I guess you can say that I wanted to end my first year of officially reviewing movies with a … Bright … spot? I have delayed watching the newest Netflix original due to the negativity surrounding it, but granted it seems a lot of big releases this year have been surrounded by negativity. A good example of this is Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi – both of these have almost a 40 point different between the critic rating and the audience rating in opposite directions (40% – 78% and 91% – 51% respectively). I sided with the audience with each movie, so I was very anxious to see how much I would like (or dislike) Bright since it is currently sitting with a 60 point difference (28% – 88%). Going into it, I was split since I liked most of David Ayer’s directorial work (Harsh Times, Street Kings, End of Watch, and Fury) and most of what the lead actors have put out. The problem is the recent track record has been less than stellar, namely Suicide Squad. Without further delaying my review, how was it?
I would give it 8 “blooded orcs” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
A human police officer returns to duty with the first orc on the force after being shot by another orc. On the first day back, they come across a magic wand – a nuclear weapon that grants wishes as they later spell out. Their plan moving forward is to to stay alive while trying to figure out the next step.
Directed by: David Ayer
Written by: Max Landis
Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramirez, Margaret Cho, Matt Gerald, Ike Barinholtz, Jay Hernandez, and Brad William Henke
The action in this movie was fantastic, which isn’t too surprising given a lot of David Ayer’s prior movies hinged on action set pieces. Most of them were shootouts with a few hand to hand fights thrown in for good measure. They looked great, were believable, and plentiful.
Another great thing about the movie is the pacing. One of my biggest complaints in movies seems to be horrible pacing. It is one of those aspects to a movie that is not noticeable when it is great and painfully obvious when done poorly. Every time I thought there was going to be a break in the story so I could work on something else another fight broke out or another important plot line / device was exposed.
The acting was also a LOT better than I expected based on the genre (generally fantasy movies have actors phoning their performances in or someone overacting in an attempt to make a name for themselves). Will Smith has been in a slump recently (I think Men in Black 3 from 2012 was the last time I enjoyed his acting), so I expected a very poor performance from him. One of the complaints I saw is that he relied on his Bad Boys role too much … except I believe this is exactly this movie needed.
While most of the world building was phenomenal, they seemed to capture each race having different attributes fairly well and seemed to flesh out some of the mythology. The issue is that they dropped orcs, elves, and fairies into the normal human world. Sure they had an elf side of town, an orc side of town, and the humans were somewhere in between … but that seems to be about where that ended. Technology was exactly the same as it is now with no exception that I could find. They mention a war of 9 races that happened thousands of years ago, but that doesn’t seem to have affected anyone outside of grudges … but what happened to the other 5 races (human, orc, elf, and fairy)? The Alamo still had some battle of significance where the Mexicans were to blame.
Also, the views on racism were very thinly veiled. Will Smith pretty much opens up the movie saying fairy lives don’t matter and the orcs seemed to replace almost the entirety of the African American community.
I went into Bright expecting a horribly made movie similar to Suicide Squad that replaced meta-humans with orcs and elves … but I came out thoroughly pleased with the results. It was more End of Watch mixed with Lord of the Rings. If this had come out in theatres I would say that you should pay to watch this immediately, but it didn’t. So you can watch it at your home EVEN quicker! Seriously though, this was a fantastic move in most every aspect and is getting a lot of hate due to the comparisons to (Oscar winning) Suicide Squad.