'Bai She: Yuan Qi' or the English title, 'White snake', explores the conflict and divide between the human and demon race as well as the romantic unification between two individuals from these respective races: Blanca, a snake-demon and a human snake-catcher. Xuan Ah. This film is based off the Chinese fairy tale, the White Snake.
Blanca was saved by Xuan Ah after her failure to assassinate the general who was destroying her kind for the sake of immortality and both go on a journey to recover Blanca's lost memories and her identity.
I gave this Chinese film a 7 because it measures my enjoyment of the film. I was indeed entertained by it but it was just 'good'. There are flaws in this film to pick with but I'm sure anyone who enjoys a romance film will certainly like this movie despite them. Oh, by the way, expect violence and sexual parts in this film. I'm so used to these 3D films being more PG that it caught me by surprise when I saw them. But they aren't too bad. Those over the age of 13 can view it.
The story in 'White Snake' is an overarching narrative that is fast and simple to understand. The story was not the most original concept out there but I still enjoyed it either way with the great action scenes and atmosphere.
I liked the action-scenes of the movie. It can get dizzying because of the fast camera movements but otherwise, they're very exciting to watch and you won't get bored. Some characters do move weirdly but maybe it's just my perception.
It was kind of fast-paced for my taste. Some events happen very quickly but since it's action-packed, I'm sure some viewers would prefer this to a slow narrative. Moreover, I think if anyone has seen forbidden love stories before, you can probably predict what will happen in this movie. I prefer slow-burn romance but since this is a film just under 2 hours, I can forgive it.
The ending itself, from what I heard from other viewers, people really liked. It is indeed a hopeful ending, I can accept that. I got no problems with it. Maybe there was some aspects I wished the film addressed. An exemplar of this is the aftermath between demons and humans' but otherwise, the ending will be satisfying to most viewers.
Moving forward, the art in this movie is one of it's strongest features. It is a 3D film but don't expect 'frozen' animation and visual quality of the film because some may see it looks more of a mobile game trailer than a Disney film. But the movie is still is gorgeous either way.
The atmosphere and scenery was amazing. The tall blue mountains and bright cherry blossoms that exhibit the beauty of China is so memorable and such an experience. You really feel like you're within the setting through the characters. So breathtaking -- the film-makers really put effort into this.
Every character is distinct enough for viewers to identity each one easily. I liked Blanca's design, her white dress and slanted, red eye shadow eyes are just so beautiful. I think everyone's character design is good -- it matches their personality very well and their social class.
As for voices, one should note that I had watched the the film with Chinese voice-actors. I know there is an English dubbed film out now but I cringed at some of the lines said in the English trailer (probably because the dialogue in this film can be cringe) so I found the Chinese dub more bearable.
Everyone's voices suited their specific character -- no problems! Some characters do speak highly and stuff to sound evil -- I've seen this in some Chinese drama (for example, the way evil female love rivals speak -- SO COCKY) so I did cringe a bit.
I did like the music in this film. It suited the atmosphere this film tried to present in a Chinese setting. There is some singing involved with some characters. It isn't the most notable aspect but aye, good voice. It's calming.
Now the characters. I wish I could say I love them but I do have a bit of problems with them. Blanca is pretty and all but she isn't the most compelling character out there. She does have bad events happen to her so it does make the viewer feel sorry for her. All I remember is that she's nice, hesitant and I don't remember anything else. To me, she seems to be the embodiment of a perfect woman. Xuan Ah, the love interest seems like the perfect, devoted boyfriend. Throughout the film, he seemed to to do ANYTHING to help Blanca and I felt he still lacked reason to help her other than he's super nice. I wished the film focused on his interests and hobbies that alienated him from other villagers that may have contributed to the film. That happened very few times but I wished they done more. But he's just the boyfriend who will risk everything just for you.
The villain is certainly someone to be angry at because his actions in his film are really unforgivable -- killing snakes to give him immortality. But otherwise, I feel he's still kind of weak as he's that villain that's like 'Mwahaha' and so on. He didn't show up too much in the film but I think the movie done a good job on how his actions really shaken up the characters and events in the film. Otherwise, we don't know his background or anything else -- just his motivation. Other characters, I kind of found to be selfish and dumb because of their very rigid mindsets. It can get irritating but I think they were there to be disliked.
Ultimately, I did enjoy this film. If you like typical romance films, especially that of forbidden romance, you should watch this. If you're not too critical of the flaws in this film, you can really enjoy the scenery, the action and narrative of the movie.