Possible spoilers ahead!
Los Angeles police officer Darryl Ward (Will Smith), lives in a world where humans and mythical creatures like Orcs, Elves, and Fairies, and other races, have coexisted for thousands of years. Because he’s a seasoned cop, Ward finds himself partnered with rookie cop Nick Jacoby (Joel Edgerton) – who also happens to be the world’s first Orc police officer.
The majority of Ward’s precinct doesn’t like the newcomer, and would prefer to see Jacoby kicked out simply because he’s an Orc. Ward has some trust issues with Jacoby too, after the rookie makes a mistake that gets Ward shot on the job.
But as they try to work things out, a routine night patrol quickly goes south when the pair stumble upon the gruesome crime scene. There, Ward and Jacoby discover a magic wand – an ancient artifact that has fallen into legend and can only be wielded by individuals known as Brights. If anyone else picks up a wand, it will explode in their hands. The cops also discover a mysterious elf named Tikka (Lucy Fry).
Soon, the three find themselves on the run from dirty cops and gangs (both human and not), who want the magic wand for themselves. But their most dangerous pursuer is an elf named Leilah (Noomi Rapace), who wants to use the wand for her own sinister purposes.
“Bright” is a weird combo of a buddy cop comedy, sci-fi, drama, and horror. This is one strange movie that tries to be a little bit of everything, but it’s also much better than I had expected. This movie had things that I didn’t see coming: it had heart, humor, and made me want to see more of this strange and wonderful world.
Will Smith and Joel Edgerton do their best to elevate the material as the film attempts to tackle subjects like racism and police brutality but with a fantasy twist. As the viewer you think you got this two guys figured out, but they kept surprising as their situation worsened but their relationship improved.
Smith delivers his trademark wise-cracking persona, but he also delivers a dramatic presence to the film. I liked that they gave his character a back story with a wife and young daughter, becaise both of them are always on his mind. Whatever decisions officer Ward makes, he makes them because he only wants the best for his family.
However, Jacoby’s back story isn’t as fleshed out as Wards. Oh, we get a few lines about how Jacoby is originally from Miami, and how Orcs are brought up. But we don’t get to see where he lives, or if he has a family of his own. But we do get to see him adjusting to everyday human life, so that was a plus. And by the end of the movie I really liked Jacoby.
Lucy Fry as Tikka has little dialogue, and is usually not in good health, but the connection that she forms with Ward and Jacoby was emotional, making some of her later actions more impactful.
Meanwhile, Rapace as the villainous Leilah didn’t get much to do. She certainly looks evil, but I was surprised someone with her talents didn’t get a more to do. Regardless, Rapace once again shows she can pull off any type of role she is given.
In the end, “Bright” is one of those movies that you’ll either love or hate. The finished product has a few script problems here and there, nothing that isn’t fixable. Even so, this film gave me more than I bargained for, because this world has a huge amount of potential to tell other stories about all kinds of beings. With a few tweaks, the recently announced sequel should be spectacular.
“Bright” final score: B-