By: Corey Lack
Bright was a movie that was released back in 2017 on Netflix and was one of the first movies that Netflix did that had a lot of attention, not least of which was drawn due to Will Smith playing one of the main characters. When it comes to critics, most people had lots of issues with the movie for a variety of reasons, not least of which for its focus on social commentary. While I agree that the movie was far from perfect, it wasn’t as bad as people make it seem to be. Bright takes place in an alternative version of the city of Los Angeles. Will Smith is a police officer named Daryl Ward, who just got back from his leave after recovering from being shot. He lives in a version of the modern world where different types of fantasy creatures exist alongside humans, including elves, orcs, centaurs, fairies, and others, but the humans, orcs, and elves take the main focus of the story. Ward’s new partner is an orc named Nick Jakoby, a race which has been looked down upon and discriminated against by the other races for thousands of years. The two, while uncomfortable being with each other, Ward because he blamed Jakoby for getting shot and Jakoby because he wants to be a good cop in a world that distrusts him and his own kind looks down on his attempts to be different, answer what they think is a routine call only to find a young elvish girl with a magic wand, a highly illegal and extremely powerful artifact. Ward, despite his issues with Jakoby, refuses some of his fellow human police officers’ offer to take the wand for themselves and turned on the corrupt cops, killing them in the process. They then find out that factions across the city, ranging from terrorists to gangbangers to government agents to other cops all have a vested interest in obtaining the wand and the girl wielding it.
In terms of the plot, it had all the usual trademarks of cop drama where one or two cops have to work outside the law to deal with some problem only they really know or care about, but with the addition of fantasy creatures, it puts a new twist on the usual story. The main issue that I had with the plot was that there were a lot of references that I didn’t understand because they were just never explained in the movie. There is a Netflix clip on Youtube, called “History of Magic,” that gives more background and helps to understand some of what is going on with the more fantasy aspects. I feel it would have served the movie much better to have that background in the actual movie as it built the world more.
In regards to the characters, as there are only three really developed through the movie, Ward, Jakoby, and Tikka, the wand-wielding elf, there isn’t really much to say. The characters were certainly entertaining, especially Jakoby’s failing to understand idioms. It brings some comedy to the movie though there is very little of it. The movie focuses most on action sequences, typically as gunfights, once the characters have been sufficiently built up.
The movie may not have been as interesting as it could have been, but with its unique characters, interesting action scenes, and interesting premise, I certainly feel this movie is one to try. I’d give it 7 magic wands out of 10.
I am a graduate student at Northern Kentucky University. I like writing fantasy and science fiction, playing video games, and watching movies.