‘Bright’: Wasted Chances & Disappointing Projects

People don’t get upset when a movie is just bad. It’s the disappointment, the true shatter of expectations, the desolation of hopes and dreams, that actually makes us mad at films and creators.

John Smith is having a leisure Sunday afternoon. The kids are with the mother-in-law, the wife is Christmas shopping, and John Smith feels unusually relaxed this afternoon. ‘I’ll stream myself a film,’ he thinks as he is types netflix.com in the search bar.

‘Wow!’ he exclaims, ”Bright’ is out! I’ve been waiting for this movie for such a long time!’ John Smith has been intrigued by the general premise of ‘Bright’ ever since the announcement came out. John Smith can’t wait to see this, he is excited to finally see some real originality come out of Hollywood!

He microwaves some popcorn and starts the film. ‘Awesome!’, he thinks.

117 minutes later John Smith is left shattered and furious. He is mad at David Ayer for ruining yet another project he was excited about, he is mad at ‘Bright’, and he is mad at himself for letting his guard down and allowing such pain in his life.

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‘Bright’ is specific in the sense that it a big pile of way too much stuff, while simultaneously continuously not being enough. The world this fantasy flick is set up in is brilliant… in someone’s mind. The way it’s presented on screen, however, remains flat and overly complicated. It is surely not hard to understand the world, but the continuous introduction of new elements and characters takes a lot out of the story and thus stops the viewer from any sort of emotional investment. Is it the magic I had to focus on? The races? The integration with the modern world? The action scenes, the different specifications of every class? It is possible, even probable, to understand it all, but surely impossible to think it through, accept it, and enter it.

Similarly to ‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Bright’ is simply not enough. The action scenes are flat, the main plotline is unoriginal, and the ‘surprises’ and ‘plot-twists’ are obvious and uneventful. The plot moves forward ridiculously at times and the viewer is left thinking ‘How did we get from there to here?’ ‘Bright’ is based on a genius idea and it’s something I personally have wanted to see on screen for more than a decade, but the film’s main plotline specifically is extremely bland and boring. Even cheesy at times. The dialogue is simple and predictable and thus the whole picture remains disappointingly unexciting.

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It would be very easy to point blame at David Ayer. Surely, this film functions very similarly to ‘Suicide Squad’ and he must take blame in that, but it’s actually the writing that is extremely illogical and ordinary. David Ayer puts his simple direction on an even more simple script and thus makes a film that is something we’ve seen many times before.

The main problem with ‘Bright’ is that is it tonally insufficient and unaware. We are left wondering what it was that we just watched. Narrowing it down, this is what ‘Bright’ is:

  • 40% fantastic adventure flick for a leisure Sunday (a.k.a. ‘Star Wars’)
  • 30% deep dramatic film that incorporates fantasy in the story (a.k.a. ‘Blade Runner 2049’)
  • 10% comedy (a.k.a. ‘The Hangover’)
  • 10% magic (a.k.a. ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’)
  • 10% a new world (a.k.a. ‘Journey to the Center of the World’)

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A feature picture cannot be compiled of all things mentioned above and still function adequately. I was left wondering, numerous times, might I add, about what it is I was watching. Two days later, I still wonder; was it a magic adventure flick? Or a drama? A comedy? Tonally, the film suffers greatly. Granted, much of that surely comes from the script and the way this world was first introduced on paper, but David Ayer did screw it up with this one once again. ‘Bright’ becomes a paradox: a film that strives to be a lot, a film that has a lot, a film that is a compilation of numerous genres and tones, but a film that ultimately stays proficiently rationed and hurtfully bland.

On a technical level…

By the way, David Eyer screws up with cinematography, editing, and music as well. The shots and editing are awkward in many cases and serve no purpose whatsoever, but to create a sense of ‘creative originality’. Music is a huge factor in the tonal unawareness discussed above. The soundtrack consists of many songs and melodies that are individually amazing, but as a whole definitely don’t function well. In many cases, the music is supposed to create a sense of drama, while in others it’s supposed to make us feel as if we are watching an adventure flick. Different genres of music tend to provoke different feelings in the viewer and so they must be mixed very carefully in a feature picture; this is something ‘Bright’ fails to achieve. Who thinks combining Bastille and Steve Aoki is a good idea…

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Character-wise, one shouldn’t say that ‘Bright’ disappoints; the film, as a whole, manages to sufficiently present the two main characters, Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). That is achieved through brilliant acting from Joel Edgerton and better-than-most acting from Will Smith. However, the way the characters are written is, once again, not enough; what we get is still ‘just fine’ and one will surely get to know and enjoy the characters, but it should’ve and could’ve been more. Once again, don’t get this wrong: it’s not bad, per say, and I am in no way disappointed by the two main characters; there is, however, a lot of space for obvious improvement and it could’ve been even better.

Unfortunately, this certainly doesn’t apply to all characters. Mostly every single secondary or tertiary character is not really a character, but rather are a plot-device. There is no depth to them, no specific characterization, and no motivation but that which is on the surface and introduced to us through obvious exposition. The world in ‘Bright’ is so interesting in original and it would have been great to present it more through its ordinary people. Some of the characters make absolutely no sense with their actions and others have nothing else to them but basic motivations. ‘Bright’ is ultimately composed of a bunch of CGI-ed silhouettes.

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Joel Edgerton is surely the best part of this movie. I wasn’t very familiar with the actor’s previous work, so I was pleasantly surprised with what he did in this production. He manages to present many layers of the character (such layers that surely come from himself and not the scrips, which is even more impressive) and perfectly embodies the orc persona. Will Smith is good. He’s definitely been better, but there isn’t much material to work with, so he mustn’t take the blame. He does the best he could with what he had. Joel Edgerton is impressive because he takes it a step further and develops the character himself.

Everyone else is bland. Simple. Ordinary. It’s not awful acting, but it’s not good acting as well. The bad writing is a huge factor in this, but the actors cannot stay blameless. They make the film slow and the story barely moves forward.

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I’m not going to lie, I’m mad. This could have been an amazing production; the general premise is extremely interesting and a great film could’ve come out of this. However, the incoherent writing and unorganized direction make ‘Bright’ a true disappointment. This story would’ve made a fantastic TV series if the right writers and director had come along. Now, however, we are left disappointed and angry because of yet another wasted opportunity. I guess this is what Hollywood is slowly starting to represent… wasted opportunities and disappointing projects.

  • Plot: 2/4
  • Characters: 2.25/3.5
  • Directing: 1.5/3.5
  • Technical parts: 1.25/3
  • Acting: 3.25/4
  • Does it know what it is?: 0/1
  • Did I overall like it?: 0/1
Total: 5.2/10


Did you see ‘Bright’? Do you agree with me? Or did you like it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE this article if you enjoyed it and also to SUBSCRIBE to Our Movie Life!

As always, thank you so much for reading,

Mickey Angelov

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