"It’s Better Not to Play with Snakes"
What You Need To Know:
WHITE SNAKE has some extremely touching moments of sacrificial love between Blanca and Xuan. However, when Xuan learns Blanca is a reincarnated snake demon, he decides to sell his soul to become a snake demon so he can be with her. Despite some great animation and lovely music, WHITE SNAKE’s story sometimes drags. WHITE SNAKE also has an abhorrent Eastern, Buddhist worldview promoting reincarnation and false enlightenment.
WHITE SNAKE, an animated folktale from China, tells the story of a white demon snake, Blanca, who reincarnates as a human and falls in love with a snake hunting human, Xuan (“Chwan”). WHITE SNAKE has some touching moments and beautiful animation, but the story sometimes drags and has a strong Eastern, Buddhist worldview that promotes reincarnation and false enlightenment without God.
WHITE SNAKE is a prequel to one of China’s Four Great Folktales, the Legend of the White Snake. Blanca is a demon snake spirit who falls in love with a human snake hunter, Xuan. She continues to live several human lives to be near her love. However, each time she enters life in a body, she can’t remember anything that happened previously.
The movie begins with Blanca discussing her existence with her sister, Verta, as they stand on the edge of “Enlightenment” in a different realm. When Blanca laments she’s in need of something to get to “Enlightenment,” Verta gives her a magical, precious jade hairpin. Now secure with the hairpin on her head, Blanca jumps back into a life on earth.
Blanca wakes up in an unknown home in Snake Hunters Village. The Snake Hunters can only survive by using snakes to pay their taxes to the General. The General needs the snakes to extract their power. This power was once only possessed by the Daoists who practiced the Dark Arts. It is unclear why Blanca is sent to this village. Blanca has no memory of anything that happened before and has no idea how to unlock the magical hairpin’s power.
In search of clues, she teams up with a skilled snake hunter named Xuan. Xuan is the first to see Blanca’s magic powers and attributes the powers to her magical precious jade hairpin. Committed to finding answers, the two set out on a journey to the workshop where the precious jade pin was made. Xuan’s funny sidekick dog, Dudou, tags along.
On the journey to the workshop, Blanca is attacked by the General’s forces. She fights back and exhibits some snake like, supernatural qualities. Blanca begins to question whether she’s a demon. Xuan tells her it doesn’t matter to him if she’s a demon.
They finally arrive at the Precious Jade Workshop in the city of Yongzhou. The weary travelers are welcomed by a creepy “dominatrix” type of master demon in charge and her ghoulish-looking subordinates. The master demon answers their questions freely and informs Blanca that she is, in fact, a snake demon who’s asked for help at the workshop in the past. She informs Blanca that the magic hairpin allows Blanca to extract all the powers from other sources. She explains that for every positive, there is a negative. Memory loss is a side effect of the magic hairpin.
Blanca and Xuan visit a Daoist “Demon Suppression Chamber.” There, Xuan professes his love for Blanca, even though she’s a demon. He promises that whatever happens he will be at her side. The two share a kiss and (off screen) intimate relations in the temple. While leaving the temple, Blanca realizes that Xuan is in harm’s way as long as he’s by her side. So, she breaks off their relationship, but Xuan promises her he will find a way to be with her and return.
Xuan returns to the dark Precious Jade Workshop and sells his “vital essence,” or soul, to become a demon so that he can be with Blanca forever. However, he finds the city of Yongzhou in a heap of ashes because Blanca absorbed all the evil power from the General’s forces and annihilated the entire human population. Now a giant cobra, Blanca is headed for the Snake Hunters Village to annihilate the General and all the Snake Hunters along with him.
WHITE SNAKE has some very touching moments in the love story between Xuan and Blanca. They have unconditional love for each other. They both sacrifice their lives to save each other. Their love is highly problematic, however. For example, Xuan gives up his soul in order to be with Blanca. It is difficult to believe that Xuan would be any good to anyone if he sells his soul. You must save yourself before you can save anyone else. In biblical terms, Jesus says in Mark 3:27, “No one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then, he can plunder the strong man’s house.” Furthermore, if you sell your soul, you will not only harm yourself but also harm the souls of those around you.
There are also some issues with the fact that Xuan doesn’t care if Blanca is a demon snake possessing Dark Magic. His apathy defies the logic of the story, because it is the Dark Magic in the story that causes the chaos and destruction in the first place. Xuan even shrugs off the fact that Blanca, as the White Snake, kills an entire city. An uncomfortable plot point, to say the least.
WHITE SNAKE has some great animation graphics, lovely music and nice character development. The audience wants Blanca and Xuan to succeed. However, the story sometimes wanders and drags. Also, the story has a very strong Eastern, Buddhist, Daoist worldview with very strong occult elements. As such, it plays out like a parable on the teachings of Eastern philosophy and religion. It also promotes the idea of reincarnation, the idea that people can send themselves into “Enlightenment” if they live enough lives.
Our Christian Bible, however, reveals that we only have one life, so we better make it count by doing the best we can at every moment. More importantly, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ paid the price for all of our shortcomings and saves us by His sacrifice and resurrection. After this one life on earth, God admits us into His eternal happiness in Heaven if we believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead.
Some Eastern philosophies presuppose that we should all try to achieve oneness, dissolution or anonymity, or disappearing into one impersonal entity or a single impersonal energy source. In contrast to this, the Bible teaches us that God loves each person individually. Therefore, God desires individual and unique salvation and happiness for every human being. It is also this unfathomable love of God that, once it’s experienced after death, a person could not possibly choose to return to another life of imperfect human love over God’s perfect love.
There are also some beautiful messages about the love of family between the sisters, Blanca and Verta. However, this idea of Romantic love is ultimately destructive. If your entire being or soul is destroyed, it would render you incapable of helping anyone.
Therefore, extreme caution is recommended for WHITE SNAKE.