White Snake is a 2019 animated film directed by Amp Wong and Ji Zhao, a beautifully rendered 3D animated feature from Light Chaser Animation.
This film is loosely based on one of China’s most beloved folk tales “Legend of the White Snake” or “Madame White Snake” and narrates events that took place 1000 years before the tale.
Legend of the White Snake is very significant in Chinese lore and mythology being translated into a vast number of movies, television series, books, operas and more.
The film has an anime aesthetic, the character representation is clean and immaculate making them feel almost as if made of porcelain that dirt cannot stain, it may feel off-putting and unrealistic to some but it reminded me of delicate ink illustrations which is in a way similar to how the animation is treated, every movement is graceful, and flows like soft silk even in the most intense fighting sequences.
The film is, of course, encased in elements from Chinese mythology opening some spectacular opportunities and elements that enhance the magical feel of the quiet and happy moments as well as opportunities to choreograph more creative action sequences. The very extravagant and creative nature of Asian mythology allows for intensely epic and imaginative situations, on a grand scale. While western films are no strangers to the fantastical and imaginative, the scope in which its used in countries such as China may feel a little too absurd to the limits which very few authors, such as Terry Pratchett have been able to come on par with. This, in my opinion, is a terribly missed opportunity for western animators and filmmakers and the sooner it is corrected, the better.
The layout and backgrounds are filled with vibrant colors that are reminiscent of films such as Hero (2002) and depict some of the most magical terrain that, in truth are likely to be based on reality.
Despite being one of the largest countries in the planet and one of the leading world economies, if not the leading world economy, China still views animation as children’s entertainment and for which reason the animation industry has remained, for the most part, stagnant and relegated to children’s shows. Most animators are forced to seek higher education in colleges outside of China, primarily in western countries such as the US; Thus, heavy western influence and a need to appeal to as vast a market as possible has prompted Chinese animation companies to apply many westernized story telling elements into their animation; That being said, White Snake demonstrates the strong potential of Chinese animation filmmakers and this movie will herald the bronze age of animated filmmaking in China.