Bright has a 6.5 IMDb rating; 27% tomatometer (while the audience score is 85%); metascore of 29 and a whole bunch more of negative reviews. This film is not liked at all… So I decided to watch it and find out what it is all about.
In short, it is an action, crime movie with a heavy dose of fantasy. Imagine modern world infused with Lord of the Rings. It is like a modern day MMORPG with elves, orcs and, for whatever reason, universally despised fairies. The main underlying theme that the film tried to discuss was (institutional) racism in the police force (in America). Key word – tried.
Bright is a mindless action film with some superficial exploration of ‘racism’ and a whole lot of wasted potential. The world-building aspect of the film was as intriguing as it was unexplored and it is a real shame. Instead of explaining and developing the created world, the film turned out to be just another buddy cop movie with a simplistic plot and a lacking storyline. In my opinion, the concept of the story would have worked brilliantly in a series as it would have allowed for the exploration of many different arcs/storylines of this world.
The film had no real intent or purpose. It started out brilliantly with the introduction of the original world but trailed off into the unoriginal and tired lands of average action films. Bright tried to be too clever and do too much. Why would you introduce such an exciting world and leave it completely unexplored? Why create such an intriguing premise of orcs, elves, humans etc. sharing centuries of history in a modern day world, only to turn the film into a straightforward action/shooter film with a predictable and banal plot?
So I understand why the film received crave critic reviews and has drawn so much criticism. I can see why it was critiqued for being shallow, simplistic and even confusing. The worst part of it all, in my opinion, is what the film (or a story) could have been if more focus was spend on the originality of the idea rather than reducing it to a mind-numbing violent shooter. Having said all that, it was a surprise how bad this film was not…
I watched it from the beginning to end waiting for something so obviously bad, like a whole bunch of glaring plot holes that you could drive a truck through; some terrible special effects, underwhelming scenes or amateur acting and so on. Eventually the credits rolled and I was left wondering – what was with all the hate and criticism for this film? Maybe Hollywood is jealous…?
Well, of course not, because Bright cost about $90,000,000 to make but did not look like a $90,000,000 film… It’s not a great film by any measure and it will not win any major awards but, perhaps, the harsh and widespread criticism was… well, excessive. Although the film was like a poorer version of End of Watch (minus the magical touch), the film was somewhat original (even though that originality was wasted away) and of decent quality (it turns out, David Ayer directed both films…).
I have discussed the main flaw of the film – the wasted potential of the story (a.k.a. “What could have been if…”), but most of the other components of the film were of either good or decent quality. Acting cannot be faulted; special effects were convincing enough; visual effects, makeup were impressive and the film was full of nice colours/images. The film was professionally made and had a nice flow/pacing to it. For an action/shooter/buddy cup film – the film did quite good.
However, I wanted to know why the fairy lives don’t matter, especially in a film so set on exploring racial tensions and injustices… I wanted to find out more about the whole premise of the magic in this film and better understand the history of this world. Apart from a few glimpses into the past, there was not any deep analysis of the historical components. Furthermore, the world itself seemed overly simplistic/black and white. Elves are rich/elite, orcs are poor/criminals and humans are somewhere in between. But I guess, there is only so much you can include in a two hour film…
Bottom line is, I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching this film. The film was not that bad as the top Google search results will certainly make you believe. I have detailed my main issue with the film and criticised it from the script/writing perspective, but I have to agree that from the directorial perspective, the film was a success. I am looking forward to a sequel, which hopefully will be better than the original.
The film deserves a watching and you can make up your own mind whether it was good or bad – or somewhere in between.