| 03.18.2018

Jaded cops — Shining a light on why “Bright” was poorly received


In recent years, Netflix has become known for their original content. This list includes “House of Cards,” “13 Reasons Why,” “Marvel’s Daredevil” and many more.

Their original movies have yet to achieve the same level of success as their shows.

With the release of “Bright” late last year, nothing has changed.

Don’t misunderstand. “Bright” didn’t achieve booming success, but I believe that it deserves more credit than it receives.

We live in a movie watching society that has been blessed with greatness.

Films like “Lord of the Rings,” “The Godfather,” “Schindler’s List” and others have set the stage for what it means to achieve cinematic greatness.

Science Fiction and Fantasy have truly been able to shine from the 2000s onward. With the development of new editing technology, it’s possible to create fantastical yet lifelike films such as “Avatar” and the “Harry Potter” series.

With this technology comes a raising of the bar for what makes a great movie.

While this is not inherently bad, it means that critics are harsher and good films may fall to the wayside.

That is what I believe happened to “Bright.”

Netflix’s original movie seemed like a recipe for success, starring Will Smith, a seasoned and talented actor, as a jaded cop in an alternate reality Los Angeles.

Smith is partnered up with the first orc police officer against his will. What follows is an action-filled chase combining elves, magic and shootouts.

Smith and his orc partner must race against murderous elves and inner-city gangs to protect a young elf bright and her wand from falling into the wrong hands.

“Bright” received a whopping 27 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.

I won’t champion “Bright” as a diamond in the rough, but I will say that it achieves what it set out to do and sets up a possibly rich and extensive world.

As mentioned earlier, we are in an age of great fantasy. With descriptors like elves, orcs and magic being thrown around, there comes a certain expectation — epic battles, deep lore and complex characters to name a few.

“Bright” delivers none of that, which is fine because it shouldn’t be a requirement. It presents itself as a gritty cop movie with fantasy elements.

With thinly veiled references to real world race relations and all too realistic bureaucratic corruption, one can’t help but sympathize with Nick the orc and Ward, Smith’s character.

What it does deliver is a faithful look at strained relationships.

Watching Ward insult and belittle Nick while the other tries his hardest to maintain some level of professionalism draws the audience in.

They want Nick to give in and lash out, to set Ward straight about the hardships of being an honest orc.

He doesn’t, and the audience loves him for it. He lets his integrity shine through and win over Ward.

Juxtaposition between gang-filled ghettos and a sleek “Elf-town” shows some of the conflict in this world’s society.

One aspect that truly shines is the practical effects.

The intricate and unique orc makeup adds much needed depth to the movie.

The differing patterns, colors and tusks flesh out a budding orc culture that will hopefully see more light in the coming sequel.

While the plot is thin and not revolutionary, “Bright” brings together tangible characters and well-done practical effects to create a good foundation for a continuing series.

Griffen Winget can be reached arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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