Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Edgar Ramírez
Directed by: David Ayer
Written by: Max Landis
Rating: TV-MA Running Time: 1 hr 57 min.
My 2 Cents:
Imagine that the world of orcs, elves, and humans, were set in a modern-day Los Angeles. Then sprinkle in some race relations and class warfare in amongst a story featuring a magical object, a “chosen one,” and a big destructive force of evil returning to Earth. That in a nutshell is, Bright. Think of it as Lord of the Rings meets Dennis Hopper’s, Colors.
It’s an interesting premise. A blend of fantasy, buddy-cop drama, and social commentary. With orcs standing in for oppressed minorities, and elves prancing about as the asshole 1% elites. Will Smith plays a human officer, Daryl Ward, a cop forced to partner with the first orc police officer, Nick Jakoby (played by Joel Edgerton), who is pressed into service via some kind of orc-ish affirmative action plan.
At its core, Bright is a standard fantasy story, pitting various factions against each other as they pursue a magic MacGuffin that’ll help bring about the end of the world. Which is fine, if a bit familiar. The Lord of the Rings had a ring, Bright has a wand, Rings had Frodo, Bright has Daryl Ward. The way Bright tries to differentiate itself, is by turning this fantasy cliché into a buddy-cop drama, while throwing on some social commentary. Almost like a cliché layer cake, baked in the hope that something surprising would result from the mishmash of ingredients.
Unfortunately, Bright doesn’t pull all these elements together in a way that’ll make you care about anything going on in the story. The buddy-cop angle isn’t given enough screen time, resulting in little to no chemistry between the film’s two leads, and the social commentary isn’t going to reach and teach anyone. The mythos fueling the “dark force” storyline isn’t adequately communicated, nor is the rise or reason for the “chosen one.”
The fix for this might be to perhaps focus on fewer elements in this story, but the movie/TV show Alien Nation already covered the buddy-cop/social stuff pretty well. There are plenty of good hero’s journey fantasy flicks available to watch too. I appreciated the path Bright tries to navigate between these various genres, but ultimately have to report that the movie is only half successful at putting it all together.