Heya geeks, Big Eyes here!
So this was going to be a “Paddington 2” review. However: I sat down to watch the original “Paddington”, but I got about halfway through the movie before canceling my press screening for the sequel. Good god, I don’t know how in the world the original “Paddington” got such great reviews! The story was entirely too surreal and stupid to be charming; I’m not going to go into detail about that because this isn’t a “Paddington” review! So instead, let’s talk about the somewhat controversial “BRIGHT”!
The film takes place in a world which is built up much like Shadowrun. Shadowrun is a science fantasy tabletop game which is set in a near-futuristic world where cybernetics and magic and fantasy creatures (orcs, elves, centaurs, faeries, dwarves) co-exist. “BRIGHT” is pretty much that, minus the near-future part. Shadowrun was actually name-dropped in the goofy “orc audition videos” announcing “Bright 2” just a few days ago.
“BRIGHT” is strongly a social commentary on status, racism, and current events. Orcs basically represent the black community, and elves are the one percent. Everything else I suppose is just in the middle or uncategorized. We actually see a centaur at one point in a police uniform with armor on his legs. That I found amusing but wished to see more creatures like that and how they fit into this world.
The story centers around a police officer named Ward (Will Smith) that is reluctantly partnered up with the world’s first orc police officer Jakoby (Joel Edgarton). Ward is dealing with PTSD symptoms after he was shot by another orc and blames it entirely on Jakoby’s perceived incompetence. Ward is a royal asshole to Jakoby and his attempts to cultivate some sort of positive relationship between them, that is until a magic wand gets thrown into the mix. A wand in the world of “BRIGHT” is a very dangerous weapon that few can handle without EXPLODING. When anyone finds out the wand exists, it seems to have an effect on people similar to a Ring of Power. Everyone wants it and goes practically insane to get use of it.
The effects they have for the wand itself are really cool. The vibrational humming sound emitted from it, the way the wand seems to warp space around it, and how light drips with power like spilling lava-- you get a real feel for just how powerful and dangerous it is.
Joel Edgarton does a great performance as the delightfully socially awkward Jakoby. As an orc who was raised by humans and hated on by his own kind, you really believe that he feels that he doesn’t have a place in the world, so tries to take fate into his own hands by becoming a police officer to make it a better place for all. This naive optimism seems uncharacteristic of an orc, as orcs are normally portrayed as dumb brutes in the movies. He is definitely different from other orcs in “BRIGHT”, being a police officer when you see any others they are either gangsters or just intimidating in some other way, while Jakoby is quiet, awkward, and kind.
Believe it or not, Will Smith’s character, Ward, was actually the more unlikeable one in this flick, but that is what his character is supposed to be. A guy who has been hardened by his time on the force, when he used to be more like Jakoby in his youth. Smith did a good performance, as I had not expected anything less of him. Smith gets a lot of flack these days because… I don’t know, not every film he is in is a golden turd, but that’s just realistic. Not every movie can be perfection, but he will do a great job acting because he is a great actor!
I enjoyed this movie, even though my attention started to fade in and out once shit started to hit the fan plot-wise. This happened because development at times was disjointed, and there were some silly plot devices such as when the villains disrupted the police radio communications. These things are probably the main reason why most critics weren’t too fond of this film.
I definitely want to see more of the world of “BRIGHT” and how things fit into it, and more lore. A prophecy was mentioned, as well as a massive war of the past. Those things were mentioned as much as they needed to be to move the story forward, but I think that as more sequels come out and we explore more into this world that it will make the original “BRIGHT” even better. Currently, only one sequel has been officially announced, but we’ll see if they try to grow a whole universe around it, as it seems to be the trend these days with movies. You know what though? Based on “BRIGHT” alone, I’m okay with it. We’ll see where it takes us.
If you’re in it for a buddy cop movie set inside of a fantasy version of the modern world, I definitely recommend checking out “BRIGHT”. Streaming on Netflix now!
Thanks for reading, folks!