DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

The Sorcerer and the White Snake, Blu-ray (2011/2013)

An amazing Chinese martial arts/special effects epic!

Published on May 20, 2013

The Sorcerer and the White Snake, Blu-ray (2011/2013)

Cast: Jet Li, Eva Huag, Raymond Lam
Studio: Magnet/Magnolia 10542 [4/9/13]
Video: 2.35:1 1080p HD color
Audio: Cantonese or English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Extras: Behind the Scenes with Jet Li, Behind the Scenes visual effects and production design, Behind the Scenes of the Beauties and the Beasts, “A Look at The Sorcerer and the White Snake,” Theatrical trailer, BD Live
Length: 93 minutes
Rating: ****

Wow. I saw the rousing preview for this Chinese martial arts epic and just had to request it for review. Rabid Kung-fu and martial arts fans may be disappointed, but I thought this movie had the most mind-blowing special effects of any such Chinese film I’ve ever seen. It makes Crouching Tiger look like a beginner’s movie.  Not only are the various protagonists flying thru the air with the greatest of ease and often breaking apart into thousands of pieces that fly all over with appropriate surround sounds, but there are various wonderful flying and slithering demons all over the place, plus gigantic floods of water, firestorms and earthquakes. They must have had an awful lot of wires to erase in post-production.

Jet Li plays a sorcerer sort of Buddhist monk in the story which is based on an old Chinese legend. A lowly picker of healthful herbs in the mountains falls in love with a 1000-year-old demon who is sometimes a big white serpent yet at other times a beautiful woman. She decides to save the life of the herb-picker who is drowning at the whim of her demon sister by giving him breath underwater. They end up marrying, but all is not well in the battle between humans and the supernatural, or between good and evil. The sorcerer monk figures out the true identify of the woman and they have some epic mid-air battles. There’s also a public threat of people getting vampire-type bites from demons that are loosed. There is a cute talking rat and the herb-picker has some Jackie Chan-type situations that are fun. The monk who gets turned into a flying demon yett with good intentions is also interesting.

The cinematography, aside from the many special effects, is most beautiful and breathtaking. Don’t know who would want the English-dubbed soundtrack; the Chinese with the English subtitles is fine.  Get your Chinese food to go and have a great evening with this airborne blockbuster on your big screen!

—John Sunier




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