David Ayer directs Netflix’s biggest budget film to date – Bright, a fantasy drama set in our own modern world, a world filled with fantastical history and creatures, orcs, fairies, elves and humans all live together and one infamous orc in particular (Nick Jakoby) is paired with a popular human cop – Daryl Ward as a seemingly routine mission has them come across a magical wand and certain players who want to use it. The film stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramirez, Lucy Fry and Veronica Ngo.
I don’t want to go on the defensive immediately for Bright to imply it’s bad or anything so I’ll start with this, Netflix has done pretty well for itself, from its humble beginnings as a great idea for streaming to making fairly high budget films now with Will Smith and Joel Edgerton? That’s impressive, the film also looks pretty decent and I could absolutely imagine it coming out in theatres – though that’s not the case, seriously though everything thing from the on location shooting to the creature make up looks pretty good I have to say and at no point was I pointing out that anything looked bad, even the CGI.
The budget clearly was put to good use and it helps to create a sort of lived in, gritty Los Angeles were Orcs are now the de-facto ethnic minorities, though human minorities still exist, humans have interestingly been shifted to somewhere as Elves have their own closed off community and see themselves as superior to everyone else, making for some interesting social dynamics that aren’t really explored in the film which is a shame. And that’s a pointed low point for the film in not exploring its own interesting lore and ideas, with a barely 2 hour runtime, I understand that there simply wasn’t enough time to go into everything but when characters talk about past events and history, you get a semblance of what they mean but you still also have no idea what they’re talking about (who’s the dark lord?).
Things feel almost as a they’re setting up for a sequel without really having to get too much into origins for the world itself, with no explanations of magic, the different races and how/why they all live together but maybe that’s for another day. In terms of cast, the main players are quite good, Will Smith does Will Smith as usual with his smart talking, no nonsense attitude, playing off a kooky partner cop – think Bad Boys with magic and he’s good to be fair, though you’ve seen it all before. Joel Edgerton disappears into the role of Nick Jakoby quite literally with all the make up but also in personality. Almost naively fighting for what’s right in the face of discrimination and blatant abuse and he’s a highlight, while some of the elves are also quite good though, especially the Inferni (a special type of magic using elf), one of them is played by Noomi Rapace and she’s quite good in the role.
The action also is done fairly well, bringing an interesting mix of traditional shootouts with an added touch of magic. Bright overall is a decent film, far from terrible but erring on the side of being a generic buddy cop film, the magic and fantasy elements elevate the story and make it more interesting but a lackluster final third and no delving into the more interesting sides of the world itself ultimately hurt the story overall.
. Good performances on the whole
. Fairly good writing, has some funny as well as memorable lines
. Plot feels a bit by the numbers, predictable
. The lore is interesting but unexplored