Out now on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital is White Snake. This is a Chinese animation based on the folktale Legend of the White Snake.
I’m not sure about the folktale but from what I can surmise from watching the film what I can tell you is centuries ago China was at war with demon snakes. Humanity, lead by an evil general is rounding up snakes to use their magic to attain immortality. To combat this the snake demon clan try to assassinate the general and send their most capable warrior.
Unfortunately, she is defeated and loses her memories in the process. Thankfully, Blanca is saved by a young man. This young man is Xuan, and he is the local impressionable hero of this particular film and he is so naive, it physically hurts.
He decides to try and help Blanca remember who she is with his furry dog sidekick Duduo. Along the way, they fight against her kind, traverse strange and magical ruins and maybe, if we’re lucky they’ll fall in love.
Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?
White Snake is easily one of the worst films I have seen in 2020. It’s that simple. It has been atrociously dubbed with subpar lip-syncing. On top of this, the acting is terrible. All of the actors sound like each piece of dialogue they are delivering is their first read take. This has the knock-on effect of no character feeling like they have a rapport with each other. I wish I had been able to watch this film in its native language, I imagine the emotions of the performances would have been far more impactful.
The motivations of each character also seem to flip on a dime. One minute a character is trying to help another and then I kid you not a minute passes in the film and that same character is trying to kill them. The pacing of the White Snake is also all over the place. At about the hour mark Xuan has a revelation and makes a pivotal decision. It feels like something that should happen in the final moments of the story, but the film just pushes for this motivation so early that it loses any narrative importance.
Snake skin that shines
If there was anything that is close to decent in White Snake, it is the animation or at least the still imagery. This film is gorgeous or at least it would if it were a collection of still images. The animation itself is nothing particularly brilliant. However, certain scenes look absolutely stunning when seen through the prism of a gallery.
White Snake is an attempt at telling what I imagine is an emotional Romeo and Juliet style war epic. It fails at every step and if not for its impressive imagery it would be completely forgettable.
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