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Two snakes reformed into two beauties. White Snake chose pedagogue Xian Xu as her husband and enjoyed human life, while Green Snake played around every day. Jealous to White Snake, Green Snake kept on flirting with Xian Xu. Xian Xu eventually found they were snakes ... After being tempted by Green Snake, monk Fahai decided to imprison the two "monsters". He kidnapped Xian Xu. A battle began ... Just then, White Snake borned her new baby. What should monk Fahai do? Adapted from an old Chinese folk story but quite different from the original. Written by
Zheng Wang <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tsui Hark's magical fantasy Green Snake is such a tour de force of stunning visuals and expertly crafted moments of cinema magic that one can easily forgive the occasional dodgy special effect or lapse in narrative cohesion.
Maggie Cheung plays the beautiful titular character, one of a pair of benign female snake demons who have mastered the ability to transform themselves into humans. Her companion, White Snake (Joey Wang), is far more experienced than Green at altering her appearance, and has also managed to acquire human emotions, falling in love with a young scholar Hsui Xien (who is quite unaware that his girl is actually a scaly serpent in disguise).
Desperate to experience the same feelings as White, but unable to control her desires, Green also attempts to seduce Hsui Xien (the lucky old so-and-so), and even tries to seduce a powerful monk, Faat Hoi, whose mission it is to trap demons; this naturally causes all kinds of problems which eventually result in Hsui Xien discovering White's secret.
For the majority of its running time, the lyrical beauty of Hark's tale is more than enough to retain one's attention; even when there isn't much happening story-wise, the film is shot with such style that it is totally captivating. For example, the scene in which Green gatecrashes a Bollywood dance routine while a rain-drenched White slithers off to spy on the scholar might not add much to the plot, but with its lush colours, amazing soundtrack, and Cheung's impossibly sexy performance, it's one of the most memorable cinematic sequences that I've seen.
Towards the end of the film, events do start to become slightly wearisome, and perhaps the film is a little too long for its own good; some viewers may find Hark's leisurely pace a little too slow, whilst others might laugh at the sometimes less-than-effective special effects (the CGI magic crane is certainly very weak). However, the film's positives far outweigh its negatives, and fans of Asian fantasy should definitely seek it out.
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