Movie Review: Bright

The first orc L.A.P.D. Officer, Nick Jakoby.

In Bright, David Ayer combines a near-future Los Angeles with all your favorite fantastic beasts, creating a Netflix original sci-fi fantasy hit.

I watched the Netflix original film 'Bright' this past holiday weekend, and was quite relieved by how much I enjoyed the film. I liked the plausible tone of the movie. (Plausible as can be as far as Orcs, Elves, Fairies, Dragons, and Centaurs are concerned.) Joel Edgerton's Orc character tugs at the heart strings, and Will Smith's performance is expectedly solid.

I especially enjoy the super-urban undertones in Ayer’s films. The graffiti, the score and soundtrack selection, etc. I was part of the minority that actually enjoyed Suicide Squad, so I’m not too surprised by how much I enjoyed Bright. (On a side note, Suicide Squad’s advertising was fantastic. The team that created the color palette, design, and aesthetic of its marketing material, really hit a home run. That’s probably part of the reason why Suicide Squad’s revenue figures were relatively high when compared to the critical reviews the film received.)

So much of Bright is grounded in real-world Los Angeles, that the fantasy that's peppered in here and there is an enjoyable treat, especially for those familiar with the City of Angels. Is Bright entirely true to life? Of course not. (Mostly referring to the wardrobe and dialogue of the thugs in the film.) It’s a sci-fi fantasy flick, not a documentary, but its realism is real enough to satisfy.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I have an affinity for stories set in L.A. My own debut science fiction novel Dawn of Legaia is set in Los Angeles and low-Earth-orbit. So for me, the story's setting was the icing on the cake, and the majority of my gripes with this film are negligible. Where the character development lacked regarding the antagonists, the film made up for it by so thoroughly fleshing out Jakoby's character and the way people reacted to him, and thus, I tip my hat to everyone involved with this project.

The film has been met with some harsh reviews, but most of the reviews come from generalists, rather than folks well-versed in speculative fiction, and I have a feeling the average SFF fan will probably appreciate the film quite a bit more than the critics have.

It's interesting to compare this film's draw to something like Spectral, another Netflix original sci-fi film which is considerably more underground than Bright is. Will Smith probably had a lot to do with that, so it'll be interesting to see how the hype around Netflix's original content grows as they continue to bring bigger stars on board for their projects.

When the film ended, I turned to my wife and said, "So good..." and she absolutely agreed. Bright is a must-see film for fans of sci-fi fantasy, or just solid, entertaining movies that haven’t forgotten how to tend to the heart, as they stimulate the eyes.


Image: Netflix

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