“Set in a world where mystical creatures live side by side with humans, a human cop is forced to work with an Orc to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for.”
Once or twice a year Netflix has been financing some big budget, ambitious movie projects that have been making or breaking its reputation as a legitimate movie studio. Earlier this year they invested a lot into reprising Death Note which turned out being a huge disaster. Specifically because it diverted from its source material in many ways. For the holiday season they made a big push on this film (Bright) which borrows from many other movies, but attempts to drive its own story line.
Lets start with the good. The cinematography is really stunning and has some beautiful shots of Los Angeles. The look and feel is appropriately gritty, realistically incorporating these other-worldly characters into their human environment.
The makeup and special effects were also great and didn’t lack in detail. The Orc mask could’ve been a simple prosthetic, but subtle movements of the ears and flaring nostrils added credibility and shows how seriously they took the look of this film.
The tone is really dark. This is definitely not a kid-friendly movie. People could get fooled by the Elves, Orcs, and fairies, but Bright is dedicated more to crooked cops, Mexican gang-bangers and a biased society. This is where the bad comes in.
Bright doesn’t know what it wants to be. It contains way too many elements and can’t commit to any of it. Is it focusing on the relationship of the cops, the Elf that came into their lives, the Elvish lore, corruption, racism, the ownership of the wand? What! It ends up suffering from A.D.D. as it jumps from social commentary to mystical adventure.
Bright doesn’t know what it wants to be.
I also feel Will Smith wasn’t suited for the character he played. I’m pretty sure they gave him the role for his cinematic draw, but I think a more dramatic actor would’ve given Daryl Ward more realism. He wasn’t terrible and actually added good dialogue, but he doesn’t sell racist (or species-ist?)/angry cop very well.
Overall Grade: B-
I think the movie suffers from element fatigue. It has too many things it’s trying to tackle in a short amount of time, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at. Also, the Mexican gang leader in the wheelchair. How the hell does he get around so fast??
Action, Crime, Fantasy
Director: David Ayer
Netflix, Clubhouse Pictures