December 23, 2017
In October, we noted that Will Smith had a shot at redeeming himself with "Bright."
The Netflix original and urban fantasy flick, released on Friday, centers on a Los Angeles police officer (Smith) who teams up with a rookie orc cop (Joel Edgerton) to rescue a young elf from danger and stave off citywide disaster. Not only was Netflix vying for its first-ever blockbuster title, but Smith, a West Philadelphia native, was again doing what he does best: co-starring in an action movie and, of course, saving everyone.
Well, the reviews are in, and they're pretty bad.
On Rotten Tomatoes, critics said the David Ayer-directed film "tries to blend fantasy, hard-hitting cop drama and social commentary – and ends up falling painfully short of the mark on all three fronts."
The movie also received a slew of rough reviews from a number of big names.
Here's a sampling: (h/t USA Today)
"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! If anything, Bright is a giant Christmas/Hanukkah gift from Netflix to the major studios. It shows the streaming giant falling on its face in its attempts to replicate the so-called Hollywood blockbuster."
"(Ayer) strayed into empty superhero theatrics with the slapdash Suicide Squad (co-starring Mr. Smith) and again dilutes his integrity with Mr. Smith’s lightweight sitcom likability. You’ll find beatings, shootouts, car crashes, awkward analogies and a measure of buddy badinage in Bright, but true enchantment is in short supply."
"You'll get lots of violence and colorful threats and confusing shoot-outs, but you're not going to get much meaning."
"Astoundingly bad in virtually every way, Bright shares in common several of the shortcomings of Ayer’s previous film, including conspicuous evidence of desperate efforts to cobble its under-explained and yet somehow overcomplicated mythology into something coherent."
"The problem is that this richly-constructed world often comes at the expense of characters ... Will Smith is more or less on autopilot, doing what everyone pretty much expects from a Will Smith action movie these days. In fact, if the name 'Ward' wasn't directly printed on the uniform of Smith's character, we would've just assumed that we were looking at Suicide Squad's Floyd Lawton."
A movie that "boasts all the production value of an episode of Charmed, Netflix’s first mega-budget film effort starts with a potentially compelling premise that never gets off the ground."
In fairness to "Bright" and all involved with it, the reception wasn't all bad. In fact, Rotten Tomatoes' rating disparity between critics (31 percent) and audience reviews (90 percent) is about as stark as it gets.
Some also took to social media to opine on the new film and either claimed they enjoyed it or questioned critics' scathing reviews:
Oh man. I had a lot of fun with Bright. It's almost like the Shadowrun movie we've always wanted just RIGHT AFTER magic has returned to the world, but we haven't just yet hit cyberpunk.— Oliver Campbell (@oliverbcampbell) December 23, 2017
Nowhere near perfect, but I was not bored. I was rather entertained. Passing score!
Dear @netflix,— Meg Syv (@BluDragonGal) December 23, 2017
BRIGHT IS AN AMAZEBALLS, BLOW YOUR MIND MOVIE, THANK YOU SO SO MUCH. I LOVED EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Only complaint was that there aren't additional matierials so I could learn more about centaurs and dragons.
Ps: please hit me up for the comic adaptation.
Listen up people. The #Bright smear campaign is happening for a reason. If it is successful, it changes the landscape of the movie industry. Big budget movies skipping theaters, straight to NETFLIX. #BrightNetflix #BrightMovie #WillSmith pic.twitter.com/r9Lj5VZ0Zm— Netflix Critic (@iNetflixReview) December 23, 2017
Okay so like I just finished watching Bright on Netflix. Now I’m gonna say despite it being called the worst movie of 2017 & having soooo many negative comments about it ...it’s all lies. I actually found it very interesting. It was FUCKING AMAZING. I recommend it #BrightNetflix— Noelia 😽 (@noeeliaaa_t) December 23, 2017
Safe to say #BrightNetflix is another “L” for the critics. Seems like they become more and more useless to me with each new review, game or film— X (@XSPhen0m) December 22, 2017
Watching #BrightNetflix and you know what? It's okay. Nowhere near the worst movie of the year. Professional critics shouldn't be hopping on Love/Hate bandwagons and just be honest with themselves. For shame ya'll.— Juan C. Rodriguez (@MrRodriguez89) December 22, 2017
I’m a Netflixaholic & have been looking forward to watching #BrightNetflix for awhile but when I saw the reviews today my heart sank. I decided to watch anyway & I’m so glad I did. I enjoyed it. Really cool movie @DavidAyerMovies. And to all the critics I say... pic.twitter.com/eBHFGkA1i2— Shashana (@Shashana80sKid) December 22, 2017
#BrightNetflix is a mess and it’s racial allegories are extremely awkward but the critics who were calling it the “worst movie of 2017” must not have watched a lot of movies this year— David (@Dorozzco) December 22, 2017
It’s a shame that critics have attempted to slam @DavidAyerMovies work on @BrightNetflix. I, a real person, thoroughly enjoyed the new universe and thought the story flowed very well. Let’s get more! #BrightMovie #Bright #BrightNetflix— kendall.. (@k_scruggs_1) December 22, 2017
The new Netflix jawn #Bright was dope. Had to smile and give a nod when Will said dh. Straight Philly!— J. Bogle (@JGBogle) December 23, 2017
Of course, others agreed with those in the "astoundingly bad" camp.
Just finished watching Bright... pic.twitter.com/VcBl2wE9ds— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) December 23, 2017
Man, I need to know how much Will Smith got for Bright bc I watched all of 20 minutes and it is bottom of the barrel bad— Tabria (@TabriaMajors) December 23, 2017
Exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the making of BRIGHT pic.twitter.com/lHbq36Qghy— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) December 23, 2017
It's not the "worst movie of the year" as some have posited, but #BrightNetflix is truly, genuinely bad. Just kind of a shapeless, noisy mush of rote fantasy concepts with that psychedelic yet somehow boring Suicide Squad-ish visual grunge. A waste of time with no payoff.— Michael Hamilton (@djplaeskool) December 22, 2017
just watched 10 mins of will smith's "bright" and now i understand waterboarding— Desus Nice (@desusnice) December 23, 2017
Bright is an awful movie. Don’t waste your time.— Brennon O'Neill (@GoldGloveTV) December 23, 2017