In an ever-changing world where technology advances quickly, media changes along with it. Such as renting DVDs once was done through physical lending in shops then distributed through websites, posting them back and forth and now the ease of streaming films / tv shows direct to your home. Netflix have cornered the market revolutionising the way we consume film / tv media with its own studios to make award winning tv shows such as Orange is the New Black, but Netflix has often fell short when it came to movies. Until Bright that is.
“Bright” reportedly cost over $9 million to make and is a pinnacle piece in Netflix’s attempt at solving the lack of movies on their streaming service. Starring Will Smith, Netflix have been advertising the movie in cinemas long before release and with a killer soundtrack to boot, is the future, well, Bright?
Set in an alternate reality present day, Will Smith plays police officer Daryl Ward who is partnered with Nick Jakoby – an Orc in a time when Orcs don’t have the best reputation. This is explained in a flashback sequence showing Daryl being shot by another Orc as Nick watches on. This leads to obvious tension between the two partners (cue sarcastic comments made by Will Smith about this throughout) yet they must work together to protect a girl named Tikka and a magic wand. Sounds a little Harry Potter but is anything but!
Tikka was discovered inside a building containing a Bright (magic source sort of like a wizard) and a magic wand that not only are other Elves after, but humans and even other police officers are too leading to endless chases between Ward / Jakoby / Tikka and the police / elves etc.
There’s one good visual sequence involving Ward shooting his colleagues at the beginning of the film and reasoning aside is a burst of greatness with nice slow-motion effects blended together with a fitting song.
The problem I have, is the reasoning behind the shooting itself as, Ward is far too quick to turn his back on his colleagues without any clear motive. Granted, he knew they were planning of killing him to retrieve the wand to be used by themselves, but surely there was another way, such as getting away from them rather than just shooting them to death? Of course, I can believe Orcs / Elves / magic wands but when it comes to a character, I need a little more proof that their actions are real and not just to progress the story without reason.
I need to mention that I believe Will Smith is a talented actor. In Bright, he brings his usual professionalism and great skills to the role, but I can’t help but feel the way he plays Ward, is very similar to his other roles he has played in the past reminiscent of I Am Legend, Men in Black etc He seems to have the similar character traits with the same sarcastic remarks / expressions thrown in with a bit of attitude too. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just gives a been there and done that feeling?
Even though there are many great action sequences, including endless chases, I feel like the movie is very slow at times and doesn’t really go anywhere in terms of a journey. The “climax” is dull and the ending is plain rubbish too. It’s like that feeling of going out for a meal and left feeling hungry afterwards…
Other critics are calling Bright the worst film of 2017 which I don’t agree with. Bright deals with issues about race, Orcs acting as different gangs (clans) and the stigma they face. It’s not necessarily done cleverly but does give the film some form of credibility that it lacks elsewhere. It’s one of those films that is worth a watch, just don’t expect much from it.
The soundtrack is probably the movie’s strongest aspect – expect a lot of pop fused with hip hop from the likes of Bastille, Future and even former Fifth Harmony member Camilla Cabello.
Yet, nice visuals and good soundtrack does not make a good movie. While it does have its moments, Bright Is a very poor choice of title for the film that it is. I feel Flicker would have suited as there are flickers of greatness but it’s a film bogged down a poor story that leads nowhere. I expected so much, and Bright brought so little. Netflix has reportedly issued plans for a sequel, so let’s hope they put more into the next one, not just visuals and sounds.