Not a Bright Movie

It has the fantasy, but no Magic

Vincent Towne, Staff Writer

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The fast pace story, and intense gun fights walk hand in hand with fantasy in this movie. David Ayer and Max Landis teamed up to create the biggest Netflix Original movie to date. Bright.

The huge Netflix film began production back in November of 2016 and was released worldwide in November of 2017, costing an estimated $90 million. With how much money they spent, they fell painfully short of the fantasy, hard hitting cop drama, and the social justice aspects that they’re trying to achieve with this movie.

At the beginning of Bright, Logic and Rag’n’bone Man create the perfect opening song, Broken People. It gives a blues vibe and explains how the Orcs are oppressed before the movie even starts. This song along with many others made for the movie, or just previous songs used in it, set the mood very well.

But the film proceeds to go downhill from there.

The movie is set in modern times, but instead of just humans, there are many fantasy creatures living side by side with them. The story is centered on two cops and their struggles, Daryl Ward, played by Will Smith, is partnered up with an Orc named Nick Jacoby, played by Joel Edgerton. In this world, Orcs are a mistreated minority that are looked down upon as thugs and gang bangers by humans and high elves. Right away it is evident that Nick is the first Orc to join the L.A.P.D and he’s not welcome there.

The opening scene of the movie shows Daryl and Nick in the streets patrolling. While Nick is checking out the food at a nearby food cart, an Orc walks out of a gas station and shoots Daryl in the chest. He then wakes up, the previous scene obviously being a flashback, and for the rest of the scene, the movie paints the very racially segregated society that they live in through the news. Daryl is then seen talking to his wife, and she wants him to get a different partner, because the orc is “dumb” and “incompetent” and is going to get him killed.

The movie gives you an almost cliché feel to how the Orcs are treated by throwing as many racial and cop stereotypes as they can. For example when Daryl walks out of his house to kill a fairy in his bird feeder he sees his neighbors with a bunch of other African Americans in their yard with loud music and alcohol. While he’s swatting at the fairy, they tell him to take him out L.A.P.D. style. The movie constantly depicts a very insensitive stereotype of Orcs as black people and “how they’re all in gangs and hate the cops.” This is very makes the movie almost encourage racist behaviors rather than fixing them.

Over and over again, Landis treats us to a very vague commentary on racism through the lens of “Orc-ism.” And to give you an idea of how muddied and unclear this allegory is, Daryl asks Nick “Are you a cop first or an orc first,” as we’re watching cops beat Orcs in the street on their way to work. After seeing how Nick is treated at the station, Daryl finds himself being the closest thing to a friend that Nick has. Higher-Ups in the police department want to get rid of Nick by getting him to confess that he let the man that shot Daryl get away.

While investigating a possible magic cult, they then find a wand of immense power. The back-up officers that come in want to take the wand for themselves and kill Daryl and Nick. Daryl kills them before they can take it, and then has to explain to his partner why he shot them. They find a scared elf girl at the scene and take her with them.

It then escalates to getting involved with a group of renegade Elves called the Inferni who want their wand back. While they’re on the run, they learn that the elf is a rare Bright, that can use the wand. The two officers soon find themselves fighting every cop, gangbanger, and federal agent that wants the wand until they learn that Daryl is a Bright and he uses it to defeat the Inferni.

In effect, Ayer and Landis created a central trio that unites the three races; Human, Orc, and Elf, and the three classes that they represent. Each class is stereotyped too much, and the movie’s theme of racial inequalities that are presented at the start of the movie are lost in the fight for the wand that takes up a good 3/4 of the movie.

It’s an interesting concept, but I think if they’re going to make a movie about racial segregation, they’re going to need to keep the same idea throughout the movie. They shouldn’t go from showing the seriousness of racism and then start tossing around racial slurs. Other than the racial problems with it, I think it’s a good movie to watch if you like the “Buddy-Cop” genre.

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