Legend of the White Snake

Screenie from The Sorcerer and the White Snake (2011)

When it comes to Chinese legends and fairytales, Legend of the White Snake is one of those greats that have been recreated time and time again in operas, films and television series, though not to the extent of Journey to the West.

While Journey to the West films have been abundant lately, I’ve only recently seen some of the latest adaptation of Legend of the White Snake, titled The Sorcerer and the White Snake, released in 2011 and featuring Jet Li.

Interestingly, it is truer to the original story, which is regarded as a ‘tale of horror’, as the unfortunate Xu Xian is married to an evil demon, and the Buddhist monk Fahai is there to save him. Yet in this version, the film still retains the fictionalised story’s romantic qualities as Xu Xian still loves Bai Suzhen, the white snake, even though she is a demon.

Some of the animated effects are a bit far-fetched and make it difficult to suspend your disbelief, but it is still a nicely filmed movie cinematically, with beautiful colours and sweeping scenes of the countryside. Although the movie is understandably in Mandarin, as it features Jet Li, despite usually going for Cantonese dubs I would be most tempted to watch this movie in Mandarin with the help of some English subtitles, as I quite like what the actors have accomplished here.

Of course, you wouldn’t have realised that some of the actors in this are from Hong Kong if you didn’t know them already! I really need to learn more Mandarin. Definitely intrigued to watch this movie properly for real.