Snakes and special effects abound as human and mythical worlds collide in this lavish variation of an old Chinese fable about a learned man who falls under the spell of two snake women. After 1,000 years of practice, White Snake is finally able to take on a completely human form. Hsu Hsien, the scholar, falls in love with the lovely White Snake. Her sister, Green Snake, is not as adept at shape-shifting as she has only practiced for 500 years. She is human above the waist only. The serpentine sisters are hunted by a Buddhist monk who is almost to nirvana, and a Taoist monk determined to rid the area of all snakes. When the two forces finally meet, Hsu stands by as a secular witness.