How David Ayer ruined Bright
David Ayer ruined Bright. That’s a fact.The movie is so bad on so many levels that I am quite surprised that he’s been entrusted to write and direct the sequel. And if it’s true that Netflix is aiming to create a franchise, then it has totally missed the mark. The movie lacks all the basic ingredients of a franchise.Bright’s only success is that Netflix managed to squeeze out 11 million views, thanks to Will Smith’s dwindling star power.
Ayer has failed to reinvent himself. And if he couldn’t notice that Max Landis had handed him a bad script, then there’s little hope he’ll write a better one.Will Smith’s collaboration with Ayer is unlikely to become a DiCaprio-Scorsese success story. If I were Smith, I’d be rethinking my strategy and firing my muse. So, let’s try to see how Mr David Ayer ruined Bright.
- Fairies or Faeries?
Mythically speaking, ‘fairies’ are good and ‘faeries’ are bad. In the movie, we see graffiti which says, ‘Fairy Removal’.It feels weird to watch officer Ward (Will Smith) killing a fairy. Why does this world kill ‘fairies’? Are there good fairies and bad fairies? Without a compelling backstory, Ward looks plain evil when he smacks that poor ‘fairy’. Then he brings it closer to home by saying, ‘fairy lives don’t matter’. I wonder what Max Landis was thinking when he wrote that.
- There are no likeable characters
Off the bat, it’s clear that the Bright world is riddled with discrimination and inequality. We learn that the blacks, whites and Latinos are sandwiched between the elves and the orcs. People envy the elves and they loathe the orcs. So every time Ward argues with Jacoby (Joel Edgerton), he sounds like a condescending fairy killer. Max Landis sets a racist tone but drops the ball when he doesn’t inspire us with a hero and struggler.
It’s so obvious that Ayer was trying to recreate some kind of ‘Training day’ vibe. The result is awful. If Jacoby was the confident senior officer, it would make sense. Ward is more of a bully than a partner because Jacoby’s character is unbearably insecure. You just feel sorry for him. It’s hard to picture how he graduated from what must have been a very racist police academy.
- How is it Jacoby’s fault that Ward got shot?
In this scene, Ward is browsing his phone while standing outside his bulletproof police car. Jacoby is at least two cars away, buying lunch. An orc in a hoody walks up to Ward and shoots him. There is no way Jacoby could have seen the shooter.Again, it gets a bit frustrating to watch officer Ward blame his partner for this. It’s probably the most stupid part of the movie. Jacoby could at least try to defend himself. He just sits there accepts the blame.
- Where is the thrill?
I like the scene where officer Ward and a bunch of dirty cops are fighting over the magic wand. This scene had the potential to take the movie to a whole new level. Then suddenly, without a sweat, Ward terminates his fellow cops. The rest of the movie is a sequence of boring action and cringe-worthy moments. They basically just run around the city with an emotionally paralyzed elf. No drama, no suspense.
WHAT WOULD HAVE MADE BRIGHT WATCHABLE?
Making a hit movie is tough and I am no expert. But I have seen enough movies to say that Bright had the potential to be a guardians-of the-galaxy, treasure-island wild goose chase. It could have introduced us to a dynamic team consisting of a Bright, a nerdy orc, an attractive elf and a talkative fairy. Just dream with me for a moment.
Let’s imagine that a lonely officer Ward captures a little loudmouth fairy. Throws it in his police car, then drives over to pick up his partner, Jacoby. We meet Jacoby’s friendly orc family, which is secretly working with Ward to organize a surprise party. Ward and Jacoby are buddies. In the police car, they argue and pick on the talkative fairy that Ward had captured. We learn a lot about magic through the fairy.
At the police station Ward defends his partner but then he is given reason to suspect that Jacoby had purposely failed to arrest the Orc who shot him. He keeps his suspicions to himself. Out in the field, they rescue a pretty elf from some dirty cops. Their friendship is tested when they are hunted all over the city by dirty cops, Latino gangs, orc gangs, the dark lord’s warriors, and maybe even a swarm of fairies. All the while, the captured fairy and the flirty pretty elf are helping officer Ward figure out why the wand is drawn to him.
There’s some tension in the team because all of them are tempted by the prospects of owning a magic wand. Eventually, Ward learns that he is a Bright and helps defeat the dark warriors. Jacoby has bad injuries, but he still makes it to his surprise party (the wand helps). The pretty elf finally kisses Ward. She tries to hide the wand from the corrupt police department, but that nasty little fairy steals it. The end.