Interlude: Bright (a review)

Told you there’d be interludes.

Anyway, Mrs. Hatboy and I finally got around to watching Bright, since it came out on the day we departed for the Land of Bad Internet.

For anyone unaware, Bright is a “Netflix Original” buddy cop movie starring Will Smith. The catch is, this is Los Angeles in a world of “nine races”, a sort of high fantasy world of orcs, elves, dragons, centaurs, wizards and fairies, projected forward into the present day. Smith plays a grumpy cop version of himself, and Joel Edgerton plays his orc partner – a “diversity hire” from a downtrodden and generally disliked race that sided with “the Dark Lord” 2,000 years ago and has basically been the bad guys ever since.


Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do / whatcha gonna do with 3D6 +2?

With a brilliant cast and an exciting new premise[1], it’s fair to say I was excited about this movie from the moment I first heard about it. I enjoy Will Smith movies regardless of their actual content or quality, and Bright promised a lot in both of these categories.

[1] Okay, it’s basically an exact copy of Alien Nation, only high fantasy instead of science fiction, and a “been that way all along” premise rather than a “this is a new development we’re all adjusting to” premise. But that’s not a bad thing.

Well, needless to say I loved it. I sat wide-eyed and grinning like a little kid and even though there were absolutely no surprises at any point along the way, I was impressed at every turn. Like The Expanse, the stuff going on under the surface of this movie told me there was a whole world to explore in related series and movies, even if they can’t gather this cast again. I love what Netflix is doing.

I won’t go too far into the details of the movie. I just thought it was spot on. Obviously there was an awful lot of very heavy-handed class warfare stuff going on, but that was also fun to see. The elves were the wealthy, callous socialites and the shallow, pretty parasites, the one percent, the string-pullers. Exactly as it would be in a high fantasy world projected into the modern era. The orcs were the powerful but divided downtrodden minority groups, and the humans were the aggressive, prejudiced, harried normals in the middle.

Like Valerian, I would happily have watched a six-hour documentary about the different races and their characteristics and history.

There was a lot going on behind the scenes in this movie and I’m glad they only touched on most of it. It left room for further developments in this world, and a sense of a larger story, but it didn’t over-crowd this simple cop drama. If they could Lethal Weapon this universe, I would be beyond delighted.


If Will Smith could say he’s getting too old for this shit, and Jakoby could say something about orcs living to the age of 400, that would just be a bonus.

The sub-plot (trying to avoid spoilers here) of the shooting of Smith’s character[2], the orc kid who got away and later turned up, might actually have been a little surplus to requirements – especially since it didn’t really provide a real plot point or escape hatch. The kid was pushed aside and the shit still went down. Maybe it could have told a more powerful story if they’d been allowed to live as a result of Jakoby’s act, and then some other group had escalated matters, showing Smith’s character that orcs weren’t all evil after all. Or maybe that would have been to cheesy (*too cheesy; but left out of respect for Mr. BRKN finally spotting a spelling error –Ed). I did like that the story concluded with a few prejudices still intact.

[2] This happens in the first 30 seconds of the movie so not really a spoiler, you know a buddy cop movie’s grumpy-cop character has to have a haunted past.

All in all, a lovely movie that I enjoyed greatly. I may be an exceptionally targeted and uncritical audience member, but Netflix is going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I want to give this one a Bad Boys 2 out of a possible Bad Boys.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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20 Responses to Interlude: Bright (a review)

  1. stchucky says:

    Urban fantasy, duh. Of course there’s a genre for this stuff.

  2. brknwntr says:

    I also really enjoyed it.

    *too cheesy

  3. stchucky says:

    If you check the Wikipedia page, you’ll see that not only has a sequel been confirmed (yay!) pending Netflix’s collapse into debt (oh no!), but critics panned this movie violently. Now, I’ve explained many times how utterly worthless a waste of oxygen I consider film critics, so there’s that. In this case, however, I feel quite confident in saying that a lot of these canings will have come from an agenda: specifically the concern that streaming services like Netflix are going to destroy the traditional film industry.

    And they’re probably not wrong about that.

    They’re wrong about this movie though. This is obviously opinion, not fact … but they’re wrong.

  4. brknwntr says:

    Yeah, I got mildly worried cause EVERYTHING I saw talked about how much it sucked and was going to sink Netflix. But it was brilliant.

    • stchucky says:

      Concur. Obviously. I’m beginning to feel like if certain critics and sites pan a movie, I’m definitely going to love it.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        As you know, I’ve found quite the opposite. Alas, I will steer clear of this one. Too much else to watch anyway. Black Mirror is just brilliant. Causing us to think in ways we MUST THINK soon or else we’re going to fuck up this whole living thing.

        So I do agree that Netflix is doing awesome and that’s great. But the criticisms of this movie, even the ones you put in here that weren’t really written as criticisms, turned me off.

        It also turns out I had a Will Smith limit and I’ve reached it. For all time. LOL The Guff is full again. Good luck with that misused reference unless you also enjoyed that old Demi Moore[1] movie.

        [1] A little hint

      • stchucky says:

        Quite understandable decision.

        You know the weirdest thing about Will Smith in this movie? He had a moustache. And that made me notice that he appears to always have had a moustache. I think this was the movie he first grew a moustache, and it turned out to grow backwards in time so he always had it. I guess we’ll know for sure when the next Will Smith movie comes out and he hasn’t got a moustache.

        Well … I’ll know. You won’t, because you’ll refuse to watch it.

        But I’ll tell you. So don’t worry.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Quite understandable decision.”

        Thanks. I sometimes struggle with coherence, but it’s good to know I achieved it this time.

        “You know the weirdest thing about Will Smith in this movie? He had a moustache. And that made me notice that he appears to always have had a moustache. I think this was the movie he first grew a moustache, and it turned out to grow backwards in time so he always had it. I guess we’ll know for sure when the next Will Smith movie comes out and he hasn’t got a moustache.”

        LOL sounds like a worthy quest. I’d say “don’t hold your breath” but this is Will Smith, he’ll have another movie before you even turn blue in the face….

        “Well … I’ll know. You won’t, because you’ll refuse to watch it.”

        Uhm, you do know there are these things called “Trailers”? And, “movie reviews” which happen to feature said trailers even if I wouldn’t watch a full trailer?

        “But I’ll tell you. So don’t worry.”

        I’m only worried you made a promise you’ll forget to keep. I’ve got my eye on you, Focker.

      • stchucky says:

        Even weirder, he really doesn’t seem to make more than one or two movies a year according to IMDB. And his next slated movies are Bright 2 and a bunch of Bad Boys movies. And … Aladdin? Hoo boy.

      • Wow so I guess really don’t hold your breath! My bad!

      • stchucky says:

        I just started watching Black Mirror on Netflix during my commute. So it seems like basically a reimagining of The Twilight Zone, which somewhat more realistic near-future hypotheticals. Really, really interesting. I’m enjoying it a lot.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Glad you’re enjoying it and I agree with your assessment. What I would have said if you sounded iffy, which I will still say anyway, is that it keeps getting better and even more on point. Truly presenting things we MUST think about NOW or else. In particular the first and second of the new season…4, I think. The Callister one and the one after that. Awesome stuff.

      • stchucky says:

        Yeah, that’s what I heard, it was part of what swung me to add it to my list. Usually if people are talking about a show getting “better and better” by season 4, it’s worth watching.

  5. I prefer to believe that review, comedy though it was XD

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