Bright is a cross genre action/fantasy/cop drama that has a lot of potential. It was directed by David Ayer, who is notorious for writing and directing cop action/drama movies such as Training Day, SWAT and End of Watch. It stars Will Smith as a veteran cop and Joel Edgerton, his partner who is also the first Orc to ever be let on to the L.A. police force. Together they have to stay alive while being pursued by crooked cops, local gang members and a secret cult that are all after a magic wand the partners found while responding to a call.
The movie starts off like an excellent grounded cop drama similar to End of Watch or Training day, a genre David Ayer seems to excel in. Though there are fantasy elements in it, they start off as subtle. Imagine a the modern-day world but with Elves who seem to dominate the higher end of society, and Orcs who are looked down upon, just living in the world that we live in. The back story to the world is that over two thousand years ago there was a war in which Humans and Elves fought against Orcs who attempted to take over the world with the help of a mysterious dark lord. No one really seems to have forgiven the Orcs and they are still looked down upon and people have harsh prejudices towards them. The first 30 minutes of this movie are excellent. It is a perfect cross genre of modern-day cop movie with subtle fantasy and magic elements that make the world more interesting. However after that 30 minutes is when it starts to go down hill.
The movie goes from grounded modern world with slight fantasy elements to far over the top fantasy elements that completely change the tone of the movie. It feels like the first act is a completely different movie than the second and third act. Not just the drastic change in fantasy elements but also the acting and comedy. At first Will Smith and Joel Edgerton give a solid performance with light and grounded buddy cop humor. Then their acting changes with the tone, it felt like watching Will Smith’s acting go from him in Independence Day and Enemy of the state to his acting in Wild Wild West. The comedy follows suit as it goes from mild and well placed to forced and R rated campy. Joel Edgerton’s character goes from a rookie cop that people give a hard time to for his race. As he perseveres and tries to make a difference he also has a hard time fitting in because he doesn’t fully understand humans sarcasm or anything that is not said directly, but then turns into a campy dumb Orc in a police uniform.
If this movie stayed on course with the first act as and End of Watch type movie with some more buddy cop elements and the subtle fantasy elements this movie would have been great. It had an original idea and a cross genre I have never seen before with solid acting and great character drama. However the change in tone feels like you are watching two different movies. I honestly hope the movie gets a sequel or inspires more movies similar to it but with keeping the more grounded tone.
The Skin and Bones
A very original concept and great cross genre that I haven’t seen before. The first 30 minutes will have you completely engrossed with good characters, story and action if you are okay with the subtle fantasy elements. After the first act you will feel like you are watching a different movie that is not in a grounded reality but a highly fantasized world with poor campy comedy. The movie just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be and it brings it from a possibly awesome movie to a watchable movie where.