Before I managed to get round to watching Bright, I couldn’t escape the mixed reviews, with the film having fairly decent audience scores but very low scores from the critics. To be honest, I don’t think all round bad scores would have put me off watching this film, as I found the concept of a fairytale land being merged with the modern world we live in today really intriguing. But with these mixed scores, it made me want to watch the film even more, so I could see which side of the fence I sat on. Bright has many flaws, but it is certainly not as bad as critics make out. As I said, the concept is very compelling and I think David Ayer’s unique grunge-esque style added to that appealing nature of the film. The main issue with Ayer, which many of you would have seen in Suicide Squad, is that he seems to let the story runaway with itself, making it feel like effort having to stay on top of everything.
LAPD’s Daryl Ward, played by heavy hitter and former Actor of the Week Will Smith, is forced to work with the first police Orc, Nick Jakoby, who is played by the talented Joel Edgerton. I say forced, as in this odd hybrid world where real meets fantasy, Orcs are not the favoured creature, due to them picking the wrong side of an ancient war many years ago. With many Orcs treated awfully by all other creatures, such as the rich elves and the controlling humans, they feel it is best to stick together and only look out for each other, making Jakoby’s decision to join the Police Force an odd one, exiling him from all types of society.
I really enjoyed Jakoby, there is a great innocence about him, where all he wants to be is treated like a normal person who is just trying to to do good in the world. It is quite an inspiring story, which, I think, if the film was executed better, a lot of people would have really related to him.
Smith’s Ward hates that he is assigned to this Orc, and therefore they don’t get on very well, creating a tense, but at times funny, dynamic. We see Jakoby being very innocent and naive, whilst Ward is very experienced and fed up with life, literally counting down the days until retirement. I am a fan of Smith and feel he seems to be getting a raw deal lately. I have watched many films of his which were deemed ‘bad’ recently and have been surprised by the negative reviews. I don’t believe he is this all time great actor he seems to think he is, but I do feel that any film starring him, people usually enjoy.
Jakoby and Ward set off on their daily assignments to patrol and maintain the city of LA, but during this patrol they are called to handle a disturbance nearby, which turns out to be something more than just a disturbance, with the two cops coming across an elf who is in possession of a magical Wand. In this universe, there isn’t anything more powerful than a Wand, with it being able to provide the user with anything they want and unbelievable power. The catch to this Wand is that the only person who can wield it must be a “Bright”, which is essentially a chosen one. Due to the Wand being such a rare and powerful object, everyone in this city wants it, putting Ward and Jakoby in a moral dilemma. This Wand could help them both get the better lives they are seeking, but they choose to take it upon themselves to hide it, showing the audience that they are decent people and, in turn, showing each other that they are both good people, creating something of a subplot, as we see the partners go from hating each other to becoming friends.
Sadly, this is where the film starts to run away with itself and become a bit of a mess. Ayer really took this great concept and mashed it, having loads of different characters that were pointless, such as this FBI-like agency for all things magic, chasing after the partners guarding the Wand, only for them to be behind them every step of the way and have no real impact on the story. We also have all the different types of people that are after the Wand, like corrupt cops, Orc gangs, evil mystical elves who previously owned the wand, and your standard human city gangs. There is also a twist at the end, in regards to the “Bright” people, that I saw coming from the start, which was never really explained or followed up, it was just used to help the story progress. Me knowing this was coming wasn’t due to how the story lead up to the twist, it was literally based on one thing Jakoby said at the start of the film, coupled with my experience on how blockbuster films work. The twist had no real substance, which is something that really bugs me. If you are going to put a twist in the film it has to be drip fed throughout the movie so that when it happens you can be surprised but also understand why it’s happened, creating a satisfying experience.
There was no real standout score for this film, with most of the music in the movie being unique songs wrote for the picture by bands we know, such as Alt-J. I don’t mind a good soundtrack to a film, like Baby Driver, but I do prefer there to be a traditional score for films with a more serious tone, like Bright. It adds to the drama of the movie.
As someone who watches a lot of films, I am able to pull out the good parts of a movie like this, which allows me to enjoy Bright more than the casual viewer, but I can understand why it was not a major hit. The film really gets lost within itself, relying on its really unique concept to carry it through. I, for one, enjoyed this film, with Jakoby and Ward’s dynamic being a highlight for me. I have been reading lately that Netflix may do a sequel, and I personally think they should turn it into a TV series, as it will give this incredible universe the time for it to breathe and allow us to understand it better.