The Sorcerer and the White Snake
With the influx of 3D films in the West , you new it wouldn't be long before films from the East followed. Here Ching Siu-Tung who's famous for the Chinese Ghost Story series returns here doing what he does best (dealing with Demons and Monsters) ,but this time he has entered the 3D wagon . Now of course for this review I have only viewed the 2D DVD version ,but I can see how it would work in 3D .
The film follows the exploits of a Herbal Doctor named Xu Xian ,one day while picking herbs he falls into a lake and basically starts drowning ,he is saved by a young girl who then seems to vanish in the water ,his friends who drag him from the lake think he has had a delusion and laughs about his persistence with this mysterious girl .
Now the girl ,who happens to be a demon named Susu and the White Snake ends up having a obsession with Xu.. Susu wants to know how it will be to have a lasting relationship with a Human.
After some time Xu is in the local town ,where he tends to people and their illnesses . Susu and her sister Qingqing ( The Green Snake) are in town and Susu persuades Qingqing to get her Xu, by coaxing him to her whereabouts.
This of course does not work and she ends up basically using her demonic powers to bring him to Susu. Meanwhile also in town are Abbot Fahai ( Jet Li) and his disciple Neng Ren (Wen Zhang) ,they are on the lookout for demons and ghosts.
The Abbots main itinerary is to Defeat the Vampire Demon who has been reeking havoc on the locals turning them into vampires and plaguing the towns folk who gradually fall ill with little to no hope of recovery.
Back to Xu and Qingqing who has delivered Xu to Susu, at first Xu has no recollection of her and only knows he owes his life and heart to the girl that saved his life. It's only when Susu kisses him that he realizes she is the one he longs for.
It's not long before they arrange to get married and live together, meeting her parents is a palaver when Susu has to get fellow demons to transform and pose as her parents whilst creating a illusion of a grand house ..
After a quick wedding ,the couple settle down , But the Vampire Demon is still reeking havoc on the community ,as people fall ill and many die ,Doctor Xu is struggling to find a antidote to the problem, Now Susu being of the Demonic realm knows the only cure is the essence found in all demons to counter act the plaque. Whilst helping her husband Xu she incorporates the essence found within herself. This instantly aids in the recovery of the plagued, But Whilst visiting the town Abbot Fahai realizes the inclusion of demon essence in the medicine ,this puts him on the path of seeking out Xu's wife who he had mentioned that his wife had helped him with the medicine.
When Fahai and Susu meet they embark on a battle ,but at the last moment Fahai declines to exorcise her due to her helping with the recovery of the townsfolk . But warns that next time they meet he will not hold back in his duty ,and that she should leave the doctor as she is cheating him.
Now as in all good Ching Siu- Tung films there are many twists and turns in the story that I won't get into as to not spoil the film.
But in effect The Sorcerer and the White Snake is a love story of unconditional love ,it's just a shame the poor old doc does not realize his wife is a 2000 year old Snake Demon.
Now I am going to approach this one from a pro's and con's angle ,so here goes.
Pro's : Right from the outset the film is a dream to look at ,even though a lot of CGI and special effects used they are done to quite a high degree and the integration of switching from CGI to actual live footage is done on the most part very well.
The varied characters in the film are well thought out and many bring a smile to your face. Jet Li's character is just right for him as he portrays the Righteous Monk Fahai. His cool collected manner and straight laced way of playing the role makes the film funny in places.
Eva Huang is wonderful as the White Snake / Susu and is mesmerizing to watch ,Raymond Lam is good as the Doctor and Charlene Choi is as cute as ever as the sister of Susu, Qing qing.
With many varied battles which sees Jet Li in battle mode are colourful to watch ,even though his role plays more like the Taoist Priest played by Lam Ching Ying in so many films (not so much actual fighting ,but form based movements) of the 80's.
Cons: Some of the CGI scenes look under developed at the beginning, looking like it's been added over actual live action and not blending as well as in the later sections of the film (thus could be because the film is made for 3D viewing )
so yes it' becomes apparent that to view the film in all it's glory you need to see it in 3D on the big screen.
A large proportion of the film is devoted to the Love part of the story and though it's important to get character development ,the film did not have a overly long run time.
Jet Li's action though quite frequent looked like he had a rest from filming hard core fights like in other films ( I actually thought ,wow it looked like Jet had a easy time doing this one) ,How wrong could I be ? Well quite a lot apparently , it is said that Jet Li was exhausted during filming ,as each day saw him filming fights with one monster or another.
I have always said that form based movements done properly are exhaustive to do and I guess if Jet was just performing these to be later be placed next to a CGI then I can understand his tiredness.
The chances of seeing this in the West ( at least in the UK) in 3D on the big screen I think is remote and a DVD 3D version to is also less likely then thought.
So it's a shame that many of the films audience will not see the film as intended! In 3D.
Overall I enjoyed the film ,it was a light heart fantasy adventure with lots of bright visuals and a soundtrack that stayed with me.
Just a shame I could not view in 3D.
Score out of Ten = A respectable 7
Review Date : January 2012
Jet Li as Fahai the Monk (Above & Below)
White Snake ( Eva Huang) & Green Snake (Charlene Choi) (above)
Raymond Lam as Xu Xian (above)
Green Snake and Neng Ren (above)
White Snake and Xu Xian (above)
Neng Ren faces the Vampire Demons and Fahai comes to the rescue (above & below)
What Big Ears you Have!
OK! Why am i stuck to this Wall ?
Fahai battles the White Snake (above and Below)
|Directed by||Ching Siu-tung|
|Produced by||Chui Po Chu |
|Screenplay by||Charcoal Tan |
Tsang Kan Cheung
Szeto Cheuk Hon
|Starring||Jet Li |
|Music by||Mark Lui|
|Editing by||Lam On Yee|
|Distributed by||Distribution Workshop|
|Release date(s)||3 September 2011 (Venice Film Festival) |
29 September 2011 (Hong Kong)
|Country||Hong Kong |