Jungle
The Sorcerer and the White Snake

The Sorcerer And The White Snake

Movie
Director(s): 
On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Grade:
B
Running Time: 
93 minutes
Bonus Features

Behind the scenes featurette and trailer.

PLOT:
The world is infested with demons and it's the duty of Abbott Fahai (played by Jet Li) and his assistant Neng Ren (played by Wen Zhang) to defeat them before they harm anyone. While out trying to help a village that's been infected by a demon, Abbott Fahai finds that Xu Xian (played by Raymond Lam) has a cure that shouldn't exist. Xu Xian explains that his cure was made at home with the help of his wife Susu (played by Eva Huang). Going to meet Susu, Abbott Fahai learns that she White Snake, a centuries old demon that has fallen in love with Xu Xian. She tries to explain that they are in love but Abbott Fahai must perform his duty and defeat the demon. It's the toughest fight that Abbott Fahai will face and it's one that will end the love of a demon and possibly the end of the monks.

ACTING:
With this movie there is some decent acting as well as some that is, well, could use a little bit of improvement. Jet Li does gives the best performance as the demon hunting monk who gives no sympathy to any of the demons. It was not with Jet Li that I thought the acting could have been better but with the snake sisters. Though they do a decent job when they are apart from each other, it was when they are together that their relationship and chemistry didn't seem real. It was too fake and in this movie that's saying a lot. Though with this being a subtitled film, some of the acting might only seem like it's being over played where it made certain scenes seem corny. Stil, it's tough to go wrong with a movie that has Jet Li fighting demons.

ORIGINALITY:
A broad scope of this movie would show that it's not that original when it comes to the story. It's a story about a group of mystical monks that hunt down and trap the demons that pray on the villagers. Nothing new, but what is different is making the demons be half snake and half human that can also switch between full snake and full human. This is a very creative movie but it's just one that takes an already established idea of holy monks fighting demons and puts in a lot of colorful effects.

TONE:
The Sorcerer and the White Snake seems to be a mixed message movie. I thought it was first going to be about a monk that fights giant evil snakes but when I started to watch it, I began to think differently. Was it supposed to be about how love could breach such gaps to bring together a very old snake demon and a human male? It kind of seems that it's a tragedy as well because the love the two characters have for each other can't be allowed to happen. It's kind of a sad, dark, and though provoking movie that takes characters that shouldn't ever be in love with each other, having them be in love, and then having that love taken away. The characters all seem sad with their lot in life, even when they are happy, they still seem like they are sad because of what they have to do.

STORY/EDITING/FORMAT:
I would have liked some of the story to be explained more. Such as having a giant bat/man flying through the air in a very populated town/village and no one having a reaction to it. I would figure having such a creature flying around would elicit some sort of response but it doesn’t. Do the people know about the demons? I don't know, it don't seem like they do but it would be impossible for them not to see this one demon flying around. And where does Abbott Fahai get his magic? In fact where do the demons come from and why does Abbott Fahai hunt them down with such passion? Also what happened to Neng Ren after his encounter with the demon bat? His story seems to have just been forgotten or discarded because one minute he's in the movie then the next he's forgotten.

PROGRESSION/SPEED/FLOW:
One thing this movie does well is with the flow. Even at 93 minutes long the story progresses at a quick pace with something happening from the start to the end. I was never once bored with the movie nor did I check the time to see how much longer I had left. In fact it seems to have went by pretty quickly, even the more romantic scenes between Susu and Xu Xian where given just enough time to keep them from going stale.

CGI/EFFECTS/LIGHTING/COLORING:
This movie is almost all CGI, or at least it seems to be with all the flying martial arts, the magical elements, and the giant snake women. Most looks really good but there are some that is easily spotted as being a green screen with the effects put in. One such moment is with the opening scene where Abbott Fahai and Neng Ren are going after a demon in the snow where the effects try to look real but end up looking like they are just placed over the actors. The snow don't stick to or even look to touch them, there's no puffs of fog when they are breathing, and as they walk in the snow it looks more like they are just walking on something that's been place under their feet later, which it was, but it just don't look real. Though as a whole this movie is a visual movie with a lot of beautiful landscapes, fake or not, lots of vivid bright colors being used, and a lot going on in each scene. It looks like a lot of thought was put into making this movie look good visually more so than what was put into making the story solid.

BLU RAY:
So there are parts of the story that have holes in it, even some of the effects could use a little extra work, but the way this Blu Ray looks is quite another story. I couldn't spot anything wrong with the picture quality and I looked to see if I could spot any noise in it but didn't. The blacks are dark, the colors are rich and bright, and most of the effects do looks really good. The audio levels are even where I heard everything that was being said and when the louder action sequences happened the volume stayed at a steady level. And though this Blu Ray has some OK special features, like the behind the scenes of the fighting and effects, I would have liked to have seen some bloopers or deleted scenes, better yet both but neither are given.

BUY/RENT/BORROW/DON'T BOTHER:
This might be a buy for some just because of Jet Li and the visual effects being used but for it ended up being one that I would rent over buying. It's good, it looks good, but the story just wasn't enough to really make me want to buy this movie.

 

Lee Roberts
Review by Lee Roberts
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