MOVIE REVIEW: Netflix’s Bright  interesting but disappointing

Bright, which debuted in December on the Netflix streaming service, is set in a modern-day Los Angeles that is populated with orcs, elves, fairies, and centaurs, and where magic exists. It focuses on the relationship between a human cop (star Will Smith) and his orc partner (Joel Edgerton) as they defend a magic wand from gangsters and infernii (renegade elves).  

Bright blends elements of a Dungeon & Dragons campaign, social commentary, police drama, and Will Smith’s sense of humor.  Despite poor reviews from critics, Bright is getting a sequel some time in the future.

I think that Bright is a good concept but not a good film. Critics panned the movie, and the fanbase seems divided. Bright had an ambitious theme, exploring the issues of racism and police brutality in a fantasy setting, but failed to deliver on those ideas. The best part about this movie is the relationship between Will Smith’s character Scott Ward and Joel Edgerton’s Nick Jakoby, but even that goes awry in the trainwreck that is Bright.

You should not completely disregard Bright, despite the bad reviews, for it has a few things going for it. First, Bright blends different genres–action, drama, fantasy, and comedy–all in one place. Second, the film has a unique atmosphere to it, L.A filled with gangs of both orcs and humans, a sinister cult of inferii, and, of course, magic wands. Third, and maybe most important, Bright is Netflix’s biggest-budget film to date, 90 million, paving the way for other “blockbuster” Netflix original films.

Bright’s negatives seem to outweigh the positives, a fact pointed out by the majority of critics. One weak spot for the movie is its poor dialogue, with lines such as “It’s like a nuclear bomb that grants wishes” or “If you act like my enemy, you become my enemy” really contradict the gravity of the situation. Lines like “fairy lives don’t matter”  sometimes seem to contradict the movie’s message: that all races are equal.

I think that Bright is worth the watch. It is a unique movie, but it seems conflicted at the worst times about what kind of movie it is.