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白蛇傳說 (2011)
The Sorcerer and the White Snake

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 06/15/2013
Summary: Pretty. Boring.

Everything old is new again. CGI action adventure is retelling of same old green snake/white snake legend which has been made over and over. Jet Li looks tired and old. Pretty actresses and a talking mouse. There are better films that tell this legend.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: evirei
Date: 02/04/2012
Summary: Pretty but awful at the same time

It really is a big move and risk for director, Tung to remake such a famous chinese folklore which probably have been done to death for the past three to four decade. This is probably one of the movies that Jet Li will regret showing up in (then again, doubt he have a choice since he's returning a huge favour), but yes... definately not a good image he's creating for his comeback since he bid farewell to wuxia movies a few years ago.

As much as I forbid myself from comparing this version with the other versions, I somehow felt Tung's version focus too much on the cosmetic of the movie to the extend of harming the story and action sequence of the show. The story lacked of storyline and seems to cramp in too many different small stories which could actually do without. Not to mentioned characters in the small stories are not fully developed and makes people wonder why were they auditioned for in the first place. Of course, the only possible reason that comes to mind was for advertising and promotions purposes, whereby they could shout out all the big names in their premier but some of them probably did 5 minutes of actual acting.

I guess what disappoints even more was the love story between White Snake and Xu Xian which was under developed and yet they market the movie to be named as "It's Love". Eva Huang and Charlene's comical act really doesn't help in potraying any of it and the chemistry between Eva and Raymond seems awfully akward.

Then again, nothing could do more damage than the overly usage of CGs. It was too much that it actually makes the actors lazy and cost the movie to fall in the same faith with many movies that have bad action sequence, poor performance and it's obvious that they all seems to have lack of passion in what they do.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 12/19/2011
Summary: 6/10 - Pretty

Another remake of the classic story, at heart a love story concerning the trials and tribulations involved with dating a snake demon. Miss White Snake and Miss Green Snake are inhabiting the human realm after some time spent meditating to improve their spirits. Green Snake (Charlene Choi) mischievously endangers a herbalist, but the more spiritually advanced White Snake saves him. The save involves a kiss, and from there springs a strong, binding love between spirit and human.

Jet Li plays the chief demon-hunting monk of the area, banishing dangerous demons and praying for their souls. He does not approve of a snake/human relationship, thinking that no good can come from any relationship between spirit and mortal. Is he proven right, or are his beliefs self-fulfilling?

TS&WS doesn't deviate too far from previous tellings of the story, just adding its own little details and variations to the basic unchanged themes. I can never quite decide whether the human/spirit relationship difficulties are supposed to be a metaphor for human/human relationships, or just a meditation on a situation few of us are likely to find ourselves in.

It does seem to be the season for updating classics with modern technology and production values (once more). As you'd expect of a fantasy/supernatural film in the modern day, TS&WS uses a lot of CGI. Some of it is quite lovely, mostly some gorgeous environments and backdrops and some cool water effects... some of it looks rather cheap and plastically (most notably, the snakes). I'd say it lacks the lush beauty of Tsui Hark's 1994 take on the story, though I imagine that film's age and budget would show if I were to rewatch it now. Somehow, cheap realia never looks quite as conspicuous as cheap CGI.

Action scenes, such as there are, are almost entirely done with CGI - lots of waving of arms and special effects shooting off in all directions. Sometimes it looks pretty damn cool, sometimes it's a bit yawn-worthy.

Special mention must be made of the music, which is almost omnipresent and overbearingly sentimental and intrusive - something more understated would have been much better... the tragic love story is overwraught enough without needing audio reinforcements.

Acting is passable without being in any way remarkable - even Jet Li doesn't seem to be making too much effort with his character.

So, overall, nothing to write home about but a pleasing enough time waster with some nice eye candy. Worth a look, but unlikely to make anybody's list of favourites.

Reviewer Score: 6