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.
But as the folktale evolved over the centuries, it transformed from a cautionary tale into one of star-crossed romance and acceptance. The general story rudiments now go like this: a shapeshifting white snake and human man, Xuan, fall for each other, but a demon-hunting monk meddles in their relationship and gives her wine to expose her true form. But Xuan accepts his love’s demonic heritage, unlike his earliest iteration. And there is a green snake, the white snake’s sidekick, often involved.
In the last few decades, many screen adaptations work with the original’s tale archetypes: the titular white snake, her human love interest, the green snake, and the monk who threatens the central star-crossed love.
Here are the noteworthy film and TV adaptations.The Legend of the White Serpent 1956
Directed by Shiro Toyoda, this Japanese take is noteworthy for being the first Toho special effects film in color. Despite the post-WWII tensions between Japan and China, Toho did this tale in collaboration with Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers production in hopes of expanding their box office across Asia.
As in the original tale, the white Shirley Yamaguchi and the green snake Kaoru Yachigusa unleash a climatic flooding spell at a temple that threatens Xuan’s life Ryo Ikebe, and it ends up killing the white snake. The green snake, often a loyal confidante and spiritual sister in older tales, ditches the white snake. To lighten things, it...
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...