Netflix’s Bright Is a Will Smith Action Flick, and Nothing More

Netflix's Bright Is a Will Smith Action Flick, and Nothing More

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in a still from Netflix’s Bright


  • Bright hits Netflix on December 22
  • The film stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton
  • David Ayer (Suicide Squad) is the director

Netflix has made a name for itself in the television department over the last few years, thanks to the likes of Stranger Things, BoJack Horseman, and the various Marvelshows. But it doesn’t have that kind of credibility on the movies front yet, where it’s fighting studios with much deeper pockets, and also always pushes for a same-day release on its platform as in theatres. 2017 has been a big year for Netflix though, with the Cannes-premiere of Korean adventure Okja, the major deal for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and now the release of its most expensive film to date, Bright.

The film takes place in an alternate reality where humans, orcs, elves, and fairies have lived beside each other since the beginning of time. Will Smith stars as a human LAPD cop named Ward, who’s been reluctantly paired with an orc cop named Jakoby, played by Joel Edgerton, due to a diversity hire programme initiated by the department. This bit is slightly reminiscent of Zootopia’s opening, which also features a diversity-hire police officer, and both films talk about society judging individuals on their appearances, rather than seeing them for who they really are.

But following two cops is also reminiscent of most films written and/or directed by David Ayer – he’s best known as the man behind last year’s dumpster-fire Suicide Squad (which also starred Smith) – whose background as a naval officer has seen him pen or helm several movies about law officers, starting with his Hollywood-breakout Training Day in 2001, lean years in between that gave us Dark Blue, S.W.A.T. (both in 2003), and Street Kings (2008), followed by his most critically-acclaimed venture, End of Watch, in 2012. Each of those films have also incorporated street gangs, morally dubious cops, and flashy gun violence.

The first official trailer for Netflix’s Bright

Bright is similar in that regard, embedding real-world LA crime problems and the distrust of police into its narrative, but it’s also got fantasy boots to fill. That means weaving in lore about an almost mythical past that saw humans, orcs and elves at each other’s throats two millennia ago, which involved a Dark Lord, powerful beings, and magical items. The plot riffs on Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter in a foregrounding way, just enough to convince you that stranger things have happened, but is still restricted to give Smith’s character – a human – a fighting chance.

The premise of Bright centres on a young elf named Tikka (Lucy Fry), one of a select titular few who has the ability to hold and use a magic wand – an object that can grant wishes, (seemingly) has the power of a nuclear weapon, and kills any non-Bright who holds it – and ends up in the custody of Ward and Jakoby after they are dispatched to an address. Ward’s call for backup from his precinct doesn’t go as planned, and he’s forced to go on the run with Jakoby and Tikka to keep the wand away from the hands of literally everyone: corrupt cops, street thugs, and criminal organisations.

That gives Ayer the licence to stage his film like a video game, comprising of ridiculous shootout routines one after the another where the fleeing trio is always under-powered, be it a car chase, bar evacuation, dance club hold-up, gas station face-off, or a fist-fight in an apartment. Through it all, the film explores the budding friendship between Ward and Jaokoby, spliced with gallows-type humour – Smith is natural at infusing comedy into the direst of moments, and he keeps denying that they’re becoming friends – and intercut with scenes that develop Bright’s fantasy world.

bright netflix noomi rapace Bright Netflix

Noomia Rapace as Leilah in a still from Netflix’s Bright
Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy/Netflix

That involves introducing Noomi Rapace as Leilah, a dark elf who is part of an Illuminati-type group that’s trying to bring back a Dark Lord, alongside some of her expert close-quarters combat followers, plus two detectives who work for the FBI’s magic division, an elf (Édgar Ramírez) and a human (Ike Barinholtz), who are supposed to be in-charge of any wand-related troubles. The latter two are there to service the lore and hence don’t feature much, but even though Rapace is supposed to be the main villain, she’s hardly part of the film.

Bright’s choice to feature Ward as the chief protagonist and keep Jakoby as his sidekick in-training is also misguided. Zootopia worked precisely because it chose to stick with the diversity hire, the one’s who discriminated against. Jakoby is hated by his own kind because he’s not Blooded – having a pair of lower jaw teeth that jut out like fangs – and works with humans in the police force. Orcs look down on him, and humans revile him for belonging to another side, assuming he’s orc first and cop second.

Bright instead follows his slightly specist partner, Smith’s Ward. He isn’t as open about his distaste for working with an orc unlike some of his co-workers, but that doesn’t mean Ward doesn’t repeatedly try to get rid of Jakoby in the early going. Ward and Jakoby’s relationship is also tainted by an earlier event, and the film would benefit if it gave more emphasis to Edgerton’s orc. That would allow the film to be more powerful in what it’s trying to convey, but Bright fails to understand that.

One big obvious reason would be Smith’s casting, who is a much more recognisable star. Edgerton has as much screen presence as Smith, but Jakoby doesn’t get the necessary build up moments that help you connect and relate with the character. Those are reserved for Ward, whose family and background situation is given ample time in the opening minutes.

bright netflix edgerton fry smith Bright Netflix

Joel Edgerton as Jakoby, Lucy Fry as Tikka, and Will Smith as Ward in a still from Netflix’s Bright
Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy/Netflix

The film also grapples with a lot of social themes, which aren’t really addressed. There are multiple parallels and allegories here, but in many ways, the problems faced by African-Americans today have been grafted onto orcs. They have it much worse in the film in many ways, being openly reviled in a way that wouldn’t fly in our version of 2017. At the same time, the film’s actual African-Americans don’t seem to have it any better than our reality, implying that humans have kept themselves divided through the ages, even while living alongside two other sentient species on Earth.

Mistrust, class struggles, and social mobility appear to be important themes for Bright in the early going, and it indulges the idea of exploring the symptoms and consequences of that for the first half hour. But it eventually gives that up, and turns into a Will Smith-movie, which is to say a generic guns-blazing action thriller. Bright could make for a fascinating Netflix TV series if it was more interested and serious about its themes, but Ayer doesn’t seem to have those ambitions. It also doesn’t help that his vision for gun violence resembles that of a 7-year-old, with characters needlessly emptying entire cartridges as scare tactics, causing more pain for the set designer than our protagonists.

After an opening half-hour that gave us hope that the film wouldn’t descend into a bullet-a-minute adventure unlike some of Ayer’s previous dubious work – the posters designed by Netflix are putting Suicide Squad front and centre, which is hilarious and sad because it depletes confidence, instead of inspiring any – Bright turns into a chase story that keeps throwing new unimaginative problems at our heroes, and never bothers to deepen any of its themes and allegories.

It’s perfectly happy in being a big budgeted action flick – Netflix reportedly spent $90 million (about Rs. 577 crore) to produce it – but it doesn’t have the goofy swagger of Men in Black, nor the grittiness of End of Watch, and ends up just wallowing without saying much.


Trump slams Yates hearing: ‘Nothing but old news’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)


President Donald Trump said allegations of collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia are “a total hoax.” | AP Photo

President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted his first reaction to testimony from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, dismissing her comments as “nothing but old news” and asking “when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Trump also said allegations of collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia are “a total hoax.”

The series of tweets came as Yates Senate testimony, along with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, dominated cable coverage and the days news in Washington.

“The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” the president tweeted after Yates and Clapper testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism earlier Monday on the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“[Former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump,” Trump added.

Clapper reaffirmed during his testimony that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, while Yates declined to comment on the subject, citing concerns that she’d reveal classified information.

“Sally Yates made the fake media extremely unhappy today — she said nothing but old news!” Trump said.

Yates told the Senate panel Monday that while serving as acting attorney general she had informed the Trump White House in January of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contact with Russian operatives.

She added that Flynn being compromised could’ve made him susceptible to blackmail by the Russians.

Her testimony served as her first public comments on the controversy since Flynn resigned from his post in February.



Light Phone: A Mobile Phone that Only Makes Calls, Nothing Else

There’s another way to go in the mobile technology race. In a market full of feature-rich smartphones, Light Phone offers something different — it lets you do nothing but make and answer calls.

Light Phone is a mobile phone that only makes calls, plain and simple. (OK, it keeps time, too.)

It has no browser, no NFC, offers no games or apps, and doesn’t even text. What it does promise is simple contact without the distractions and added hassles of “unwanted rings, dings, and pings,” as the company puts it.

The phone’s minimalist design matches its functionality, for sure.

Light Phone is about the size of a credit card and is practically blank. The front display has no buttons or even what would look like a screen. Instead it lights up to reveal a touch module so you can dial a phone number, see the time, and view incoming calls.

And man, can it hold a charge. The company claims Light Phone can go for 20 days straight before needing to be charged. It’s just one more thing that can cut down on the frustrations common with most mobile phones.

On its own, Light Phone is a pre-paid GSM cell phone that can work independently of your carrier. Each phone comes with its own SIM card and phone number. And for an added perk, the phones come pre-loaded with 500 minutes.

But Light Phone can also work like an extension to your existing smartphone. The phone’s one and only “app” is pre-installed. What the “app” does is allow you to have incoming calls made to your smartphone forwarded to Light Phone. This way, you can have the option of leaving your main phone at home without being completely cut off from the rest of the mobile-ready world.

For more information on Light Phone check out the Kickstarter video below.

The flexible options offered by Light Phone may be especially helpful for those small business owners who need a simple phone for calls. And with its $100 price tag, it can be a cheap, prepaid standalone phone or an extension line.

Designers Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang met at Google’s 30 Weeks incubator in New York City, where they put their heads together to create Light Phone. They say on Light Phone’s Kickstarter page:

“We aren’t creating new technology, we’re using the best existing technology in a new way. We have stripped away everything but the phone itself, the only essential connection that the user needs.”

The duo is currently crowdfunding to bring their product to market. Their Kickstarter campaign has thousands of backers and more than $269,000 in pledges.

But backers will have to wait a while to get their phones. Light Phone won’t be shipping until June 2016.

Image: Light Phone

More in: Crowdfunding


Kangana Ranaut on Censorship of Queen: nothing Vulgar approximately a Bra

Kangana Ranaut

Kangana Ranaut has won three countrywide Awards
all of us have been very involved with the way matters are going: Kangana
‘We need our very own creative freedom,’ said Kangana Ranaut
in the wake of controversy over Udta Punjab, national Award-prevailing actress Kangana Ranaut on Thursday supported filmmakers and stated that the film fraternity deserves its innovative liberties anddoesn’t want a parental mind-set towards audiences to guard them.

The principal Board of movie Certification (CBFC) headed with the aid of Pahlaj Nihalani is said to havecautioned cuts to the Abhishek Chaubey-directed movie, which offers with drug abuse in Punjab.

Ms Ranaut, 29, became requested approximately her opinion at the Udta Punjab controversy at an awardceremony and she or he said: “all of us have been very involved with the manner matters are going. i amnot a director and i’ve now not been through that process.”

however humans whom I closely work with appear extraordinarily disturbed with the manner things are and to an volume, they sense bullied. They realize there’s a technique of certification. We do no longerought to have that kind of parental mindset closer to audiences that we need to shield them,” said Ms Ranaut.

Ms Ranaut, who has won 3 countrywide Awards for her roles in style, Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns, stated that during the discharge of Queen, director Vikas Bahl was asked to blur a scene as thecensor board thought it was “vulgar.”

“In Queen, there was a touch humorous moment wherein a boy spots a bra on my mattress. So the director referred to as me and said that the censor is blurring the bra as they suppose it is vulgar. My director turned into livid. As artistes we do not see it as a threat to society. there is not anything vulgarapproximately a female‘s bra,” said Ms Ranaut.

Mr Bahl is one of the three those who heads Phantom films, which has co-produced Udta Punjab.

“Cinema is all about detailing. We want our own creative freedom and we’re in reality type of pressedtowards the wall and there’s so much outrage. i’m hoping it’ll be addressed and that i desire there may not be such incidents in future,” said Ms Ranaut.

Udta Punjab stars Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh in pivotal roles.