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Netflix’s ‘Bright’ refuses to take any real risks (Review)

December 21, 2017
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Fans of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have probably all wished at some point that they could arise one morning and walk amongst magical creatures. These mystical beings might make our world more enticing and adventurous or at the very least break up the daily monotony that seems to bog us all down. With his new film Bright, Suicide Squad director David Ayer unveils a futuristic graffiti laced Los Angeles where Orcs, Fairies, Elves, and Centaurs live and thrive amongst human beings.

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton star as LAPD Officers Daryl Ward and a Deputy Nick Jakoby– a human and diversity hire Orc respectively, who are reluctantly bound together as partners on the force. With just five years until he receives his pension, a weary Ward is clinging to his job and his life so that he might be able to provide a future for his family. However, retiring unscathed might be more difficult than he expected. In this world, racism looks different. Humans rank well below the glamorous Elves who have taken over the posh districts of the city. In contrast to Ward, Jakoby adores his position on the force, though he’s ostracized by other Orcs who turn their nose down at him for betraying their race. Things are also difficult for him on the job where officers berate, abuse, and distrust him. With glimpses of vicious Fairies, magic wands and the upper echelon of the Elf communities, Bright sets the scene for a nuanced and detailed LA that should be right out of a fairy tale. However, things don’t stay quite so magical.

Out on the beat one day, Ward and Jakoby stumble across Tikka (Lucy Fry), a young Elf with powers (called a Bright) in possession of a coveted magic wand. On their quest to get Tikka and the wand to safety, Ward and Jakoby must evade a diabolical Elf named Leilah, a witch who seeks the power of the wand for herself. The men are also up against their fellow police officers, Orcs, and LA gangsters who are also desperate for the potent artifact. This is where the storyline stops being riveting and fresh. Ayer who wrote the screenplay for the phenomenal Denzel Washington led Training Day, takes a significant trope from the older film –one so easily recognizable that it was almost comical to watch again, sixteen years later in Bright.

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