In recent years Chinese animation, not to be confused with Japanese anime, has been making big strides. Fortunately, starting Nov 15th in LA and select theaters in the US & Canada on Nov 29th, GKIDS is releasing the hit Chinese animated film White Snake. This is a stunning animated legend that, while not suitable for all ages, will entertain and inspire those who do give it a chance.
White Snake tells the story of Blanca, who is actually a snake spirit or demon that can assume a human form. The problem with being human is she forgets her past and who she is. It is only when Blanca is given a magical hairpin by her sister Verta that she remembers and can begin her work to assassinate the evil General, who sucks the energy from snakes to gain complete power.
Blanca goes from remembering to forgetting throughout the movie, and in many different environments. Some moments are flashbacks, others are amidst the land of the snake catchers. There she meets Sean as he is being forced to work for the General catching snakes.
I also really enjoyed the romantic subplot where Sean and Blanca have to decide what they are willing to sacrifice for love. There is even one ‘grown-up’ moment of sensuality, which is unusual but beautifully done for an animated film. The two must decide if it is worth becoming a demon so they can love each other, creating a complex and interesting question.
The plot honestly gets a little convoluted but it doesn’t really matter because the film is so beautiful and the action is stunning. Animating in CGI, White Snake manages to bring in the fluidity of 3D animation with the aesthetic of a Chinese watercolor painting. It is beautiful and it’s during these action scenes where the film works flawlessly.
But it’s not only the action which is beautiful, but the landscapes and world-building are gorgeous as well. I don’t know when I’ve seen CGI animation that was so lush and striking before.
Unfortunately, the film is not all beauty and grace. Despite a cool character design, I must admit I was not a fan of a slinky antagonist called Fox Spirit. She is literally half fox/half human but her voice and mannerisms are more grating than menacing. The main villain General is more of a wounded character that gets lost in the lust for power. Fox Spirit is just irritating.
All that said, if you want to see a visually breathtaking animated film with some of the best action you’ll see, check out White Snake. It’s something unique and special, and definitely worth the effort to hunt down and watch.
Have you heard of the legend of White Snake? Are you anticipating this film? Let us know in the comments section!
Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden