Parents' Guide to

White Snake

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Chinese folklore-based adventure is dark, violent, sensual.

Movie NR 2019 99 minutes
White Snake Poster Image

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A complicated storyline; dark, violent action sequences; and swoon-worthy romance make this Chinese film a better pick for more mature audiences than most animated movies. Although the story of White Snake is based on an ancient Chinese legend, it's not likely that Western moviegoers will be well-versed enough in it to understand that this movie is more of a prequel to the fable than an adaptation of it. Some of the names and characters are the same, but without much context, unfamiliar viewers may be left wondering about several backstories. The animators do a fabulous job with the dazzling snake demon animation and action sequences, but the humans and backgrounds are slightly less impressive. It's also distracting that, once again, animated female characters (in particular) are sexualized.

Despite all of the many battle and fight scenes, White Snake works best as a romance, using recognizable themes such as a fish out of water, star-crossed lovers, and an amnesiac hoping to retrieve memories. There's plenty of chemistry between Xuan and Blanca, if not a lot of funny banter. Thankfully Dudou (who's revealed to have the ability to speak) provides much-needed comic relief to the rather serious proceedings. Several villains emerge, but the Big Bad is the Dark General (James Sie) and his henchman, Little General (Vincent Rodriguez III). White Snake should appeal to animation lovers, especially families with middle schoolers and older, who will appreciate the film's maturity.

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