• <tt id="epkw0"></tt>

    <rt id="epkw0"><nav id="epkw0"></nav></rt>
      <rt id="epkw0"><optgroup id="epkw0"></optgroup></rt>
    1. <rp id="epkw0"></rp>
      ×

      BiFan Film Review: ‘White Snake’

      The famous Chinese folktale gets an origins story in this colorful animation aimed at grown-ups

      Director:
      Amp Wong, Zhao Ji
      With:
      Voice Cast: Zhang Zhe, Yang Tianxiang, Zhang He

      1 hour 39 minutes

      The fourth feature by China’s Light Chaser Animation Studios — and its first co-production with Warner Bros. — is a lively prequel to the Chinese legend that’s inspired countless screen adaptations since the silent era. Though not as technically polished as world’s best animations and lacking a memorable villain, this tale of a snake demon girl who falls for a kindhearted human is packed with exciting adventure. After grossing an impressive $67 million in China earlier this year, “Snake” will require careful marketing in foreign territories where animation is almost exclusively associated with family entertainment; containing some mildly risqué visuals and light sexual references, the film is not suitable for all ages. Specialty distributor Gkids has acquired North American rights, with release details yet to be announced.

      One of the Four Great Chinese Folk Tales, “Legend of the White Snake” originated as a cautionary horror yarn. During its centuries-long life in print, theater, opera and on screens, it has evolved into a story of forbidden love threatened by both earthly and otherworldly forces. Rather than rolling out familiar events once again, this entry establishes a “White Snake” cinematic universe with an origins story set 500 years before the oft-told tale commences.

      Known as Bai Suzhen in the folktale and identified in English subtitles as Blanca (voiced by Zhang Zhe), the titular character is a demon that can assume human form but cannot achieve her cherished goal of immortality. The answer lies in long-ago events that Blanca cannot recall. After being given a magical jade hairpin by her green snake sister, Verta (Tang Xiaoxi, voicing the original character of Xiaoqing), Blanca is suddenly transported back to Tang Dynasty times.

      Combining 3D CGI work with splashes of the unique ink painting style that distinguished Chinese animation in the 1950s and ‘60s, “White Snake” doesn’t contain the same detailed facial expressions and flowing body movement of top-tier productions. But as Blanca’s journey gets under way, the film proves to be right up there with the best when it comes to background design.

      Blanca’s first stop is a village nestled between magnificent stone pillars rising hundreds of yards into the sky. The staggeringly beautiful location is home to Sean (Yang Tianxiang, as the Xi Xian character), a handsome hunter with a funny talking dog named Doudou (Zhang He). Along with the rest of the downtrodden villagers, Sean is forced to catch snakes for Dark General (Zhang Yaohan) and sidekick Little General (Zhang Boheng). These wicked military men, who believe vipers hold the key to supreme power, make splashy entrances but don’t contribute much thereafter.

      Gorgeously detailed landscapes abound as Sean and Doudou accompany Blanca on a quest to discover her identity and realize her destiny. Characters they meet along the way include Fox Spirit (Zheng Xiaopu and Zhang Lei), a mischievous, scantily clad creature with a fox face on one side and a vampy, flapper girl-like visage on the other. Elsewhere there’s Snake Master (Liu Wei), a fearsome female snake demon leader who sends Blanca to assassinate Dark General.

      First-time feature writer Da Mao and debuting feature co-directors Zhao Ji and Amp Wong strike a pleasing balance between thunderous action scenes and appealing romance. As Blanca gradually discovers her true demon identity, Sean takes the sweet and very radical step — in regards to Chinese folklore tradition — of wanting to become a demon so their seemingly impossible love might prosper. In one tender moment, the couple are clearly seen to be on the cusp of making love.

      A few story details relating to reincarnation, transformation and human-demon relationships are bound to be a little confusing for some audiences unfamiliar with Chinese mythology. But universal themes of love and self-discovery are strong, and sure to carry most viewers happily through a tale that’s well served by Guo Haowei’s rousing score and lovely tunes including “Why Ask,” which is sung by Sean to Blanca as they travel down an extraordinarily beautiful river.

      BiFan Film Review: ‘White Snake’

      Reviewed at BiFan Film Festival (Family Zone), June 30, 2019. (Also in Fantasia, Annecy Animation Festival — competing.) Original title: “Baishe: yuanqi”

      Production: (Animated — China-U.S.) A Gkids (in U.S.) Joy Pictures (in China) release of a Light Chaser Animation Studios, Warner Bros. production. (International sales: All Rights Entertainment, Hong Kong.) Producers: Gary Wang, Jillian Zhou. Executive producers: Zhou Yu, Yuan Ye. Co-producers: Jin Zhang, Peter Zheng, Xu Tian Fu, Leo Li, Rachel Liu, Di Cui, Theo Yang. Co–executive producer: Penny Jian

      Crew: Directors: Amp Wong, Zhao Ji. Screenplay: Da Mao. Animation supervisor (color, widescreen): Leo Xi. Camera: (Color). Editor: Zhu Keer. Music: Guo Haowei.

      With: Voice Cast: Zhang Zhe, Yang Tianxiang, Zhang He, Tang Xiaoxi, Zhang Yaohan, Zheng Xiaopu, Zhang Boheng, Zhang Lei, Liu Wei (Mandarin dialogue)

      Music By: Guo Haowei

      More Film

      • Steven Yeun

        Steven Yeun to Star in and Produce Immigrant Drama for A24

        Steven Yeun will executive produce and star in the immigrant drama “Minari” for A24 with shooting starting next week. The Korean native, whose family moved to Michigan when he was five, will star as a Korean father who uproots his family to move to an Arkansas farm in the 1980s. Isaac Chung is directing from [...]

      • Lion King trailer

        'The Lion King' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

        Critics have been less than welcoming to the return of “The Lion King” 25 years after the original’s release. As of writing, the film holds a rotten score of 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, far below the 93% of the original. Common complaints are the photorealism of the Jon Favreau’s “live-action” adaptation: Where critics adored the [...]

      • Yoji Yamada-directed film is to open

        'Welcome Back, Tora-San' Set as Tokyo Film Festival Opener

        “Welcome Back, Tora-san,” by veteran director Yoji Yamada, has been set as the opening title of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The title is a 50th anniversary instalment in the long-running “It’s Tough Being a Man” film franchise. The “It’s Tough Being a Man” (aka “Otoko wa Tsurai yo”) films follow the travels of [...]

      • HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 10: (L

        Leonardo DiCaprio-Produced Doc 'Sea of Shadows' Takes on Mexican Cartels

        Leonardo DiCaprio‘s latest eco-documentary “Sea of Shadows” doesn’t shy away from taking on Mexican cartels. “For some of the guys there, he is state enemy number one at the moment,” said producer Wolfgang Knöpfler at the documentary’s premiere on Wednesday night at Neuehouse in Los Angeles. “The cartels don’t like him.” More Reviews Concert Review: [...]

      • Woody Harrelson Joins Mary Elizabeth Winstead

        Woody Harrelson Joins Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Netflix Thriller 'Kate'

        Woody Harrelson is joining Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the Netflix assassin thriller “Kate,” directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (“The Huntsman: Winter’s War”). The story revolves around a female assassin, who, after being poisoned and given less than 24 hours to live, must go on a manhunt through the streets of Tokyo to take vengeance on her [...]

      • HBO’s ‘Avenue 5’ Set Damaged in

        Set Used for HBO’s ‘Avenue 5’ Damaged in Warner Bros. U.K. Studio Fire

        The huge blaze that British firefighters extinguished after 15 hours was on a set being used for HBO’s space comedy “Avenue 5.” HBO said production continues, but the team behind the show are left figuring out how to finish shooting the final two installments of the comedy. “The fire at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden has [...]

      More From Our Brands

      Access exclusive content

      东方伊甸园