The Legend of White Snake is one of China’s most popular folklore. Due to its popularity, there have been various adaptions of it throughout the years. The Legend of White Snake 2019 is the most recent drama adaption that stars Ju Jing Yi and Alan Yu Meng Long. It closely follows the popular 1992 version, New Legend of White Snake.
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Why did I start watching this?
I have always liked the story of Legend of White Snake. I grew up watching the older movie adaptions with HK actress Joey Wong, Taiwanese actress Brigitte Lin, and Mainland actress Eva Huang. The story is good and I love the relationship between Bai Su Zhen and Xu Xian. And much like all of the other love stories from Chinese folktales, the relationship between the two really touches your heart, especially the ending.
Bai Su Zhen is a white snake who has cultivated for 1,000 years and can finally take on a human form. The moment she can transform into a human, she decides to devote herself to Buddhism and become an immortal. But before being able to become an immortal the Goddess Guan Yin tells her that she must stay in the Human World (HW) to gain experience because she cannot become an Immortal without enduring hardships. With her curious personality and kind heart, Bai Su Zhen stays in the HW and helps people in need, as well as learning about people and the HW.
On one of her many adventures exploring, Bai Su Zhen stumbles upon a doctor proclaiming to be Hua Tuo (a legendary doctor in Ancient China). She is curious to see who the person is as she has seen Hua Tuo before and wants to see who is impersonating him. The impostor turns out to be Xu Xian who pretends to be a legendary doctor to earn money to save a sick relative. But because Bai Su Zhen doesn’t know his true intentions, she thinks he is tricking people for money and she decides to get him to confess to his crimes. This leads to a misunderstanding between the two as when she tries to get him to admit his faults, he also thinks she is an impostor trying to frame him…
And that’s a wrap! The meeting between the two in this drama version is different from the original story. But it’s an interesting twist.
Bai Su Zhen (白素贞), Ju Jing Yi
A 1,000-year-old white snake demon who has cultivated and wants to follow the way of Buddhism. She has a kind heart and will help people who in need.
Xu Xian (许仙), Alan Yu Meng Long
A young doctor who is good-natured. He has a kind of a gentle personality and is always putting others before himself.
Xiao Qing (小青), Shane Xiao Yan
A 500-year old green snake demon. Her mother left her when she was young and she has been living by herself in the mountains. She disguises herself as a man because she wants to be strong and able to protect her loved ones. When she is saved by Bai Su Zhen, she devotes herself to protecting her and leaves the mountains to follow her.
Fa Hai (法海), Pei Zi Tian
A young monk who left his monastery with orders to capture evil demons. He firmly believes that all demons are bad and humans are good.
So far the story is okay. Not the most outstanding or best quality, but it’s fine. It’s just like any normal C-drama nowadays with the highly used CGI, pretty faces, and overused tropes.
I’m not the biggest fan of Ju Jing Yi. I don’t think she’s as talented as a lot of people think. That’s why I was a bit iffy when I saw her casted as Bai Su Zhen, who is a classic character from Chinese folklore. Any actress who portrays Bai Su Zhen has a lot to live up to. Yang Zi’s portrayal as Bai Yao Yao was quite disappointing, and I don’t think she did a good job depicting the classical character. So I was curious to see how Ju Jing Yi would do. And so far, it’s not the best. But I think she is doing a better job than Yang Zi did. First, is because the story follows the folklore, so it helps her character resemble the original Bai Su Zhen more. Second, it helps that she has the looks. Ju Jing Yi is pretty and young, so she pulls off the inexperienced and curious Bai Su Zhen look well. BUT this is also something that is a bit off because her youthful looks kind of makes her look too young to be Bai Su Zhen. When I think of Bai Su Zhen, I personally think of someone who is more mature and down to earth. And Ju Jing Yi doesn’t really pull off that look for me. BUT, needless to say, I do have to admit that Ju Jing Yi’s acting has improved. Her acting as Han Yun Xi in the Legend of Yun Xi was good, but still stiff and seemed a bit out of place at times. But in this drama, you can see that she’s improved as she feels a little bit more comfortable and natural in this role.
But while Ju Jing Yi has improved a bit in her acting, Yu Meng Long still falls short in his. He’s still pretty stiff and he needs to work on his facial expressions. He practically makes the same face in all of his scenes. Because of his good looks, he looks good as the innocent and gentle Xu Xian, but his acting is just not so good. I’m not too confident in his portrayal in the drama. BUT even so, I like Yu Meng Long so I’m going to still root for him.
I think my favorite character so far though is Xiao Qing. And this is mainly due to the actress, Xiao Yan. Xiao Qing is the younger one of the two snakes, so she is more inexperienced and immature compared to Bai Su Zhen. And so far, Xiao Yan’s portrayal is super adorable and cute. To be honest, out of the all of the main actors and actresses in this drama, she is the one who stands out the most to me. She may not have a lot of experience, but she’s a good actress. If you’ve seen her in The Legends, you’ll know what I mean because she pulled off acting as Lu Zhao Yao and Qin Zhi Yan with flying colors. And, because of this, I think Xiao Yan is perfect for portraying Xiao Qing.
Overall, the drama doesn’t really stand out to me as much. And while I think both Ju Jing Yi and Yu Meng Long are beautiful people and good to look at, their acting falls short so their portrayal as one of the classic and iconic couples in Chinese folklore is quite disappointing. So I don’t see myself avidly following this drama, but I do want to keep tabs on it because I’m interested to see how it develops and if it deviates from the original story. I’m also interested in watching Xiao Qing’s story and curious to know who her love interest is.