‘Bright’ Review: $100 Million, High Fantasy, and Will Smith Debates for Decades

Sooo, I watched Bright over the holiday vacation. I put that on myself. I took that “L” for every one of you and I’m absolutely disgusted. Like genuinely disappointed disgust. I’m a huge Will Smith fan (I know, mad people are) but I’m the kind of Will Smith fan that owns the fact that Bad Boys I & II are my favorite movies. Yeah, I’m about that life, fam. Now, I didn’t think the movie would be great but I expected a few really great scenes or a dope section of the movie that I could champion. Alas, that is not what I received. What I received was a hodgepodge of Training Day, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Literally.

You could cherry pick various scenes from each of these movies, edit them together, and create a better YouTube Red movie. That’s how unimaginative this joint was. It was like David Ayers just said “Fuck it”, took all the great things about his previous movies, melted them in a cinematic pot, and poured them over our heads Khal Drogo style. I love Chronicle and Max Landis because of it, (Editor’s note: Yeaah, about Max Landis) but I didn’t see much of his definitive style during the 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Ok, quick movie breakdown. Jakoby is the first Orc to become a police officer. Humans hate that he’s on the force and Orcs consider him a traitor. He’s paired with the financially burdened and oft-maligned officer Ward. Ward doesn’t trust dude cause Jakoby let the Orc that shotgun popped Ward full of lead, get away. But eventually, they have to work together to stop a weapon of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands. Not a bad premise right? Wrong. Why? Is there anything in that brief synopsis that sounds remotely original?

Not only is this dumpster fire uninspired, but it also checks off every stereotype in the book. Look, I’m not even gonna get into the whole “Fairy Lives don’t matter today” line. That’s just deplorable. I wanna talk about the Mexican homies that chase Wade and Jakoby around for an entire hour of the movie just to be slaughtered like Purdue chicken. Not only do they act as though the only thugs and gangsters in LA are Mexican, but whoever was in charge of wardrobe deserves to be tarred and feathered then flogged thru the town square. They had these thugs out here reppin’ random numbered jerseys like a music video in the ‘98 Fubu days.

And don’t even get me started on the cat in the wheelchair!! I’d have no problem with him going hard to find the wand so he could reverse his fortune, allowing him to walk and make love to his lady. But having him lift up his shirt to display the bag of excrement was going too fucking far B. Keep that kinda shit left to the imagination. I was 100% through with this movie after that nonsense. But I couldn’t stop there. I had to make it to the scene where Will Smith shoots his crooked cop brethren in Matrix slow motion as they fall to the ground in a blaze of bullets and blood.

*Spoiler territory*

Now that I’ve mentioned it, I can hit you with the 1 good thing about Bright; The wand. Yo I bangs with Harry Potter. Haven’t read the books, but I’ve seen every movie and always thought the idea of a magic wand should be elevated to showcase wands as insanely powerful devices. Can’t front, Bright portrayed the magic wand that everyone is after proper AF. The damn wand was dripping mystical swagu every scene it was in. It was oozing destructive power and felt like a privilege just to behold its light. Kudos to Bright on this one.

Now I need to vent about something that pretty much sums up all my gripes about this movie. Remember that Wade doesn’t trust his partner because he thinks Jakoby let the Orc who shot him get away. We eventually find out what really happened. Jakoby let some random Orc kid go since he could smell that the kid wasn’t the Orc who shot Wade. Towards the end of the movie, there’s a scene where this same kid doesn’t shoot Jakoby into a deep pit of sure doom. The kid remembers that Jakoby helped him escape earlier in the movie. Now can you tell me this scene isn’t the most blatant and offensive Training Day ripoff of all time?! David Ayers and Max Landis, you’re better than this. Of course, the good guys make it out alive and we never get another whiff of this ancient Voldemort ass mufucka they keep mentioning as the reason everyone wants the wand. Guess that’s for the sequel.

bright orc

Pacing wise, the movie wasn’t on point. They throw names and details at us as if this story was originally a graphic novel that they adapted into a movie and we’re already supposed to know all this shit. Yo, build up the story and explain why Will Smith’s daughter is so confused and mad that her dad is a member of the most hated profession in the city. One whole scene is not enough to make us care. Give us more context as to why these Elven ass mufuckas were the trapeze artist assassins of magical white supremacy and hand to hand excellence. Do a better job of explaining who these elves who are, because they came through slitting throats and floating through the air like a Deadpool and Robin team-up movie set in Westeros.

Do all of that, THEN you’re allowed to hit us with this Logan meets Baby Driver meets magical Training Day chase movie.

The Orcs representing Black plight was clear..and an annoying parallel. Will Smith’s acting job was simply him bringing back his Bad Boys bravado while trying to up his grit levels to Denzel in Training Day. Joel Edgerton was ok. Nothing special. I guess I kinda fux with the elves savagery. I guess I kinda fux with the gas station battle and final pool scene. But you know what, Netflix doesn’t care what I think or anyone else’s opinion that this is the worst movie of 2017. They basically ordered up a sequel the day the movie dropped and I’ve been on a mission to find out why. Friends are no help. I can’t get concrete answers from my homies who enjoyed the movie besides the fact that “it was dope boi” or “classic Will Smith”.

Perhaps the fact that it’s Netflix and people aren’t paying $24 to see it is softening their opinion. Maybe people just want to be mindlessly entertained. I have seen that a lot of the people are voting for it favorably online, so you might be feelin’ the movie, and more power to you. Hell, it might be the next great franchise and I’m just a supreme hater who wants his 2 hours back. Either way Bright continues to look like another big budget movie that critics and fans are divided on, but will undoubtedly be a big conversation starter in 2018.

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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