Bright is the movie that confused me as Bright is a movie that was not what I thought. Bright is a movie that will be watched again, just to see if I missed anything.
As soon as this movie was announced by Netflix, I was so down for it. I watched all the teasers and trailers. I read interviews with Will Smith. I was positive I would love this movie, as I’m a big fan of urban fantasy, but I think, I’m really just not sure. I didn’t hate it. But I didn’t love it. There were parts I really enjoyed, and I’ll try to give you an idea without too many spoilers.
First, a rundown. Bright is about cops trying to make it in a world where magic exists and divides. About a quarter into the movie you learn a “Bright” is someone who can wield a magic wand. On Facebook it was billed as “Bad Boys in Mordor”
See? I wasn’t lying! (I screenshoted this a week ago in preparation for this review!)
But that implies it’ll be funny, cause Bad Boys was funny. This was more End of Watch in Mordor (end of watch is cop movie that is seriously hard to watch). And while Bright has some moments that are funny, it’s definitely not a funny movie. It’s a good movie, with some very timely and important themes. This is why, one of my absolute favorite parts about this movie is there’s no lead up. No explanation. You are just dropped into this world where magic is alive and it has turned the world we know sideways. There is still a class divide. There are still gangs. There are still racial divides. But now it’s orc gangs and elves who hold all the wealth. Now the cops are hated by everyone, not trusted by anyone, and easily corruptible by magic. It sounds bleak, and it was. But there was hope as well. And friendship.
While the idea of a gritty police drama smack dab in the middle of a world full of magic might be a new idea, there were plenty of old stand by tropes present. There was a prophecy or two. There was a defining moment that turned a unassuming man (well, orc in this case) into a heroic figure. And there was one of my favorites, finding yourself through turmoil. And all this happened in a gorgeously gritty and well developed world. The art of the gangs, the sleekness of the elves, the flickering lights of the strip club, the lone dragon flying near the sun, and the burned bodies all wove together in a beautiful storytelling all of it’s own.
Another of my favorite things about this movie is the cast. The cast was impeccable. This is Will Smith at his best. Some funny, snarky moments, and then stark despair. Joel Edgerton as an orc is just perfect. You get enough of his personality through all the makeup, and it works so well. Noomi Rapace as a murderous elf is only eclipsed by Edgar Ramirez as a grumpy federal government elf. No lie, I would watch a whole movie of him just being grumpy in his perfectly pressed suit and his glorious blue hair. The aesthetics of each character lends so much to the story itself, and that makes watching some of the hard bits easier.
The last thing I want to touch on, or, go back to, is the bleakness of the world and some of it’s inhabitants. I have to paraphrase because language, but the were two sentences that broke my heart. One came form Will Smith’s character’s daughter. When she asks him why he has to be a cop when everyone hates cops I almost broke down in tears. And then when, again, Will Smith’s character asks Joel Edgerton’s character why he wants to save a world that doesn’t want him, I again nearly cried.
So, after sleeping on it and after talking it out with my hubs, I’ve decided Bright is a good movie. Maybe even a great one. But one with some hard parts to watch, and one that may very well break your heart before it decides to give you hope. I give it 4 stars out of 5.
Bright is available on Netflix now.