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Is Bright Worth Your Time?

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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.

It also impairs itself by trying too hard to be too many other films. I can see pieces of The Fifth Element, Training Day, Lord of the Rings, District 9, Colors, and Alien Nation all jumbled into this movie and it gets a little messy.

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??

Bright
Action, Crime, Fantasy
December 2017
Director: David Ayer
Netflix, Clubhouse Pictures
IMDB

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Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger

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Refreshing, young, bold, new, and different seems to be the formula Marvel is hashing out with its new TV series Cloak & Dagger. Last year Marvel branded its first series on Hulu with The Runaways, which for the most part was positively reviewed by critics. It was one of my sleeper hit shows of 2017. Marvel knows it’s basically unstoppable when it comes to super heroes on the big screen, but the comic book giant hasn’t quite found commercial success on the small one. One can argue Agents of Shield was a commercial hit when it debuted but it fizzled after a couple of seasons. Since then Marvel has been trying to somehow string along any familiarity they can attach from their popular Avengers characters onto smaller lesser known characters, like Agent Carter from Captain America. Super hero fatigue is a term tossed around a lot lately, due in no small measure to the constant barrage of Marvel and DC movies. Marvel is wise to tell smaller stories involving characters we know little about in the hopes of avoiding that fatigue and staying relevant after ten years of creating a cinematic universe. 

Marvel is now partnering with Freeform to release its latest teen hero series. We can’t quite delve into a Marvel TV series without going back to its comic book origins. Tyrone Johnson, also known as Cloak, first appeared in the 1982 Spectacular Spider-Man #64 issue. Tyrone, raised in South Boston, came from a humbling background. One day he and his friend Billy witnessed a robbery at their local grocery store and ultimately the shooting death of the store clerk. When the thieves fled so did Billy because he knew the officers would quickly accused Tyrone and himself of the crime. Tyrone stayed back trying his best to explain the situation to the officers but unfortunately his stuttering made it difficult for the officers to understand him. One of the officers shot and killed Billy, and Tyrone fled the scene fearing for his life, and he ultimately ended up in NYC. Struggling to get by he decided he was going to rob a rich girl named Tandy Bowen that he noticed when he arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Only someone else beat him to it. Tyrone, overcome with guilt, stops the would-be robber, returns Tandy’s purse, and the two become instant friends.

Tandy, being a teen runaway just like Tyrone, needed immediate shelter, and she accepted an offer from some strangers to stay at a nearby shelter. Tyrone went along to keep her safe, but they were soon delivered to a criminal chemist named Simon Marshall. Marshall was experimenting on synthetic heroin and testing it on runaway teens with tragic results. Tyrone and Tandy attempt an escape when Tyrone suddenly is engulfed with an immersive powerful darkness he could not control… until he was near Tandy.

Tandy herself also seemed to change when close to Tyrone – glowing bright and with light daggers appearing on her hands. They knew they were destined to be powerful together as one, and the two began to call themselves Cloak & Dagger. Suffice it to say they easily defeat their captors and escape. From the looks of the trailers Marvel released since announcing the show, it seems the series will closely tie in that origin story.

The show is set to take place in New Orleans, which makes a lot of sense since the city is well known for its legendary street magicians, and historic stories about ghosts and witches. Pair that with the abandoned classic Victorian houses scattered throughout the city and you can already start imagining the tone.

Aubrey Joseph plays the role of Cloak (aka Tyrone Johnson) and Olivia Holt plays his counterpart Tandy Bowen, otherwise known as Dagger. Not too much can be taken from the few trailers that are out, but it does seem to show the pair getting into character rather quickly after discovering their conjoined powers. It’s likely that the better part of the series will be about confronting the chemist and/or company that cursed them with these powers. The show also hints at several theories based on Cloak & Dagger’s comic book stories about one of them dying in order for the other to live, as it suggest the two of them can’t survive together at the same time for very long.

I’m personally excited for this show because it gives us something we haven’t seen before, like Marvel’s last TV series The Runaways. This is also good for audiences who may already be fatigued from the normal rouges gallery of super heroes they are constantly bombarded with on the big screen. Marvel maybe the only studio today that can materialize a superhero blockbuster in an instant, but it doesn’t mean they have to. Creating smaller intriguing characters may in fact help build the Marvel brand more so than the next Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I look forward to seeing what they dust off from the comic book shelves and onto the small screen.

Look for Cloak & Dagger to premiere the first two episodes June 7th on Freeform.

 

Freelance writer of all things tech, pop culture, movies, tv, and gaming. Learning and reading helps me stay on top of the fast and evolving world we call home. Always looking to expand my horizons in tackling new subjects that are seldom discussed in current media but also making my articles relatable to the masses.

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