REVIEW: ‘Green Snake’ is a Unique But Overstuffed Adventure

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Green Snake Review

Green Snake is a CGI adventure donghua(Chinese animation) on Netflix. During a confrontation with the monk Fahai, Xaiobai is trapped under the Leifang Pagoda and Xiaoqing is sent to the mysterious city of Shura. The city’s inhabitants are all those who are too obsessed with something to properly reincarnate into their next life. Now, Xiaoqing must find a way to escape from Shura and rescue Xaiobai.

The first thing to be aware of when jumping into Green Snake is that it is a sequel to an earlier film titled White Snake, which is not currently available on Netflix. From the movie’s opening, which directly throws the viewer into the pitched confrontation described above, the film expects anyone watching to be familiar with the characters already. This leaves the audience playing catch up, although no specific events or moments from the previous film are brought up or referenced during this entry.

After the opening clash between Fahai and our protagonists, the film spends the rest of its slightly over two-hour runtime following Xiaoqing through her many trials and tribulations to escape the city of Shura. The sequence of events that make up Xiaoqing’s journey is entertaining and eye-catching, while also largely hollow. Little time is spent letting the viewer understand the various characters or motivations as the story plunges from one crisis to the next. The handful of moments where the characters are allowed to breathe long enough for the film to explore the motivations and emotions are delivered well but lack enough punch to allow the biggest moments of the story to land with the impact they are meant to.

Despite the rapid-fire nature of Green Snake‘s moments, the unique nature of the setting and ever-changing situations are captivating enough to draw the viewer along. As long as you can accept whatever is going on at any given moment at face value, the many escapes, battles, and perils that exist within Shura can provide plenty of entertainment.

The only other comment I have to make about this film’s story is how indecisive its theme is. As you follow Xiaoqing’s journey, it feels like Green Snake is trying to make a statement about concepts like obsession, trust, and letting go. But if that is the case, it fails to ever truly commit to a conclusion on many of these topics.

The visual design in Green Snake delivers its mystical setting and characters wonderfully. With a wide variety of monsters, demons, and spirits inhabiting the city, the film does a great job of delivering its cast with a variety of unique looks. The action is also delivered with a beautiful sense of style. The combat is snappy and crisp, and the film’s final confrontation takes place in a unique living painting style that takes the breath away.

A final important note for many is that Green Snake features the option of an English dub. If you have been held back from checking out some of Netflix’s other Chinese offerings due to the lack of this feature, you don’t need to worry about that here.

When all is said and done, Green Snake provides a fantastical adventure full of entertaining visuals and excitement. Even if the characters are never given the time they need to fully develop, there is still plenty to get attached to in this unique journey.

Green Snake is streaming now on Netflix.


Green Snake
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7.5/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Green Snake provides a fantastical adventure full of entertaining visuals and excitement. Even if the characters are never given the time they need to fully develop, there is still plenty to get attached to in this unique journey.