Bright Review

  • Directing4
  • Writing4
  • Acting4

David Ayer's Bright is one of the worst movies of the year and all the more reason for Netflix to stop the massive amounts of spending on original content. Ayer's direction is flat and lazy, Landis' script is far from clever and Smith phones in his performance for an easy paycheck. Avoid this dimly-lit action disasterpiece at all costs.

David Ayer’s (Suicide Squad) latest film Bright might be one of the most expensive risks that Netflix has ever taken, airing as a Netflix Original and completely skipping the theaters, despite starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton. But, the benefit of the world’s most popular streaming service dumping this onto our televisions and mobile devices is that we don’t have to waste any more money going out and seeing this massive disappointment projected on a large screen.

Bright is Training Day meets Lord of the Rings, minus the visual creativity and detailed approach. It’s gritty for the sake of being gritty and ugly-looking for the sake of wasting most of the budget on its stars and not its set or script.

Hollywood bad boy Max Landis must’ve scribbled the script on a napkin, occasionally smudging out a scene or two, because not much of Bright transcends its horrid concept that basically lives in our world, except with elves and orcs that have taken over as the new minority.

Now, “orc lives matter” is spray painted on the sides of tagged buildings as the corrupt cops and officials do whatever they can to hold them down and steal from them. This isn’t clever social commentary, but instead a cheap attempt at relevancy. Will Smith plays Daryl, a washed-up cop that’s stuck being teamed up with the first orc police officer, Nick, played with very little enthusiasm by Joel Edgerton.

Bright might dazzle you with its interesting concept mash-up trailers that promise something a little different and unique, but don’t let those quickly-edited clips fool you — Bright is a gigantic disappointment and letdown, not only from Netflix, but from David Ayer and Will Smith.

Ayer’s direction looks and feels cheap, despite the film’s rumored $98 million dollar budget. Most of the film takes place in the dark or with very little lighting at all. It’s noticeably bad and makes you wonder why this was even presented in 4K with HDR if it should’ve been consumed on the world’s smallest smartphone.

The acting is atrocious. The stereotypical gang-bangers are played with wooden performances by Ayer regulars, while Will Smith simply plays a more tired and less-caring version of himself. Props must be given to Joel Edgerton for mostly keeping a straight face and doing his best under the costume and make-up, but even then, he doesn’t really give the character that much energy or charisma.

There’s no real character progression or story that carries any real weight. Bright is only interested in hinting at action and then following through with predictable story beats that require not an once of creativity or thought.

Everything is surface-level and fitting into the molds of movies that have already been made and made with much more talent and class. David Ayer once wrote Training Day and yet here in Bright he mocks it and reminds us that he likes to do gritty cop dramas on auto-pilot whenever possible. The fact that Max Landis threw in a couple of fantasy elements and orcs means absolutely nothing to Ayer, because Bright is less worried about world-building and more focused on getting through its running time.

The conclusion of Bright is but a whimper in cinema as Netflix no-doubt cashes a rather large paycheck based on the star power of the talent that it has assembled.

Most have praised Netflix for its creative haven, allowing filmmakers from all corners to come together and collaborate and have complete freedom on their projects and generally I’m all for that. But Bright changes things and reminds us that maybe a little overhead isn’t a bad thing.

Maybe someone could have seen what Ayer and Landis were doing and could’ve stopped this entire train wreck from making it to the tiny screens? Or maybe Netflix just doesn’t care anymore?

I’m not sure how a movie like Bright is going to make its budget back, but I’m sure it’s going to, because Netflix has already ordered a sequel, which makes me cringe and want to cancel my subscription.

Bright is the kind of garbage made for those that care nothing of quality or originality. It piggybacks off of the ideas and concepts of others that actually care about storytelling. I’m sure some will praise its ability to merge together a gritty cop drama with fantasy, but those people will also ignore the fact that the end result looks like something an orc would probably shit out after a long day running from the cops.

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