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Bright Review Roundup: What Critics Are Saying About The Big-Budget Netflix Original Film

By Adrian Fuentes | Dec 21, 2017 07:13 AM EST

David Ayer's Bright is Netflix's latest venture into original films, led by Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, and Noomi Rapace. The story takes place in an alternate present where humans and fantasy creatures — Orcs, Fairies, and Elves, among others — live together in the same society.

Human officer Daryl Ward, played by Smith, and Orc rookie officer Nick Jakoby, played by Edgerton, discover a powerful weapon believed to have been destroyed. Chaos ensues; an evil darkness begins to loom like a specter, potentially altering their lives, and ultimately, their world.

Bright is Ayer's latest film after Suicide Squad, which critics severely hated. So, what are these folks saying about Bright now? Well, as early reviews suggest, it seems it may be another misstep.

Below are excerpts from critic reviews for Bright:

Los Angeles Times: "Bright is only interesting for how confused it appears to be in regard to its potential audience. Screenwriter Max Landis and director David Ayer have taken a premise that could've worked reasonably well as a family-friendly television series — mismatched buddy cops busting criminals in a fantastical version of Los Angeles — and have turned it into a violent, vulgar two-hour movie, weighed down by heavy mythology.

The Wrap: "There is an interesting story in here somewhere, one that brings together reality and fantasy, explores the juxtaposition of downtown skyscrapers and swooping dragons and illuminates the daily practicalities of neighbors with magic powers or unusual abilities.

"But Bright takes a bunch of gobbledygook from The Lord of the Rings, liquefies it in a blender and pours it liberally over the same 'corrupt cop comes to a moral crossroads' blueprint that Ayer has been copying since Training Day."

IndieWire: "There's boring, there's bad, and then there's Bright, a movie so profoundly awful that Republicans will probably try to pass it into law over Christmas break."

"Potentially a dark harbinger of things to come, Bright isn't only the worst film of 2017, it could be responsible for many of the worst films of 2018 and beyond."

The Hollywood Reporter: "Stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton play it mostly straight here, doing their part to sell the dopey premise, but the screenplay offers viewers little reward for our own suspension of disbelief. Rumored to be the most expensive Netflix original film to date, the pic may well attract eyeballs on the streaming outlet."

The Verge: "Bright is clearly intended to set up a sprawling, alternative world that could be revisited in sequel after sequel, but that world's mythology is downright confusing. The title describes people who can wield magic wands, but the hows and whys of that are never clearly explained."

Forbes: "Congratulations, Netflix! You can make a visually grotesque, dreadfully dull and hopelessly convoluted would-be franchise action movie just as well as the stereotypical Hollywood machine!"

The Playlist: "A mythic, fairytale mess — that kind of makes no fuc**** sense — that should come with a glossary of terms or a graphic novel to unmuddle itself, but certainly doesn't, mostly explained in nearly impenetrable, indecipherable expository babble about legendary battles fought centuries ago..." wrote The Playlist in describing the film's premise.

"Bright tries to create a unique and dynamic world with the juxtaposition of harsh police life, crime and modern life contrasted with this imaginary magical realm, but it's contrived, unconvincing and most of all calamitously preposterous."

Vanity Fair: There is a whiff of an interesting idea in [Bright], but it is buried in tedious scenes lacking clear direction, endless generic (and poorly lit) shoot-outs, and cringeworthy sequences of allegedly witty banter. This movie is an absolute wreck — which is unfortunate, as it is also something of a big debut for Netflix's original-films shingle.

The Guardian: "Having established a world so rich in potential and so full of resonance, Bright backs off from exploring its finer points, or those of its characters," wrote The Guardian.

"I'd have been happy to ride around with these cops on a day where nothing much happened at all, or to see that centaur traffic cop putting his hooves up at home — maybe next time."

Bright becomes available for streaming Dec. 22 on Netflix.

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