I don’t know about you but since Netflix showed the trailer of Bright months ago, I was so fucking excited. Orcs and elves and magic…my RPG-loving self-was positively giddy with excitement. Little did I know what was in store. There are some spoilers ahead and be aware, this movie is a lot heavier than you’d expect as it delves into the issue of racial discrimination.
Bright was written by Max Landis and directed by David Ayer and is available to stream on Netflix.
The movie follows Officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Officer Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). Ward is a human that works for the LAPD working the streets of the Orc slums and the Elf district and Jakoby is his new partner, much to Ward’s chagrin. Jakoby is the very first Orc police officer….ever. Two thousand years earlier, there was a war involving orcs, elves, and humans. The consequence of that war is an extremely strained relationship between orcs and elves and orcs and humans.
It is truly evident that the lives of the orcs are not cared about with the use of excessive force and violence, shooting by officers and complete disdain from the elves. It is a direct reflection on what is going on in our society. Judgment and violence toward specific groups while those not involved turning a blind eye, like that’s just the way it is.
The strange part about all of this, the heavy social commentary only shows up in the beginning. Once the movie gets going, it mostly disappears, never to take center stage again with only a slight aftertaste of the problems that it causes.
In this world, magic is illegal. There is a special FBI task force just for the use of magic with agents Kandomere (Edgar Ramirez) and Montehugh (Happy Anderson) trying to catch up and yet failing to do so. As a duo of complete opposites, these two balance each other out nicely.
The cops down at the station are horribly racist and Officer Pollard (Ike Barinholtz) openly wants to kill Jakoby for being an Orc. It’s a scary realistic scenario and Jakoby handles it like a champ. Ever the sweet, softhearted orc, he is not blooded, meaning he had his tusks filed down and is not recognized by any Orc group. He is seen as a disgrace among orcs for joining the police force and is ostracized by his fellow officers, including Ward who blames him for being shot by an Orc, a couple years prior and let the culprit get away.
One day, a call comes in about the possible use of magic and Ward and Jakoby check it out. They find a bloodbath of magic users and a wand. Wands are rare and can only be held by a Bright, someone normally of the elf race who can hold wands and perform magic. It is possible for other races to be Brights but it is rare and if a non-Bright holds a wand, it will cause them to explode killing them and those around them.
When the other officers see a wand, they plan to steal it and use it, including Sergeant Ching (Margaret Cho). The plan is to use it to kill Jakoby and fix their lives. They try to get Ward in on it by telling him that Jakoby let the orc that shot him go on purpose. Ward heads outside to confront Jakoby, only to realize that the other offices plan to kill him as well.
Ward kills all of the officers, grabs the wand and an elf girl named Tikka (Lucy Fry) they find hiding in the building that only speaks elvish and word travels that a wand is in the neighborhood. Cue the wild chase as they try and save the world from Infernals that want to wake the being that started the war 2,000 years earlier and everyone else who wants the wand for themselves.
This movie was phenomenal (despite critics calling it the worst of the year). My only complaint is just how many loose ends they left, but thankfully, according to Entertainment Weekly, Netflix is paying more attention to the fans and less to the critics. A sequel is already in the works, bringing back Smith and Edgerton as the same characters, and Ayer as writer and director while Max Landis will not be returning.
The chemistry between Smith and Edgerton was wonderful and even though the movie is filled with action and racial tension, it was hilarious at times. Jakoby is endearing and sweet and Ward is the jaded version of what happens when people see too much shit in their lives. His blatant dislike toward Jakoby, in the beginning, is heartbreaking and you are rooting for Nick the whole time.
Netflix set a very high bar with this one. Not only was the main cast wonderful, but the Infernals played by Noomi Rapace, Veronica Ngo, and Alex Meraz were gorgeous and deadly.
This movie was beautiful. The lighting, the fighting, the magic and the makeup was gorgeous. This is one of those things that got a lot of hype on Netflix but truly lived up to the excitement behind it. I would recommend this movie 100x over.