White Snake Review

White Snake

China is starting to become a major player in Hollywood. Although their film industry has been around for decades, the animation is still a relatively new thing in China. Chinese animated films have been made before but none to the frequency that we’ve seen within the past couple of years. One of the up-and-coming Chinese animation studios is Light Chaser Animation. Their first film, Door Guardians, made an impression right away. Does their second feature film, White Snake, build upon the success of their first film?

In a way, yes. On the surface, some of the film’s animation does seem primitive compared to the big-name players. Regardless, the film is still beautiful. Sadly, the film itself is also predictable and generic.

White Snake follows Blanca, a young woman who is saved by a snake catcher from a local village. As she tries to remember who she is, both of them go on a journey that will change their lives forever.

White Snake

For their second theatrical release, Light Chaser Animation does an impressive job. However, the character animation does look primitive. Not that it looks bad but it looks does look like a studio’s first attempt into feature-length animation. In other words, the characters move like ragdolls and the human skin looks like plastic. Regardless, for their second film ever, everything else looks wonderful. The environments are lush and beautiful like DreamWorks’ recent Abominable or Kung Fu Panda. Not to mention, the special effects are vibrant and beautiful. Be that as it may, the film is not for children. There are several adult content in the film.

As a whole, White Snake takes inspiration from a lot of different films. However, the biggest influence comes locally. For most moviegoers, audiences think of wuxia “wire-fu” films when they think of Chinese films. For example, films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero. The film’s action sequences take inspiration from these kinds of films. But due to the nature of animation, the action sequences are much more fluid.

Yet the most interesting aspect of the film comes from the film’s Chinese folklore. The fantastical concept of demons (shapeshifting human/animal hybrids) and magic inhabiting the world is so cool to see on-screen. Much of the film’s entertainment does come from all of these fantastical elements. So much so, that it reminds me of Andrew Lau’s The Storm Riders.

White Snake

Unfortunately, the story is as generic as it gets. The storyline’s predictability doesn’t bring any fun or surprises at all. At the same time, there isn’t a lot of world-building in this film at all. Then again, the story of the white snake is very famous in China. In other words, think of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or The Grinch. So any sort of world-building is irrelevant since the film was originally made for Chinese audiences. For that reason, try to curb your expectations when it comes to the film’s world-building and character development.

For someone unfamiliar with the folktale, the main characters’ relationship develops rather quickly. Yet as the film progresses, the relationship becomes tender and sweet. You want them to be together despite their “Romeo and Juliet” style dilemma. They’re from two different worlds but in the end, you want them to be together.

Overall, White Snake is a beautifully animated film from Light Chaser Animation. Even though the animation house is still developing their craft, it’s amazing to see what they did with their second film ever. It makes you wonder what will come after many years and films under their belt.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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