Review: ‘Bright’ Seamlessly Intertwines A Socially Conscious Message With The Supernatural
Bright is truly one of the most impressive original films from Netflix to be released in 2017. It really feels like it was meant to hit the big screen first. Everything from the film’s cinematography and special effects leaves you with the same excitement as when Men In Black was first released. In the film, Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and his Orc officer partner Nick Jacoby (Joel Edgerton) star as police partners with a lot to learn from each other.
Directed by David Ayer, Bright presents an extraterrestrial world in Los Angeles where humans, Orcs and rich cookie cutter Elves, and Fairies coexist in not so good harmony. Everyone hates Orcs, but seem to tolerate Elves, who dominate a secluded area of the city reminiscent to posh neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Interestingly enough, all the Elves here are white, while Orcs all look like scary mutants clad in gangster clothing.
Ward, a black cop, who lives in a regular working class pre-dominantly African-American neighborhood isn’t keen on riding around with Jacoby. Like everyone else, Orcs aren’t to his liking much, and it doesn’t help that Jacoby is the first Orc cop ever to be hired by the LAPD. We witness fellow officers consistently trying to coax Ward into sabotaging Jacoby out of the police department. There’s an ingrained notion of prejudice and racism embedded in them against Orcs. The hatred undeniably mirrors the racial issues in America — particularly against African-Americans.
Bright’s attempt at highlighting these issues may seem coy, but they get the point across. For instance, when Ward is tasked by his wife to kill a fairy outside of their home he says, “Fairy lives don’t matter today,” as he attempts to kill it. In that moment, the first thing that came to my mind is the Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter argument. Through a mélange of action packed, sci-fi infused scenes fill the movie’s storyline, there’s heavy police brutality and race issues intertwined in the story.
The film’s casting is also an interesting one, comedian Margaret Cho, plays a Korean-American LAPD Chief Commander. At first glance, it was surprising, but necessary. Yes, let’s give normal roles to people of color, not token stereotypical ones. You can spend all day deciphering all the social-political statements Bright makes, but Ayer still reminds you it’s still a sci-fi action movie. As for the plot, it’s centered around protecting an Elf named Tikka (Lucy Fry) who escaped from a constricted underworld where she was ostracized from earth. She’s the bearer of a magic wand, and is running away from an evil Elf named Leilah (Noomi Rapace) who wants the wand. Ward and Jacoby come to her aid, while they simultaneously fight off a gang of Cholos ran by a wheel chair ridden leader named Poison.
In the end, when Ward and Jacoby save Tikka, and return to their daily lives it makes you wonder what will happen next in society for the Orcs, but most importantly, what will their next adventure look like?