White Snake: “Before I saw you I meditated for a thousand years, but those thousand years are worth less than a moment with you.”
The Sorcerer And The White Snake (2013) Review:
Since I started this blog, it’s taken on a much more international flavor. I like it. So, today’s review comes from a movie done in Hong Kong in Mandarin. A demon falls in love with a human and wants to meet him and make his life better. Jet Li plays a martial arts-type Buddha Monk who tells her that such love is forbidden because they are from different realms. And Jet Li means business. In the opening scene he fights and traps an ice harpy for seducing people.
But, these demons aren’t all like demons we find so often in Western culture who are inherently evil and seduce people. White Snake is more like Cinderella. She just can’t let her love see her as she truly is, which is a giant white snake. Her love is the herbalist Xu Xian, and she makes his medicine far more powerful. It arouses the suspicion of Master Fahai. (Jet Li!) He knows she’s a demon, but since she is benevolent, he gives her a warning. But, like all fairy tales, the warning is only the beginning. Even though she really loves Xu Xian, the monk shows up and forces her to reveal herself by magic, and of course, fighting. It’s like Cinderella meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon…and is as visually impressive!
Like most fairy tales, it features cute animals that talk. (I like the turtle. He…talks…slowly…) One such animal is a mouse who tells Xu Xian of an herb so that she can come back to him. But, he is captured by monks, and his memory erased…this makes White Snake angry and she and her demon buddies (Including another snake-woman!) attack the temple to free him. This leads the monk to question if what he’s done is right as the temple is destroyed by an epic kung fu battle with White Snake summoning a tidal wave to smash the temple! The monks erasing Xu Xian’s mind are beset by little rats. Great scene.
So, anyway, despite being a fairy tale romance, it’s an action movie too! It was pretty good. Although it never really does lose the fairy tale tone…which I guess is all right, because it is a fairy tale…however it does seem wildly out of place when an epic battle suddenly erupts and there’s…talking mice around, and well…Xu Xian’s wife is a thousand year old Snake Demon fighting off monks for his affection! But, that’s the power of love, I guess!
Mainly, I like the film’s fantasy portrayal of the demon world. They’re just like nature spirits, I suppose. And I always enjoy learning the fairy tales of other cultures…so I might be a little more biased on my rating in this one. I could’ve used a little more Jet Li. Apparently, the other actors didn’t have as much training as him, so it leads to a lot of jumping around and using big special effects to end the fights. Which is fine, and flashy! But, I wanted to see a bit more martial arts. I wonder if the original fairy tale had martial arts in it?
Anyway, it’s a good love story/action movie which shows the lengths people will go to for love. And what they’ll do to stop it when they’re convinced the love is wrong! But, ultimately, the monk decides that he’s caused too much suffering, and lets White Snake see Xu Xian one last time! For a rating, I’ll give it something in the range of B+. Certainly it’s artfully done. Even though it is a little weird to see talking mice and Cinderella with kung fu monks. But, different is good! It was nice to look at, even in the slow-moving romantic parts.
Basically, if you need a cross between kung fu and the fantasy/action magic of Lord of the Rings, with Jet Li as a Gandalf figure, here’s your ticket! Also, if you specifically want that, you must have very unique interests! But seriously, see this movie. It’s got a little bit of everything with a kung fu movie flavor. Note: I know the movie is from 2011, but the USA DVD was released in 2013!