Bright (2017) Film Review

Netflix’s big budget film starring Will Smith has finally been released and has been a very divisive films between fans and critics.

Bright is one of the first big budget films that Netflix has released. It has garnered a lot of hype from the cast of Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, with David Ayer directing and Max Landis writing the screenplay. The trailers looked crazy and quite fantastical in it’s choice of topic.

Bright is about a LAPD cop Daryl Ward (Will Smith) who lives in an alternative interpretation of Earth, where humans, orcs, elves and more magical beings live together. Orcs are seen as lesser beings and Daryl is harassed as he has an Orc, Jakoby, as a partner. Daryl hates Jakoby because he blames him for getting shot at the beginning of the movie. Daryl and Jakoby get into trouble when they find a magic wand and is on the run from every gang, who wants to get hold of the wand. They must stop orc’s, humans and elves getting the wand and bringing back the dark lord, bringing the end of the world.

Now to try and put the plot of this film in a small paragraph seems an injustice, but it is as crazy as it sounds. The film tries and push together fantasy and a gritty cop drama and it kind of works. This is where I am with this film, something works and I can’t really put my finger on it. You are immediately placed into this world without very little context. Throughout the film you get some hints of the history of this world but not anything substantial to make sense. As soon as you accept the world that Bright creates, the more enjoyment you can get out of this. I can see why critics lambasted this film because it seems nonsensical and just outlandish crazy. However, I applaud the film for this tone, I wanted more craziness, I craved it. I enjoyed the division between the humans, orcs and elves. A clear class system that some people have shown similarities with race in contemporary society. I don’t think you should look too far into this film because this is a form of entertainment that I don’t think has that kind of subtext

Daryl Ward played by Will Smith and Jakoby played by Joel Edgerton are a great pair, they hate each other, to the point that you really can’t call it a buddy cop film as they are not really buddies. Daryl is not a likable character, he is horrible and this film becomes a journey of redemption, where Jakoby’s journey is of acceptance, as he is not accepted by humans or orcs. The chemistry between the two is great and provides some fleeting moments of comedy. The characters were the stand out ingredient of this rainbow cake of madness. The different sub-sections of society with the elves living in a high class society, with the orcs represented as gangs. It is an interesting look into this world that Bright creates.

This new universe that this film creates probably needed more time. Netflix has got the format wrong. This should of been a 6 part series of one hour episodes. It would of cost more but the story and the universe the film creates would of had more time to flesh itself out and become more easily digestible for the audience. It is a rich world the film has and to pigeon hole it into 2 hours is an injustice to writer, who you can see found it hard to fit so much content into so little time. There are talks of a few more films after this and this is needed. Bright creates something that is fresh and exciting and this film leaves you wanting to know more about the world of Bright.

Critics have called this the worst film of the year and it just shows the disconnect critics have. This film won’t win Oscars or be held as Netflix’s greatest export. However this is a fun film, with a good cast, a rich and diverse world that can only be explored further with exploding curiosity. It’s biggest weakness is how little time it had to introduce such a concept. The film was moving very fast and when it was near the end I just wasn’t ready for it to end. Fantasy is one of the hardest genres to get across to a wide audience because it has to create a world that an audience can accept. There are only a few successes. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Hunger Games to name a few, all based on novels and had multiple installments. So it baffles me that Netflix, who pride themselves on episodic binging, squeezes this into a 2 hour film.

Bright is a good film that has some good action, comedy and emotion. It does have some flaws with pacing and at sometimes a bit cheesy with it’s dialogue. However Bright does show potential of the universe it creates. This is by far not the worst film of the year. To even have those words in this review seems cheap. Bright is a fun fantasy film that struggles with tone and pacing but overall it eclipses that with an exciting ride that is full of magic, orcs and elves, and as a fan of fantasy, sometimes that’s all I want.


Rating – ★★★

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