If you like animation, don’t miss this diptych from China.
KMBO released this Wednesday White Snakean animated adaptation of a Chinese legend that caused a stir when it was presented at the Annecy Animation Festival in 2019. Directed by Ji Zhao (in collaboration with Amp Wong) from a script by Damao, which have since signed the delusional New Gods: Nezha Reborn, this touching story of two sisters victims of a curse, Bianca and Verta, who are able to transform themselves into demon-snakes but who struggle to integrate into the world of men, is full of inventiveness, drawing on the most great classics of Chinese cinema to tell a beautiful story about courage and transmission. The film was also a hit in its home country, earning $65 million there, so a sequel was immediately ordered. green snakewhich now follows the heroine’s sister, did even better, pocketing 90 million greenbacks when it was released in the summer of 2021. It has already been available on Netflix since the end of November, but beware: better to have seen White Snake before rubbing shoulders with this green snake, which plunges into the heart of the action by addressing an audience already won over by the first film! The better to lose him and then surprise him, by multiplying the twists and changes of scenery and characters at breakneck speed.
The output of White Snake in France is certainly late, but it is welcome, as this type of production deserves to be seen on the big screen. here is our review :
In mythical medieval China, a peasant takes in an amnesiac snake-woman and finds himself plunged into an immemorial conflict between demons of all persuasions. Released in China in January 2019, White Snake is a new adaptation of a legend already adapted many times on Asian screens: very big names like Kenji Mizoguchi (in a segment of Tales of the Wave Moon after the Rain), Tsui Hark (green snake in 1993 with Maggie Cheung) or Ching Siu-tung (The Sorcerer and the White Serpent, with Jet Li in 3D, all in 2011), without forgetting the famous white snake Japanese anime from 1958… the subject of the legend of the white snake (star-crossed lovers against a backdrop of mythology) attracted immense artists, and this time the White Snake of 2019 is co-directed by Ji Zhao, formerly an editor on The Grandmaster by Wong Kar-wai, and who has since signed the delirious Nezha Rebornreleased in 2021 on Netflix.
Back on topic: this new animated version is causing fabulous excitement because not only is it visually stunning, but also narratively. The pace of the film is epic to die for, chaining fights in the form of pieces of bravery, each seeming to want to bury the previous one in terms of magnitude. All the while bringing to life often incredible characters and settings, taking advantage of the endless resources of animation – for example this two-faced artisan demon-fox, living in a parallel world stuffed with fabulous visual finds. Following White Snake, green snakeis also available on Netflix – but, be warned, it’s still much better on the big screen.
green snake is it up to its elder? You will have understood it, within the drafting of First, we have a preference for the first, much more affordable and poetic than this suite. However, it does not lack qualities, but goes too far in all directions to be completely convincing. By wanting to expand its universe and its bestiary, the film contrasts with its predecessor by shaking up a lot of elements established in White Snake : exit medieval China, most of this sequel will take place in a post-apocalyptic world! Forget the twirling scene à la Tiger et Dragon, this continuity stuffed with chases and 3D effects will remind you rather of Mad Max… Better to get used to it from the start: green snake will not be in the direct line of White Snake.
Asuraville is a modern and cursed city, which is divided into different clans (horse demons, winged demons… some specimens of which are frankly stunning, like the giant octopus or the spider-bus driver) . Verta will have to find her place there after having… lost her powers. Seeing her learn to ride a motorcycle or handle new weapons is an interesting bet, but quite confusing after having admired her so powerful in the first opus. The love story between his sister and her human companion is too quickly eclipsed (we will never know what becomes of the baby in the opening scene, for example) to focus on the two women, whose destinies are linked. Through time. A strong idea on paper which however suffers from a lack of clear explanations on the functioning of this particularly convoluted mythology.
The first part of the film connects modern action scenes and goes so fast that we lose sight of the heart of the heroine’s quest. When she finally sits down to take stock, begins to understand the importance of letting go, then tries to find a way to leave Asura, it’s the other way around: every introspection is very slow and forceful. A strange construction, which will undoubtedly lose more than one spectator along the way. Too bad, because by clinging a little, we see a great show at the end: the confrontation between the Tibetan monk and Verta transformed back into a snake is magnificent, the animation replaying in 2D the time of this unique sequence which plays with the concept of reincarnation/time loop/repetition. The vixen woman, whose wealth of the very particular universe we already suspected in the first part, gains in importance in this sequel and lets us think that she deserves to have her spin-off, both the mysteries that surround are intriguing. The emotion is even there when the masked character finally reveals himself, then supports the heroine until the end, and when the latter finally manages to put the pieces of the puzzle back together and find an ounce of hope to reconnect with his sister. We then find a certain sweetness, a serenity that sprinkled White Snake, but which was left out for most of this sequel. When the superb music of the end credits sounds, the charm has finally worked and we can’t help but wait for the next moult of the green snake and the white snake…