Bright is a new Sci-Fi Fantasy movie on Netflix. Even though it stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton is the scene stealer with a brilliant character!
I was really looking forward to Bright being released on Netflix. Not only because I love sci-fi fantasy with all the fascinating creatures. No, it was more so because I love the fact that Netflix has embraced this genre several times already.
Especially with movies like Spectral and ARQ, which I certainly loved parts of. Though neither of them completely blew my mind. Honestly, I figured Bright would be the movie that really rocked my world. To my disappointment, it didn’t.
The one thing I really liked about Bright was Joel Edgerton portraying the orc, Nick Jacoby.
Will Smith, on the other hand, is as solid as ever in his performance but brings nothing new to the table. I mean, his character in this movie is basically the same as it was in I, Robot.
Unfortunately, his character in Bright doesn’t have nearly as much depth as the one from I, Robot. This obviously isn’t Will Smith’s fault, so I can’t blame him.
But it does mean Joel Edgerton is the one you want to watch and listen to all the time. And this is from someone who loves Will Smith and will continue to watch every movie he makes.
Perfect social commentary
Where Bright definitely excels is when it comes to social commentary. This was especially obvious during the first half hour or so. After that, it seems to be forgotten and replaced with shoot-out after shoot-out. Yawn!
Admittedly, the social commentary does come across somewhat heavy-handed at times, but I think it’s simply necessary. There should be no misunderstanding what’s actually being said.
This means it has to be very clear that the orcs are representing black people, while elves represent rich, white people. Humans are basically placeholders for the average middle-class American.
Joel Edgerton is all heart
Joel Edgerton plays the first orc to become a police officer. His character of Nick Jacoby has never wanted to be or do anything else. However, this means all other orcs see him as a traitor and the human police officers don’t really trust him.
He’s constantly tested and forced to obey orders and accept humiliation. Both of himself and other orcs. Even Daryl Ward (Will Smith) doesn’t want to be his partner, but somebody has to be.
It’s basically a “PR nightmare” the police force needs to deal with. But to the audience it’s a painful reminder – at least it should be – of how people still differentiate based on race.
By some miracle, Joel Edgerton manages to get all of Nick Jacoby’s emotions across. Even under inches of make-up and prosthetics. He’s good-hearted, loyal, pretty clumsy, and funny. Often without realizing it himself.
The Suicide Squad curse
So what exactly goes wrong for Bright? Well, it’s tricky to say when things start to go wrong. But it’s not too hard to say what goes wrong. The story is simply put on pause while we sit through various battle scenes. Whether it’s shoot-outs or fights or chases. Who cares? You were on to something good and interesting.
A problem we know only too well from Suicide Squad, which was the last project Will Smith and David Ayer worked on together.
Even the elf girl the two officers, Jacoby and Ward, fight to protect seems irrelevant. Her name it Tikka and she’s portrayed by Lucy Fry, but they just drag her around most of the time. The characters could’ve been played by a ragdoll. And Lucy Fry is definitely better than that!
Also, the brilliant Swedish actor Noomi Rapace (the original Lisbeth Salander and star of Prometheus) has nothing to work with either. If only she could’ve gotten something juicy like Margot Robbie had in Suicide Squad. But no, instead she’s gotten the same as Cara Delevingne. Since when is the villain a boring character? Very strange indeed.
Bright isn’t bad – just mediocre!
With the great cast, a $90 million budget and Netflix as a distributor, Bright should have been good. And it’s not that I can call it bad. It’s just desperately mediocre. With great effects, sure. But the story simply isn’t good enough.
We know for a fact that David Ayer can direct great movies. He made End of Watch and Fury. Of course, the difference is that he both wrote and directed those two.
However, Max Landis wrote the script for Bright and he can definitely write great scripts. He wrote the brilliant Chronicle and more recently Victor Frankenstein which was certainly interesting.
Up next, Max Landis will be writing and directing a remake of An American Werewolf in London. This definitely seems like an appropriate choice since his father, John Landis, wrote and directed the original movie from 1981.
In any case, if you’re in the mood for seeing a new world – or rather a new take on our world – then do check out Bright. Rumor has it that Bright 2 has already been greenlit. Maybe the greater and more interesting elements will be explored further in the next movie.
Bright is out on Netflix worldwide from December 22, 2017.
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Edgar Ramirez, Ike Barinholtz, Enrique Murciano, Jay Hernandez, Andrea Navedo, Veronica Ngo, Alex Meraz, Margaret Cho, Brad William Henke, Dawn Oliveri, Kenneth Choi
In an alternate present where humans and fantasy creatures—Orcs, Fairies, Elves, Centaurs, Dwarves etc.—have co-existed since the beginning of time, human LAPD officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Orc rookie officer Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) embark on a routine patrol night, only to discover an ancient—but powerful—artifact: a magic wand, that was thought to be destroyed, and encounter a darkness that will ultimately alter the future and their world as they know it.