives will be released Aug. 5 on Amazon Prime, the same day as The Cave is released after a three-year pandemic delay in North America by Lionsgate as Cave Rescue. 

Thai Cave Rescue premieres Sept. 22 on Netflix.

In late June, the boys visited Tham Luang to make alms and pay respects to their rescuers on the fourth-anniversary of their world-gripping ordeal.

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I just watched Thirteen Lives (the Ron Howard film on Amazon Prime). It was better than I was expecting and gives a lot of credit to the many local volunteers, but focuses squarely on the rescue divers, which is fair enough I suppose. They had to build some quite elaborate sets, that's for sure.

I haven't had a chance to see The Rescue yet because it's on Disney+ and I don't have a subscription to that one. But I feel like as the definitive documentary it's probably better.

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From Coconuts Bangkok

Thailand will seek UNESCO status for site of cave rescue saga

National parks officials will propose the northern cave where a team of footballers went missing in 2018 be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The cave in Chiang Rai province, where 12 members of the Wild Boars football team and their coach were trapped by floodwaters for 17 days before their rescue, will be nominated for recognition by the U.N. cultural agency as a landmark with historical significance.

National parks chief Ratchada Suriyakul said the department has studied the area and authored a decree to help deem it suitable as a possible UNESCO site covering over 12,000 rai (1,920-hectares) across four subdistricts: Wiang Phang Kham, Pong Pha, Pong Ngam and Huai Krai. He said that he hoped it would win UNESCO designation by 2025.

Thailand continues to take advantage of the massive world interest in the rescue of the Wild Boars to promote tourism in the impoverished region. After three years of closure, the park reopened in October and sees more than 1,000 daily visitors.

A creative agency announced in August that it would spent a billion baht to build a “world-class tourist attraction” where visitors could relive the rescue via a virtual simulation.

Not only that, but a handful of movie projects recounting the events have been released including the Ron Howard-directed Thirteen Lives, Netflix’s Thai Cave Rescue (in which Thai officials were directly involved in the project), Cave Rescue (a re-release of 2019’s The Cave featuring Coconuts editor Todd Ruiz), and the National Geographic documentary The Rescue.


In 2021, the United Nation’s cultural agency went forward with the controversial decision to bestow heritage status on the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex despite concerns about the longrunning persecution of its ethnic Karen inhabitants.

Thailand has six sites recognized for their cultural or natural importance by UNESCO: The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, the Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries, the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, and Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex.

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On 10/6/2022 at 8:57 PM, Lotusleaf said:

Thanks Lotusleaf, I did watch Thirteen Lives last night and it was excellent; quite emotional at times in an understate way. The British and Australians who were instrumental in the rescue operations are to be commended as are all those hundreds/thousands involved in the operation.

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52 minutes ago, kokopelli3 said:

The British and Australians who were instrumental in the rescue operations are to be commended as are all those hundreds/thousands involved in the operation.

So many Thais helped out in so any ways. I always think of the owners of the rice fields close to the cave as they had to be flooded as the cave was drained. They were offered compensation. None accepted it. It was their duty to help, they stated.

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“I wish the entire incident would inspire everyone to start living for others. This small change could be a game changer for the world.” 

May he rest in peace.


We forgot about our offs and petty concerns. We were all Thais for those fateful days.

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16 hours ago, fedssocr said:

they've really gotten big in 5 years. It would be nice to hear what they're all doing now

Coach now appears to be smallest one in the group. 

I’d think that someone will write a follow up account of their lives because IMO it remains the greatest rescue story in modern history.


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