KcMsterpce posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 24 days ago

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Directed by: David Ayer
Written by: Max Landis
Cast: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Ike Barinholtz, Edgar Ramirez
Studio:
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Thriller
Official Site:
Plot: Orcs, elves and other fantastical creatures roam an alternate version of earth. The first orc to be a police officer is partnered up with Will Smith, and prejudice ensues. Meanwhile, a magic wand holds great magical power, leading to heightened tensions between the two cops, and the rest of L.A. in pursuit of it.

Review:

The short review: Not bad. It's alright as a buddy cop movie. Nowhere near perfect, but it's "serviceable".
Now, for a longer review:

I feel that the deep-rooted history of orcs on earth, a large battle thousands of years past, and even more than just orcs roaming the earth hint at something more fantastical than what the "buddy cop movie" theme was able to approach. That's alright with me; they decided to just stick with focusing on the two cops, not the "epic fantasy".
Some of the reasoning behind not expanding that fantasy element is probably due to budget constraints. Also, it is a backdrop for a history that is hinted at, to provide exposition to the audience. The way the characters discussed the history is actually pretty good. I never felt like they were forcing exposition in ways that made me think "There is no reason these people would say this. It is just a cheap ploy to tell the audience what is happening."
I appreciate the gradual buildup to more fantasy elements, such as starting with the faery and eventually revealing that dragons exist. That's cool, I guess. But with the idea of there being a long, long history to tell that leads up to the first orc police officer, BRIGHT doesn't have the storied depth that they were hinting at. For example, becoming a "blood orc" turned out to be pretty stupid. I also think that there would have been more integration of human/orc/elf/whatever society more than the extreme segregation and class distinction of L.A. as presented in the movie. It's a very elementary concept, to make elves "rich and beautiful", orcs "poor and ghetto", and humans less separated in a community compared to our own reality.
The magic wand was ultimately a MacGuffin, with very few rules that explain its power in a way that satisfies me. I must think that humans believe the wand can to "anything, anytime" and they have it wrong. Yes, it contains magic, but it won't retcon your entire life (or something). Basic Concept: it is a powerful device that can be used to wreak havoc on the world. Got it.
Also, it was intended to be a story about prejudice, and how humans hate orcs. The separation of classes based on race are about as in-depth as what you'd find in WHITE MAN'S BURDEN. What I must assume is that there were never race issues with human beings, such as a civil rights movement in the United States, or even the concept of women not having equal rights. There was no allusion to anything like that being a problem in the movie's history, so I can only think that the racism angle was a first in the police force.
In many ways, it's like ALIEN NATION. My complaints with that movie are fewer, because it takes the whole buddy cop idea as an allegory to racism/prejudice with a race of creatures that haven't been on earth for thousands and thousands of years.

BRIGHT is fine as a fluff piece. I was fine with the adventure, the drama was serviceable. Everything about it was "fine" and didn't piss me off. I just think there was more ambition than the movie could handle - both as a basic "buddy cop" movie, and with budget constraints, it couldn't fulfill potential desires to expand the world by better integrating the deep-rooted history in the environment, technology and so on.
So... I'm OK with the movie. It's not bad. But not great, either.

Grade: C

Reviewed 26 December, 2017

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