Bright: Brief and Shallow

Bright (2017)

Director – David Ayer

Writer –   Max Landis

Starring –Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Naomi Rapace

Rating – PG-13

Genre – Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

Metascore – 29/100

Rotten Tomatoes – 26%

 

I had high hopes for this Netflix made Blockbuster, mixing a few of my favorite genres into one big movie with a whopping $90 Million production budget. The concept for the film sounds great as an elevator pitch, “gritty cop movie meets Lord of the Rings” but sadly the end result is less, lets say refined, than I had originally hoped.

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The story follows newly partnered LAPD cops Ward (human) and Jakoby (orc), through a progression of events that spirals so out-of-hand by the end of the film that I forgot about the first 50 minutes by the time it finished. That’s a crying shame too because the first half of the film is arguably the best part. There are some powerful moments as we meet the characters and the world they live in, a parallel to ours, but one in which all your classic fantasy races exist. Orcs are looked down upon as a lesser race because of a choice made by their ancestors two thousand years before the events in the film. We see and feel the pain that Jakoby experiences as an outcast from his people group, and an un-welcomed stranger in the LAPD as the first Orc officer. In that first hour, there are tense, painful moments where we see our officers struggle with each other, and with the situation they are put in by being partners. It’s a decent social commentary packed into a world that is similar enough to our own that one really can feel the tension that still exists between races. It’s not hard to pick out the parallels that the filmmakers wanted us to see, and I believe that’s a good thing.

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Sadly, the story starts to spiral into a whole different movie about halfway through, shifting from social commentary to a magic steeped thriller. I struggled to keep up with the various factions and groups that are introduced as Ward and Jakoby suffer through a series of encounters that all feel bland and compacted due to their brevity and unoriginality, that you just kind-of forget about them not long after they are over. By the time the film is wrapping up, I had  forgotten those few powerful moments in the beginning where we actually get to see and know something about the characters motivations and struggles. Honestly, it feels like this franchise (yes, there is more Bright content coming) could have been spread over two different films from this one storyline, but instead they smashed them together producing a film that gives you whiplash halfway through when it changes so drastically.

Bright was an okay film that let me down due to its lack of commitment to one style and forgettable characters, but certainly sparked an interest in a new world that Netflix is committed to producing content in. I’m not sad I watched this film, at the end I’d even say I enjoyed it because of the setting. It’s a shallow film that is hard to follow at points, but still a film worth seeing once.

Author: Alex Greenwood

499 Rating: 5 / 10

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