Bright Review – Spoiler Free
Bright is a Netflix original film that has just been released as one of the first major blockbuster films that the streaming platform has made. Although there has been Netflix films and TV series in the past, this one has a much bigger budget which makes it a little more ambitious than previous projects. Bright comes directed by David Ayer who some may know as the director of 2016’s Suicide Squad (read review). Bright stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramírez, Lucy Fry and Veronica Ngo.
When first seeing the trailer for Bright, which was only a few days ago after I read Petey’s news about Will Smith signing up for a sequel, I became a little interested in watching the film. Being on Netflix and not at the cinema, I really have nothing to lose by watching this as it’s not like I have to pay or even travel to my nearest cinema to watch this new blockbuster. In the lead up to its release I had seen quite the controversy from a few critics out there giving it bad reviews, which took a bit of my excitement away, but as a critic myself on this site, I was going to watch it and review it anyway, so whatever is in the press doesn’t really deter me at all and really guys, if you’re really keen on something you should always go and see it for yourself anyway, don’t let someone else stop you because while others might not like it, you might and that’s all that matters really.
What we have here in Bright is a new world which David Ayer introduces us to. We have a bunch of characters which are usually reserved for the medieval/fantasy genre who are now living in the modern world. We have what seems to be the first ever Orc policeman and a world in which Orcs and Elves live amongst the humans. Much of the world is quite similar to a modern America and the Orcs seem to be the poorer characters in society and the Elves seem to be the richer folk. There’s some obvious, but strong themes in Bright for racism which I think forms the pillar for what the film’s meaning is to be and that’s okay. We see a lot of racism towards our Orc policeman and it’s an interesting sort of take on these mythical characters.
I found the setting to be interesting, although I do think the film is a little too dark at times. What I mean here when I say dark is not the tone, but the colouring of the film. I know it’s called “Bright” but the film’s colouring is overly dark and I know it takes place at night, but there seems to be a lack of colour in the film. The director has chosen quite a dark tone for Bright as well and it is I guess a little similar to his work with Suicide Squad. It’s a dark world that we get and that’s alright, I liked Suicide Squad. But what I think that is different with Suicide Squad is that those characters are quite well known so don’t need so much development, we can sort of just go with it. But with Bright, we don’t know any of these characters and I think we needed a little more backstory for what the Orc was or who Will Smith was playing or even for how this world just came to be. We as the audience are just sort of thrown into the world and it’s a bit of a rough journey as a viewer to take.
What’s happening with the story in Bright is that Nick (Joel Edgerton) is the first Orc policeman and joins Daryl (Will Smith) on the job as his partner on the force. Being an Orc, there’s push back from Daryl initially as he doesn’t like having him there because of his race and the two don’t come together well at all. During one of their nights out on the job, they find some people doing something dodgy with magic and there’s a magic wand that they find. This type of magic is band and there’s a variety of gangsters, orcs, elves and even the police force after the wand. There’s one elf who is at the scene with the wand, Tikka (Lucy Fry), who wants to use it for some good and Daryl and Nick get caught up in protecting the wand and keeping it safe from the bad people. It’s from this point that the film is an action one as the various groups make their attempts to take the wand from our three central characters.
As a story it’s okay, it’s weak on character development but is more of a story structured on a one night journey. I feel that the mixture of mythical characters in the modern world is a little hard to do and I know there are people out there who don’t like this type of thing. It’s hard to get right and I think maybe in this case, this film maybe was just little off.
My main complaint revolves around the look of the characters, especially Nick, who is main Orc. He doesn’t look much like an Orc to me and it looks to me that he’s just got his face painted really badly. The elves looked a little better and as a whole, the Orcs were all terrible. I wasn’t impressed with any of the costumes or the look of much of the film, as mentioned earlier, it was all too dark.
The special effects and action scenes aren’t too bad. Actually they are the highlight of the film. Seeing the mythical creatures fight is interesting and the gore level is just where I like it to be. If you’re just looking for a fun action flick, this one probably will be just enough for you.
I think what Netflix has with Bright is an interesting new universe to play with. Were they to make sequels, I would be interested in watching them. Although I don’t think they have anything special with the Orc characters as they look terrible, there’s some interesting things they could do with the elves in the future, which I think might be the better direction to take. If we get another Orc with his face painted story though, I’m sorry, but I’m out.
The only film that was released recently that I think is similar to this was The Last Witch Hunter (read review) which starred Vin Diesel. That too had mythical creatures in the modern world and was fun for a one time watch, but didn’t blow many people away. Although I’d still watch a sequel to that if there was one to be made. If I was to compare the two, I’d say the Last Witch Hunter was a little better though, there’s something about Bright that doesn’t work too well, but other things that do and it’s jarring to watch it at times.
Overall if you have Netflix already and enjoy Will Smith or Joel Edgerton, then this is worth giving a go. The film isn’t going to blow you away and make you want more initially, but the big name actors provide an entertaining film experience. The action scenes are the film’s highest points, but the costumes and the makeup, especially for the Orcs is a little disappointing. The universe and the lore that could be developed for future films in this series could be interesting as the world David Ayer has introduced us to does have some potential to be great. I just don’t know where Netflix can go to from here with this film series, but I’d be happy to give it a second go.