The best way to describe Netflix’s movie Bright would be a 90’s buddy cop film set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. It’s filled with shootouts, car chases, and fairytale creatures. Somehow it just works and is an entertaining thrill ride from start to finish.
In this alternate reality, the City of Los Angeles is divided between the races. Elves are the wealthy elite, humans are the middle class, and orcs are treated as second-class citizens. Caught in the middle of it all, police officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) is stuck with his rookie partner Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), the only orc on the force.
Things are not going well for Jakoby who must weather a hostile partner and a humiliating hazing from other officers. Conspirators also wait in the shadows looking for an opportunity to put an end to his career. The sour relationship between Ward and Jakoby changes after responding to a call where they find a magic wand. This weapon of mass destruction is desired by many and the two officers will have to fight through gangs, rogue police officers, and a faction of elves to protect it at any cost.
Ward and Jakoby are very entertaining throughout the film. In the beginning, you can really feel the tension between the two, which takes on a humorous tone as the action intensifies. Besides these two, most of the other characters are one-dimensional. The main antagonist Leilah (Noomi Rapace), while having plenty of screen time, does not offer much else. She’s only used to push the story forward and is a waste of what could have been a great villain.
There are plenty of action sequences with gunfights, car chases, and explosions. While human and orc combat styles give off a clumsy brutish feeling, the elves make it look like art. This is where Noomi Rapace’s character shines. Leilah and her associates are a fearless wrecking crew that can murder a room full of people in seconds.
The world of Bright takes mystical creatures and inserts them into modern times in a believable way. Fairies are a pesky nuisance, orcs hang out on street corners, centaurs work as riot policeman, and the elves are just beautiful.
Elves are the most detailed looking race in the movie, maybe because they look like humans from a distance. Just seeing the pointed ears, the hypnotic eyes, and the way they move, you can really tell a lot of effort was put into making them look authentic.
Bright is a very entertaining concept of action and fantasy all rolled into one. While the two main characters, Ward and Jakoby do a good job of keeping the interest of the viewer, the rest is just window dressing. The plot is slightly above average but the action makes up for it. The world is beautifully detailed and turns the City of Los Angeles into a modern-day fantasy realm. This is Netflix’s best original movie to date and is well worth watching.