Bright is a 2017 American urban fantasy crime film directed by David Ayer, written by Max Landis, and starring Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Édgar Ramírez, and Ike Barinholtz. The film is set in an alternate present in which humans and mythical creatures co-exist and details an LAPD police officer and his orc partner confronting racism and police corruption while protecting a magic wand and the elf girl who wields it.
Film release poster
|Directed by||David Ayer|
|Written by||Max Landis|
|Music by||David Sardy|
Principal photography began in November 2016 in Los Angeles. The film was released worldwide on Netflix on December 22, 2017. While it has received negative reviews from critics, it has become one of Netflix's most streamed programs ever.
Humans coexist with other sentient races, notably orcs and elves. While Magic is known to be real, only a very few individuals called "Brights" can wield rare magic wands without dying. In Los Angeles, veteran LAPD officer Daryl Ward has been involuntarily partnered with Nick Jakoby, the nation's first orc police officer, equally detested by his brother officers for his race and other orcs for being a policeman. Ward's relationship with Jakoby has been awkward since Ward was wounded by an Orc armed robber that Jakoby failed to apprehend and the LAPD's Internal Affairs division suspects Jakoby let the robber escape on purpose.
One night, Ward and Jakoby respond to a disturbance at what turns out to be a safe house for the "Shield of Light", an extremist group that prophesies the return of the "Dark Lord", a semi-mythical figure from thousands of years ago who was defeated by a combined army of eight races (orcs having supported and been defeated with him). Inside, Ward and Jakoby apprehend the lone survivor, an elf girl named Tikka in possession of a wand.
Ward calls for backup, but the moment the four arriving officers see the wand, they try to coerce Ward into killing Jakoby and letting them steal the wand for themselves, reminding Ward that Jakoby has already betrayed him by letting the robber escape.
Ward goes outside and demands the truth about the robber. Jakoby explains that the first orc escaped from him and Jakoby mistakenly apprehended a second, younger one (realizing from his scent that he was not Ward's shooter), then helped him escape from the arriving backup officers, knowing that they would probably gun the kid down on the spot without asking questions.
When the four officers appear behind Ward, planning to kill both him and Jakoby, Ward turns and shoots them down before they can return fire. The gunfire attracts the attention of the local Hispanic gang, whose wheelchair-bound leader Poison has seen the wand and believes it can allow him to walk again. Meanwhile, rumors of the wand draw both its owner, Leilah—the leader of the radical elf sect called the Inferni—and Kandomere, an elf FBI agent assigned to the federal "Magic Task Force".
The trio flees through the territory of the Fogteeth Orc clan, disrupting its monthly rave. The gangsters corner the trio in a strip club, but are themselves killed by Leilah and her two enforcers, allowing the trio to escape again. At a service station, Ward contacts his friend Sheriff Deputy Rodriguez, whom he knows he can trust. Rodriguez contacts Kandomere and his human partner Hildebrandt Ulysses Montehugh, but their conversation is intercepted by Leilah, who attacks the service station, killing Rodriguez.
Escaping again, the trio are captured by the Fogteeth Orcs whose leader Dorghu also wants the wand. Dorghu orders his son Mikey to kill Jakoby, but Mikey reveals that he was the orc that Jakoby allowed to escape and thus refuses to kill him. Dorghu sends his son away and kills Jakoby himself. But as he prepares to kill Ward, Tikka produces the wand and uses it to resurrect Jakoby, revealing that she is a Bright. The Fogteeth's shaman pronounces this to be part of a prophecy, causing the clan to kneel to Jakoby and allow the trio to go free. Tikka, now trusting them, reveals that she speaks English and explains that the Inferni believe that assembling three wands will allow them to resurrect the Dark Lord. She was a member of the Inferni but fled the group and was sheltered by the Shield of Light. Leilah loaned her wand to a Bright assassin and sent her to kill Tikka but Tikka escaped with the wand.
Using the wand to resurrect Jakoby has made Tikka gravely ill and the only place she can be healed is a magical pool back at the safe house. They return there, but are ambushed by Leilah and her two guards. In the confrontation, Leilah's guards are killed, but Leilah holds Tikka helpless as Ward and Jakoby run out of ammunition. Ward deliberately grabs the wand, believing that the resulting explosion will kill all of them. To everyone's amazement, Ward survives handling the wand, revealing him to be a Bright as well. With a spell word from Tikka, Ward destroys Leilah, triggering an explosion that sets the building on fire. Tikka disappears and the injured Ward and Jakoby try to escape the building.
Discovering himself alone outside, Jakoby rushes back into the inferno and rescues Ward as the fire department and the ambulance arrive. Dorghu and his clan appear and perform an ancient orc ceremony signifying to Jakoby that he is now "blooded"—an orcish status only achievable by an act of great bravery. While he and Ward are rushed to the hospital, the federal agents arrive to take possession of Leilah's wand. In the hospital, Ward and Jakoby give Kandomere and Montehugh a doctored statement of the previous night's events, understanding that the federal agents want the existence of the wand and any hint of magical activity kept secret. In a public ceremony, Jakoby and Ward are honored for their brave stand against "armed terrorists" though both are disgusted that the corrupt cops are honored along with them. Ward smiles as he spots Tikka moving through the crowd in disguise.
- Will Smith as Daryl Ward, a human LAPD officer.
- Joel Edgerton as Nick Jakoby, the nation's first orc police officer, who is partnered with Daryl.
- Noomi Rapace as Leilah, an Inferni elf seeking control of the magic wand.
- Lucy Fry as Tikka, a young Inferni elf who is in possession of the magic wand.
- Édgar Ramírez as Kandomere, a high ranking elvish federal agent with the US Department of Magic's Magic Task Force.
- Ike Barinholtz as Pollard, a corrupt human LAPD officer who seeks to steal the wand for himself.
- Happy Anderson as Hildebrandt Ulysses Montehugh, a human federal agent who works under Kandomere in the Magic Task Force.
- Dawn Olivieri as Sherri Ward, Daryl's human wife and Sophia's mother.
- Matt Gerald as Hicks, a corrupt human LAPD officer.
- Margaret Cho as Ching, a corrupt human LAPD sergeant.
- Brad William Henke as Dorghu, the imposing leader of the Fogteeth Orcs gang.
- Jay Hernandez as Rodriguez, a human LASD deputy.
- Veronica Ngo as Tien, an Inferni elf enforcer working for Leilah.
- Alex Meraz as Serafin, an Inferni elf enforcer working for Leilah.
- Nadia Gray as Larika, an Inferni elf enforcer working for Leilah.
- Joseph Piccuirro as Brown, a corrupt human LAPD officer.
- Enrique Murciano as Poison, the crippled leader of the human Altamira gang who uses a wheelchair.
- Scarlet Spencer as Sophia Ward, Daryl and Sherri's human daughter.
- Andrea Navedo as Perez, a human LAPD captain and Ward's superior.
- Kenneth Choi as Yamahara, a human LAPD internal affairs detective.
- Bobby Naderi as Arkashian, a human LAPD internal affairs detective.
- Cle Shaheed Sloan as OG Mike, the Wards' human neighbor.
- Chris Browning as Serling, a human questioned by the US Department of Magic's Task Force.
- Joe Rogan as himself, he interviews an orc about Jakoby.
Described as "a contemporary cop thriller, but with fantastical elements", the film is directed by David Ayer and stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, with a script penned by Max Landis, which Ayer rewrote. Netflix officially picked up the film for a $90 million deal with filming beginning in fall 2016, making it the most expensive Netflix film to date. Noomi Rapace entered talks to join the cast in May 2016. Landis stated in an interview that official production was expected to begin in September 2016, but that they'd already shot a small part in Los Angeles. Ayer's frequent cinematographer, Roman Vasyanov, was confirmed to be working on the project. On October 15, 2016, Lucy Fry was added to the cast. On October 17, 2016, Andrea Navedo was added to the cast. On October 20, 2016, actor Brad William Henke was cast in the film. On November 1, 2016, Kenneth Choi and Dawn Olivieri were cast in an unknown role and the role of Smith's wife, respectively. On November 9, Édgar Ramírez was confirmed to be added to the cast. That same month, Alex Meraz, Matt Gerald, Ike Barinholtz and Enrique Murciano joined the cast of the film in undisclosed roles.
Bright received criticism for its screenplay, cinematography and excessive focus on social commentary. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 28% based on 109 reviews, with an average rating of 3.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Bright tries to blend fantasy, hard-hitting cop drama, and social commentary—and ends up falling painfully short of the mark on all three fronts." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 29 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, saying: "Bright is basically a tired buddy-cop movie dressed up in bizarre trappings ... It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s not nearly as self-deprecating and funny as it needed to be." Writing for Rolling Stone, David Fear gave the film 1 out of 4 stars, criticizing the script and incoherent action scenes, writing: "This combo of gritty cop procedural and fantasy is a dark, dank, dumb-as-hell mess."
David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film an "F" and called it the worst film of 2017, saying: "There's boring, there's bad, and then there's Bright ... from the director of Suicide Squad and the writer of Victor Frankenstein comes a fresh slice of hell that somehow represents new lows for them both—a dull and painfully derivative ordeal that often feels like it was made just to put those earlier misfires into perspective." Ayer responded enthusiastically to Ehrlich's review, claiming that he desired for the film to receive "a strong reaction either way."
NPR's Chris Klimek wrote: "Critics have already lined up to pillory Bright as among the year's worst releases. Don't believe the clickbait. Lazy but not boring, this Net-flick is perfectly, stubbornly mediocre, and less a chore to sit through than either of 2017's Vin Diesel vehicles."
Several publications noted that while critics were harsh in their assessment of the film, viewers seemed to enjoy it more and gave positive reactions on social media. Netflix announced that the film had been viewed more times in its first week than any of its other releases. According to Nielsen ratings, about 11 million American viewers streamed Bright within the first three days of its release, with 56% of the audience being male and 7 million being between the ages of 18 to 49. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings noted that: "The critics are pretty disconnected from the mass appeal...[they] are an important part of the artistic process but are pretty disconnected from the commercial prospects of a film. If people are watching this movie and loving it, that's the measurement of success."
|Bright: The Album|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||December 15, 2017|
|Singles from Bright: The Album|
The soundtrack, titled Bright: The Album, was released under Atlantic Records on December 15, 2017, just a week before the official release of the film on December 22, 2017.
|Bright: The Album|
|1.||"Broken People" (Logic and Rag'n'Bone Man)||3:32|
|2.||"World Gone Mad" (Bastille)||3:16|
|3.||"Home" (Machine Gun Kelly, X Ambassadors and Bebe Rexha)||3:22|
|4.||"Crown" (Camila Cabello and Grey)||3:21|
|5.||"Darkside" (Ty Dolla $ign and Future featuring Kiiara)||3:53|
|6.||"Danger" (Migos and Marshmello)||3:34|
|7.||"That's My Nigga" (Meek Mill, YG and Snoop Dogg)||3:19|
|8.||"Smoke My Dope" (Steve Aoki and Lil Uzi Vert)||3:22|
|9.||"FTW (Fuck the World)" (A$AP Rocky and Tom Morello)||2:23|
|10.||"Cheer Up" (Portugal. The Man)||2:46|
|11.||"Hares on the Mountain" (alt-J)||3:48|
|12.||"Campfire" (DRAM and Neil Young)||3:40|
|13.||"This Land Is Your Land" (Sam Hunt)||2:34|
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||85|
|Canadian Albums (Billboard)||13|
|Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)||92|
|Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)||18|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||97|
|New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)||24|
|US Billboard 200||48|
|US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)||28|
In December 2017, Netflix ordered a sequel. The following month, Netflix confirmed the sequel was moving ahead, with Smith and Edgerton reprising their roles and Ayer directing and writing the script with Evan Spiliotopoulos. In August 2018, it was announced the film would begin filming in March 2019 in Germany. In September 2019, Lucy Fry revealed that production had been delayed, citing Smith's busy schedule.
- Ng, David (July 31, 2017). "Netflix is carrying $20 billion in debt. Can it keep borrowing its way to success?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- Film and Television Tax Credit Program Program 2.0 (PDF) (Report). California Film Commission. November 2018. p. 20. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
- Goldberg, Matt (March 2, 2016). "David Ayer to Direct Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in Fantastical Cop Flick 'Bright'". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Kroll, Justin (March 3, 2016). "William Smith, David Ayer Reteaming on Max Landis Spec 'Bright'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Khatchatourian, Maane (February 27, 2017). "Watch the First Teaser for Will Smith's Fantasy Cop Thriller 'Bright'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- Beck, Kellen (December 22, 2017). "Poor Will Smith! Critics tore apart Netflix's first hopeful blockbuster, 'Bright'". Mashable. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Rodriguez, Ashley (January 24, 2018). "Netflix explains why a movie like "Bright" can bomb with critics and kill with audiences". Retrieved March 18, 2019./
- Goldberg, Matt (March 18, 2016). "Netflix Makes Mammoth Deal for David Ayer's 'Bright' Starring Will Smith". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
- Ankers, Adele (May 19, 2016). "Noomi Rapace in Talks to Join Will Smith in David Ayer's Bright". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
- Trumbore, Dave (July 25, 2016). "Watch: Max Landis Hopes 'Bright' Will Be His 'Star Wars'". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
- James, Daron (August 19, 2016). "Why DP Roman Vasyanov Chose Anamorphic & More Tales from Shooting 'Suicide Squad'". No Film School. NONETWORK. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- Kit, Borys (October 11, 2016). "David Ayer's 'Bright' Lands 'Mr. Church' Actress Lucy Fry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- N'Duka, Amanda (October 17, 2016). "David Ayer-Helmed Thriller 'Bright' Adds Andrea Navedo; Austin Hébert Cast In 'Burden'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- Kroll, Justin (October 18, 2016). "'Orange Is the New Black' Actor Brad William Henke Joins Will Smith in 'Bright'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- Briers, Michael (October 2016). "David Ayer's Fantasy Cop Thriller Bright Adds Two". We Got This Covered. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- Kit, Borys (November 9, 2016). "Edgar Ramirez Joins Will Smith in David Ayer's Fantasy Thriller 'Bright'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- N'Duka, Amanda (November 11, 2016). "Ashley Bell Cast As Lead In 'Next Door'; Alex Meraz Joins David Ayer's 'Bright'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- N'Duka, Amanda (November 15, 2016). "Matt Gerald Boards David Ayer's 'Bright'; Angel Bonanni Cast In 'Entebbe'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 16, 2016). "Ike Barinholtz Reunites With David Ayer, Will Smith On Netflix Film 'Bright". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- N'Duka, Amanda (November 22, 2016). "Enrique Murciano Cast In Netflix's 'Bright'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
- Caldwell, Kayla (November 7, 2016). "Joel Edgerton is unrecognizable in orc make-up as he joins Will Smith on set of new Netflix fantasy film Bright". The Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
- Evry, Max (November 9, 2016). "First Bright Set Photos Featuring Will Smith in Costume". ComingSoon.net. CraveOnline Media. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- Ayer, David [@DavidAyerMovies] (February 4, 2017). "That's a wrap on #BRIGHT. Even in the darkest times we can find the light" (Tweet). Retrieved May 7, 2018 – via Twitter.
- "Bright (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- "Bright Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Roeper, Richard (December 26, 2017). "Put an orc in it: Will Smith's cop fantasy 'Bright' a Netflix disaster". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- Fear, David (December 21, 2017). "'Bright' Review: Will Smith's 'L.A.P.D. of the Rings' Is Just South of Dim". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Ehrlich, David (December 20, 2017). "'Bright' Review: Netflix's First Blockbuster Is the Worst Movie of 2017". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
- Ayer, David [@DavidAyerMovies] (December 21, 2017). "This is going on my fridge. Highest compliment is a strong reaction either way…" (Tweet). Retrieved May 7, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Klimek, Chris (December 21, 2017). "Will Smith Plays Cops-And-Monsters In Unremarkable 'Bright". NPR. Retrieved December 28, 2017. Cite magazine requires
- Cobb, Kayla (December 28, 2017). "Audiences Seem To Love 'Bright' As Much As Critics Hate It". Decider. NYP Holdings. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Relaxnews (December 30, 2017). "Netflix's 'Bright' lands 11 million audience, divides critics, viewers". Malay Mail. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Libbey, Dirk (December 24, 2017). "The Audience Seems To Like Bright A Whole Lot More Than The Critics Do". Cinema Blend. GatewayBlend Entertainment. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Telegraph Reporters (December 29, 2017). "Critics be damned: 'worst film of the year' Bright is a huge hit for Netflix". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 3, 2018). "Netflix Firms 'Bright' Sequel With Will Smith". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (December 26, 2017). "Netflix's 'Bright' Lands 11 Million U.S. Streaming Viewers Over First Three Days". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Wallenstein, Andrew (January 22, 2018). "Netflix Execs Call Critics 'Disconnected' for Bashing 'Bright' Film". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- "Future Releases on Alternative Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. December 25, 2017. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- "Top 40/M Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on November 30, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Various Artists. "Bright: The Album". iTunes. Apple. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- auspOp (January 6, 2018). "ARIA Chart Watch #454". auspOp. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
- "Soundtrack Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Soundtrack – Bright: The Album" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
- "Eri esittäjiä: Bright: The Album" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Soundtrack – Bright: The Album" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
- "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". The Official NZ Music Charts. Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- "Soundtrack Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- "Soundtrack Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Keene, Alison (December 20, 2017). "Netflix Has Already Ordered a 'Bright' Sequel with Will Smith Returning". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
- Hood, Cooper (August 18, 2018). "Will Smith To Film Bad Boys 3 & Bright 2 Before Suicide Squad 2". Screen Rant. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- "Lucy Fry Reveals Bright 2 Production Has Been Delayed". ComicBook.com. September 20, 2019. Retrieved November 20, 2019.