Sorcerer and the White Snake
is a film
that wants you to sit up and take notice. Everything about it screams
‘Look at me!’ like a kid craving parental approval. With its flashy
fantasy battles, ultra-bright palette and lavish CGI effects, the movie
sets out to be nothing less than a visual and emotional spectacle of the
remote mountainside, snake demon Susu and her sister Qingqing decide to
play a trick on some local men who are out foraging for herbs. Qingqing
assumes her demon form, knocking Xu Xian into the river below. But Susu
suffers an attack of the guilts, and rescues Xian by giving him some of
her life force. Captivated by the mortal she’s
just rescued, Susu insinuates herself into his life by pretending to be
a human woman.
Abott Fahai and his young protégé Ren are hunting the bat demons that
are attacking and killing the local populace. During his investigations
Ren befriends Qingqing, unaware that she is a demon.
foolishly tries to take on the bat demon by himself, but is bitten, and
slowly begins to transform into his worst nightmare.
now a demon and Susu and Xian engaged to be married, Abott Fahai
continues his ruthless hunt of demonkind, a mission that threatens to
destroy all parties involved.
is fairly basic, and it never really evolves into anything more than the
‘forbidden love’ scenario that we’ve seen countless times before. But
all of the roles are executed quite well, especially Raymond Lam as the
pathetic, ignorant and hopeful Xian. Shengyi Huang is charming enough as
Susu, and Jet Li steps comfortably into the role of the grizzled old
martial arts veteran.
One way to
describe the direction of White Snake would be ‘energetic.’ Another
would be ‘manic.’ The film flits from one character or scene to the
next, almost on a whim, without any narrative structure to tie the whole
forbidden romance between Susu and Xian is the main storyline, and every
other detail is just an excuse for Jet Li to fight a giant snake or take
part in a battle of wills against demonic foxes in a bamboo forest.
White Snake is a treat… or rather a banquet. Some stunning
camera-work captures just about every colour that nature has to offer,
and this is supplemented by sublime costumes and sets. During the battle
scenes, CGI effects are heaped on with a trowel: Snakes fly out of
peoples’ hands, giant fists appear out of the sky, frost and fireballs
these special effects aren’t on par with the latest offerings from
hollywood, they’re still quite impressive- barring some awkward moments
when the CGI is applied to the actors themselves.
some faint, intermittent graininess to the image, but the dearth of
colours are very well defined. In the audio department there is an
ever-so-slight lapse in the audio sync, but this never becomes a real
isn’t much to get excited about here, just some trailers for other films
in the WuXing collection and a sound check for the DTS-HD audio system.
Sorceror and the White Snake
is a Mardi
Gras of colour and sound. There are some broken story arcs and some
dodgy CGI moments, but in the end the positive vibe, energy and
attention to detail are enough to carry it over the line.