White Snake (2019)

Posted in Reviews by - November 02, 2020
White Snake (2019)

Based on a popular Chinese fable, The Legend of the White Snake (aka Madam White Snake), which was first fictionalised during the Ming dynasty and has provided a wealth of interpretations ever since, inspiring Beijing Opera, literature, TV and film. Japan’s Toho studios and the Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong have both had a run at the story, as well as Tsui Hark in 1993 (see Green Snake) and Tony Ching in 2011 (see The Sorcerer and the White Snake, a 3D film starring Jet Li). This fast-paced animated version is a co-production between Chinese studio Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros. in the USA, and focuses on the legend’s romantic elements to tell the story of a tricky love tryst between human and ‘demon’ set 500 years ago. Ah Xuan is an innocent village boy with a cute dog who catches snakes for a living to protect his village and appease an evil general. Blanca is an immortal magical bad-ass from a freaky warrior snake tribe who winds up being nursed back to health by Ah Xuan after her failed attempt to assassinate the general. Their romance is a whirlwind, like much of the film, which is full of wonderfully inventive, eye-catching and superbly rendered action, even if the story does ultimately take a backseat, simply providing exposition to move from one vivid set-piece to the next. Don’t be fooled, however, by the talking dog, Prince Charming and the obligatory musical number; this is distinctly edgier than your standard, family-friendly Disney fare. Small children may have a hard time with some of the violence, the sinister beasties and giant snake battles, not to mention the film’s underlying sensuality which seems oddly placed, particularly during the scenes involving a saucy half-human, half-fox demon fixer which is certainly not the kind of thing you would find in a Frozen movie. On the whole, though, it’s an enjoyable romp with spectacle to spare.

White Snake is available to buy on Blu-ray, DVD and digital in the UK from 9 November 2020 courtesy of Dazzler Media.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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