White Snake

The 2019 CG-animed White Snake from Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros. Animation is a visual feast that represents Chinese animation branching out more into the west. This is remarkable since China, despite its dominance in the movie industry, has struggled with its own homegrown animation market. As Hoai-Tran Bui said in her review, the newest White Snake is a jaw-dropping wuxia-fueled mythical tale borrowing from Studio Ghibli and Disney. For the Western audience, the CGI White Snake may be their most visible introduction to the Chinese tale. It is not a straightforward adaptation as it is mostly a prequel to the legend.

As one of “China’s Four Great Folktales,” the original legend spawned many texts, operas, plays, movies, and TV series. The earliest written record of the folktale was recorded in Feng Menglong’s 1624 Stories to Caution the World. The story concerns a human man, Xuan, falling in love with a woman who turns out to be a shapeshifting demonic white snake. As the original source material’s title suggested, falling for a white snake, an evil temptress, is a cautionary tale against lust, not a love story. “Do not abandon yourselves to lust!” cries the Abbott. The story ends with the monk sealing away the white snake in a pagoda and her human love interest taking up Buddhist monkhood as penance. 

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white snake review

For all the dominance that China has asserted on the movie industry in recent years, the country has not yet been able to gain a foothold in the animation market. There have been a few Hollywood productions co-financed or co-produced by Chinese studios, but no original films from China have yet to make a mark on outside of the country’s borders. And considering China’s rich cultural history and mythology — which has frequently been cribbed by Western animators — it seems like a long time coming.

White Snake, the second feature film from Beijing-based CG animation studio Light Chaser Animation, bears all of this baggage on its back and delivers a breathlessly imaginative and visually stunning animated film that is easily one of the most beautiful animated films this year. But for all its visual splendor, the story itself feels like an afterthought, too heavily inspired by the Disney films that it emulates.

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white snake clip

Animation is one of those visual mediums that can still make us believe in magic. Which is why Light Chaser Animation, one of China’s biggest animation studios, is going as fantastical as possible with its upcoming film White Snake. The first Chinese animated movie from indie animation distributor GKIDs, White Snake tells the story of demon snakes, tragic romances, and…underwater magic shops? It all makes sense in the exclusive White Snake clip /Film is debuting, below.

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white snake trailer

Chinese animated movies haven’t yet made a big mark on the U.S. market, but that could soon change with White Snake. The new animated feature from GKIDS, the animation distributor behind hits like Your NameWhite Snake adapts an ancient Chinese folk tale and turns it into an epic love story of mythic proportions. Watch the White Snake trailer below.

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White Snake attack

The White Snake legend is one of the Four Great Chinese Folk Tales, shape-shifting into abundant texts, operas, movies, and television across China ever since it was published during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644). While the tale is not eminent in Western pop culture, the 2019 computer-generated film White Snake may introduce the tale to Western eyes in its own style. Not that the fourth feature of the Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation Studio, teaming up with Warner Bros, adapts the tale itself; instead, it tells an imagined prequel with standalone qualities. Read More »

white snake us release

GKIDS has been fast establishing itself as one of the premiere movie distributors for high-quality animated films. And with China beginning to dip its toes into the animated movie market, it was only a matter of time before the two would meet.

GKIDS, which has distributed for U.S. release award-winning fare like The Breadwinner and the works of Studio Ghibli, has picked up its very first Chinese animated film, White Snakea sumptuous fantasy epic loosely based on the ancient Chinese folk tale of the same name. Following the film’s smash success at the Chinese box office this year, GKIDS has set the White Snake US release date for this fall.

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