White Snake is an adaptation of the Chinese fable Legend of the White Snake. The film follows a snake-demon named Blanca who loses her memory and goes on a quest with a snake catcher named Xuan. White Snake has its share of faults but is ultimately a good time.
During the film, we see things happen, but nothing really leaves a lasting impression. Without giving anything away, there are times when the film seems like it’s about to take a huge risk and wow the audience. More times than not though, White Snake just plays it safe and ends up failing to impress. The part of the story focusing on Blanca’s memory was intriguing but when it gets properly addressed it feels almost underwhelming. White Snake takes pieces like Blanca’s memory, her lineage and race, and Blanca and Xuan’s cultures and sets them all up to be these big things, each with varying degrees of success. While Blanca’s memory arc feels rushed and underwhelming, a decision Xuan makes halfway through the film feels stupid. What leads to the decision is meant to be dramatic and compelling, but it feels more like a catalyst undeserving of what should be an epic story. Even though there are some duds in the bunch, there are a couple of cool aspects of the film. They might be enough to snap you back in if you zone out.
One thing White Snake excels at is its action scenes. The fights and movements are very smooth and exciting. The animation is well done and, when paired with some cool set pieces, makes for a compelling scene or five. The action and animation are the most redeeming qualities of White Snake. Even if the set up for an epic scene feels ridiculous, the payoff is more than worth having to sit through it. There are also some neat visuals here and there, like the way the snakes move or even the way a boat moves across water.
While White Snake isn’t the most impressive film, it is certainly watchable. It can be enjoyed and leave you with some degree of excitement. If you try to look for a deeper meaning, I wish you the best of luck.