On December 22, Netflix premiered its original movie Bright starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton and directed by David Ayer. Bright is about two cops who must learn to work together in order to save humanity and that’s the simple explanation but it is much more convoluted to the movie’s detriment.
In the magical world of Bright there exists orcs, elfs, fairies, dragons and all sorts of mystical creatures along with the humans. The orcs are despised by mostly everyone else and are seemingly constant victims of police brutality. The elfs are the rich, one percent who have their own upscale side of the city where they live lavishly. Fairies are like mosquitoes and treated as more of a nuisance than anything else. Humanity lives alongside these beings in this modern day Los Angeles that comes off as a fantastical version of Training Day, another Ayer directed film.
Will Smith is a tired veteran cop who is partnered up with the only orc(Joel Edgerton) on a police force that doesn’t want him there. Smith’s character can’t trust his partner because of a prior incident that got him shot at close range by another orc robbing a store. While responding to a call they discover an elf with a magic wand and now the police, gangs, and a group of evil elfs are after them to get the wand.
This movie had a lot of potential but gets caught up in its heavy handed social statements that are completely unnecessary and bad chemistry between the two leading actors. On top of that, Edgerton’s orc character could be relatable and in some scenes you actually feel the emotional turmoil he’s dealing with but too many times he comes off like a doofus. I don’t blame Edgerton for that, I blame the writing of his character who is poorly under-developed. Will Smith is being Will Smith as usual and I wish this wasn’t the case because his character is a serious person but he tends to make jokes when he should be playing the straight man; again I blame the script.
As far as the action goes it is entertaining and enjoyable mostly but I do have an issue with the parkour elfs in the gas station scene. Why?……just, why? Besides the fact they could have easily killed the protagonists seeing how easy they killed off anyone else who stood in their way, why do they need to flip all over the place? What is that supposed to be definitive of, their magical gymnastic abilities? because hardcore parkour right? There was also a zoom out scene where a dragon can be seen on the right hand side of the screen, flying off in the distance. Now, I’m no aviation expert but I would imagine airplane travel being difficult with dragons flying around. Now I care more about knowing the logistics of how that works in this world than I do about the main characters. Also, there is a scene with orc Jesus that I don’t want to spoil or even get into right now; just know that the scene is there.
Don’t get me wrong, Bright is not a terrible movie by any means but the movie fails to deliver consistantly with its characters, plot, and world building. David Ayer is moving dangerously close to becoming a one trick pony. This movie, like Suicide Squad, felt like Training Day; they look so similar that all three could be in the same world. I commend him for taking on a story this bold and attempting something that hasn’t been tried since 1988’s Alien Nation but where that movie somewhat succeeded in the buddy-cop aspect this movie fails. Bright is worth a view just to see something different but it’s not that good of a movie, I suggest watching it on a bored day at home.
I give Bright a 5 out of 10