Bright is not the brightest movie despite its title and concept but totally manages to be a greatly entertaining flick.
As you know, Bright takes place in a world which is basically ours, except with more races, which happens to be those fantasy creatures. Orcs (low-class), Humans (middle-class) and Elves (high-class), with fairies as ‘bugs’. In this world, Will Smith is a soon to be retired cop, who is forced to team up with the first Orc in the LAPD, played by Joel Edgerton. The two will have to save an elf bright (aka someone who is able to use a wand) from the Inferni, a group who is willing to bring back the Dark Lord, a being who tried to subjugate Earth 2000 years ago.
So, Bright is basically a fantasy, buddy-cop comedy, and a gangster movie. All at the same time.
As I said, I found the flick to be totally entertaining. At the same time, though, the movie is flawed. Extremely flawed.
For starters, it feels like Suicide Squad. Not really a flaw-per-se, but director David Ayer should have been smarter in avoiding any possible comparison/recalling of that infamous work. While cinematographer Roman Vasyalov returned for this too, I don’t really blame him as he proved his versatility this year alone (The Wall, Thank You For Your Service), but rather David Ayer himself showing his total inexperience with fantasy. Twice in a row.
Not only that, but the use of songs instead of an actual score 50% of the time reminded me of that obscene DCEU flick. Someone should tell Ayer that we are not in the early 00s anymore and that style is long gone. And, if you REALLY need to use songs, please be intelligent and try to use songs that are suitable to the scene, to the point where even lyrics make sense.
As a consequence, editing is not good either. Actually, it’s pretty imbalanced. First, we have pretty badly made opening titles. While they are smartly used to introduce us to the world, the cuts are so freaking fast to the point it’s really hard to read the names or elaborate the incredible production design work done. I understand they tried to keep pace with the song… maybe change the song?
The pace is not coherent. There are points where the cuts are pretty slow, to points where they keep cutting super fast, and neither seems to find a reason to do in the scene itself since the same problem can be found in action sequences.
Even the quality of action sequences is imbalanced. There are some really, really well done (the strip club scene, the grocery store one), to some that are pretty boring and uninventive (unfortunately, the final showdown). Luckily, I can say I was overall satisfied with the action Bright offered, as those which I liked are more than the ones I didn’t.
The biggest issue with the film, though, is how they treat racism. Everyone knows that Max Landis’ script was trying to depict racism through a new perspective (similarly to Alien Nation), but the time’s racism is depicted it’s so ridiculous it is annoying. Too much on the fucking nose, with extremely unrealistic dialogues, even for a racist. And deliveries don’t help. I can safely say this was Ike Barinholtz worst performance in his career (and I really like him).
Outside the role of racist a-holes, though, Bright offers really solid performances, including from Will Smith (extremely convincing as a fed-up cop forced to be ‘revolutionary’) and Joel Edgerton (extremely convincing too in playing a first of his kind Orc, with a mix of optimism, fear, and naivety). Despite their underwritten roles, also Edgar Ramírez and Noomi Rapace successfully deliver convincing performances. Lucy Fry (who plays the bright the cops have to save) also did really good.
The best part of Bright is obviously the makeup, despite the controversy around it that popped up in the last few days. From the elves to Joel Edgerton’s orc (but honestly ALL orcs), it such a well done, differently conceived yet reminiscent of a previous representation of these creatures that it’s really hard to find a way to define the looks. And that’s a really good thing since it could mean they created something new.
Luckily, the film manages to expose the depth and possibilities of Max Landis concept. You really feel to be in a different world, and you really feel, by the end of the movie, that what you’ve seen it’s as big as a sneak peek.
Overall, I really had a good time with Bright. In the end, I’m really glad I watched it, and I’ll probably do it again one day.
However, despite my enjoyment, I can’t really define this as a great movie. But I’m not afraid to call it an ok flick that will offer you a peaceful time on a classic boring Sunday afternoon.