What’s worse than being flat, derivative and uninspired? Being all those things, showing a tiny bit of promise in spite of them, and then throwing the interesting parts away in search of a flashy climax and tidy resolution. That’s Bright.
The concept is sound – what if there were Elves and Orcs and magic in our world? It’s not a new idea and that’s fine. The hodgepodge of fantasy elements forming the basis of this world are standard fare as well, straight out of Tolkien or World of Warcraft. Orcs are brutes with sharp teeth, Elves are beautiful and rich, magic wands are super powerful but not everyone can use them. The script, complete with minority and 1% allegories, practically writes itself.
The problem is, it feels like no extra effort was put in to creating Bright. Like, at all. Like, I’m pretty sure Will Smith was quoting himself from Men in Black every time he let a sarcastic quip fly. Not incidentally, well over 90% of his lines in Bright are sarcastic quips. Either stop phoning it in or stop being in movies, please.
Joel Edgerton doesn’t phone it in like Smith but he is totally unrecognizable and totally wasted here as the sensitive Orc sidekick. He had no chance of saving this mess. Full disclosure: this is a recurring exchange between Jay and me:
Jay: We should go see [small indie movie]. Joel Edgerton is in it.
Me: Who’s Joel Edgerton again?
Jay: The guy from [slightly older small indie movie that we saw a few months prior].
Me: That was Joel Edgerton?
Jay: We literally just had this conversation when you made me watch the Star Wars prequels.
Me: JOEL EDGERTON IS IN STAR WARS?
Jay: I hate you.
It happened again in Bright only I swear, this time it was not my fault. It was David Ayer’s, and Bright is proof that we should have cut Ayer off long before Suicide Squad. Thanks for writing Training Day, really, but that goodwill was used up long ago. A glimmer of promise and then an avalanche of mediocrity and disappointment – just like Bright.