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Thoughts on "Bright"?

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ABJECT_SELF
Thoughts on "Bright"?

So I finally checked out that new-ish Netflix movie "Bright"... Actually more like I pounced on it the moment I had a free second because I devour any urban-fantasy story I can find in that woefully-shallow pond.

Long story short, does not deserve the critical burning at the stake that it got. It's not a great movie, but it's solid urban-fantasy and I'm glad I took the time to see it.

I felt like a kid on Christmas in the opening moments when I was treated to imagery of fantasy creatures soaked in modern grit, from an orc picking up burritos to a guy trying to swat a fairy off his front lawn. The CGI is convincing, but practical makeup effects steal the show and thankfully only a handful of creatures in the movie are computer-generated.

Then the film kind of goes into a lull where the fantasy elements don't mesh with the modern cop drama the way they should. There's some fine world-building early on, especially when humans are shown to be in the middle of a caste system, with elves and their svelt, high-rise financial districts firmly at the top. Yet Bright immediately shifts focus to its social commentary on racial subjugation and police brutality, and as admirable as that may be, something doesn't feel right. The film immediately humanizes orcs so much that you don't get that outsider's view of racial tension the way District 9 pulled it off. Also, many of the fantasy elements aren't integrated with the modern world in a way that feels natural. There's a literal "Magic Police", a straight-up "Dark Lord", and for all the slang in L.A. there's no ghetto word for "fairy" or "wand".

Still, when actual magic and elves come into the plot about 45-minutes in, Bright is worth the experience. The second hour is your basic police-chase-flick plot, but this is where the fantasy elements enhance the story. By introducing an elven assassin and orc gangsters in the middle of the chase, Bright cleverly mixes gory action with intriguing world-building, so you endure every gunfight because you learn more about the setting every time the smoke clears. The two lead characters are endearing and I felt thoroughly invested in how their strange partnership evolved throughout the conflict.

In the end I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. My biggest gripe with Bright is that it seems afraid of its own concept. The most out-there aspects to its fantasy setting, from elven high-society to an underground music scene where orcs, dwarves, humans and elves get in one big mosh pit, are briefly glimpsed at best and mentioned in passing at worst. Maybe these tantalizing concepts weren't shown for budget reasons or to leave room for a sequel, but I found myself wanting more weird. As it stands, Nochnoy Dozor is still the reigning champ for bold, gritty urban-fantasy on film.

Anyway, what did you guys think? I didn't mean for that to turn into a full review, just thought this might be the kind of movie to appeal to the NWN crowd.

Recovering modding addict, currently relapsing hard.

 

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The Amethyst Dragon

I liked it.

I liked how instead of orcs, elves, etc. showing up in a modern world, the story had an alternate history of them being here all along. And while magic exists, and people know it, it's so rare that it doesn't affect day to day life.

- The Amethyst Dragon
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TheEvilDM

I really enjoyed it. Reminded me of a fun Shadowrun game I used to play a few years ago.

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Vanya Mia

Same, really enjoyed it. It reminded me a little of Alien Nation from way back in terms of story but that's not a bad thing. Agree with Abject though, an opportunity lost to build history thoroughly but then I'm not sure how they'd have got it into one movie.

"I took Skill Focus: Craft Disturbing Mental Image as my feat last level." Belkar, OOTS

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Toro

Felt like I seen it before. Anyone remember Alien Nation

Edited: LOL, just read above Vanya said same thing,,,

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Grymlorde

I think the show's creators tried to live up to the excellence that was Alien Nation. AN does cast a long shadow. Unfortunately this is exactly where Bright failed. By treading ground already trod by AN, they cannot avoid comparison and in doing so come up short. Bright also skated quite close to racial/ethnic stereotyping which was it's lowest point, in my opinion. I think the show's creators should have taken a look at the Witcher series of books to see more believeable or "realistic" take on Human/non-Human relations. Andrzej Sapkowski's presentation is quite refreshing.

On the whole, I agree that Bright should have spent more time being weird and less time emulating Alien Nation or engaging in racial stereotyping.

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GCoyote

Considering the size of the current population that's never seen or even heard of Alien Nation, I'm prepared to excuse the producers on those points.

<b>"Please VOTE on the content you play."</b>

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