Bright (film)

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Film release poster
Directed by David Ayer
Produced by
Written by Max Landis
Music by David Sardy
Cinematography Roman Vasyanov
Edited by
Distributed by Netflix
Release date
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[1]

Bright is a 2017 American urban fantasy crime film directed by David Ayer and written by Max Landis.[2][3] The film stars Will Smith as a Los Angeles Police Department police officer who teams up with an orc rookie police officer (Joel Edgerton) in a world of both human and mythical creatures.[4] It also stars Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Édgar Ramírez, and Ike Barinholtz.

Principal photography began in November 2016 in Los Angeles. The film was released worldwide on Netflix on December 22, 2017, and became one of the site's most streamed programs ever, although it received negative reviews from critics.[5]


In an alternate present, humans live in uneasy peace with orcs, elves, centaurs, dwarves and other races after they fought for thousands of years. In Los Angeles, veteran LAPD police officer Daryl Ward has been involuntarily partnered with Nick Jakoby, the nation's first orcish police officer. Jakoby faces prejudice from both human cops for his race and from fellow orcs for his position as a police officer. Ward doesn't know how to feel about Jakoby after an incident occurs where an Orc shoots Ward and Jakoby fails to catch the suspect. A previously detained human Shield of Light devotee tells Jakoby that both officers are in a prophecy and that Ward is blessed. While booking the devotee, Ward is approached by Internal Affairs who say they believe that Jakoby put his racial loyalties before his partner, they pressure Ward into trying to get Jakoby to confess on tape so they will have grounds to fire Jakoby.

That night, Ward and Jakoby respond to a disturbance at what turns out to be a Shield of Light safe house; inside is evidence indicating magic was used. They apprehend the lone unhurt survivor, a young elf named Tikka who possesses a legendary magic wand and can apparently only speak Elfish, as Jakoby puts it, a wand is like "a nuclear weapon that grants wishes", and can only be commanded by a 'Bright' — a person with the rare ability to use magic. If a non-Bright touches a wand, they will explode from the raw magical power.

The moment the four backup officers lay eyes on the wand, they to try to coerce Ward into killing Jakoby and lying about the incident. Ward goes outside and questions Jakoby about the incident earlier with the orc while the four officers discuss their plans to kill Ward, Jakoby and Tikka. When Jakoby explains that the shooter and suspect he let go had different scents, Ward decides that he must trust his partner and kills all officers except Pollard, as he was stopped by Jakoby, the incident, however, attracts the attention of the local human gang Altamira, and the two flee with Tikka and the wand. Leilah, a member of the ominous group Inferni and owner of the wand, arrives at the safehouse minutes later, searching for the wand and Tikka.

The trio flee through Fogteeth Orc clan territory with the human gang's leader Poison in pursuit, wanting to regain the use of his legs through the wand, the gang corners the trio in a strip club where the three prepare to make a final stand against the heavily armed gangsters. The Inferni appear just as the fight begins, giving the trio the opportunity to escape again, at a service station, Ward contacts his friend, Sheriff Deputy Rodriguez, who he hopes will help them in protecting the wand. Rodriguez contacts Kandomere, an elf working for the federal 'Magic Task Force' dedicated to securing, containing and protecting magical objects. Kandomere tells Ward that he will be safe from prosecution for killing his fellow police officers, if they can keep the wand out of the wrong hands, before Rodriguez can bring them in, Leilah's henchmen attack the trio, killing him.

Ward, Jakoby, and Tikka run into the Fogteeth Orc clan again and are dragged before its leader Dorghu. Enraged at the chaos they are causing, Dorghu orders his son Mikey to kill Jakoby after failing to find out where the wand is. However, 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, as he prepares to kill Ward, Tikka produces the wand she had magically hidden and uses it to resurrect Jakoby, revealing that she is a Bright. The cloaked clan priest pronounces this to be the will of the Prophecy, causing the clan to kneel to Jakoby and allow the trio to go free. Tikka, now trusting them, speaks to them in English for the first time and explains the Inferni's plan, they wish to resurrect The Dark Lord, an ancient mythical figure who will rise from the dead and take over the world. Once a member of the Inferni herself, Tikka had been protected by the Shield of Light and had fled with the wand.

The use of the wand causes Tikka to become ill and the only way to save her to is place her in a magical pool back at the safe house where they first found her, they return to the safe house but are ambushed by Leilah and the remaining Inferni. The trio successfully kill the Inferni, but Leilah is resurrected. Just as Ward places Tikka in the magical pool, Leilah strings up Jakoby and knocks both Ward and Tikka out of the pool. Leilah unsuccessfully tries to convince Tikka to join her. Jakoby breaks free and shoots the wand out of Leilah's hand but runs out of ammo before he can kill her again. Out of options, Ward deliberately picks up the fallen wand and is revealed to also be a Bright, using the wand to kill Leilah with an explosion that sets the building on fire; in the ensuing commotion, Tikka disappears and the injured Ward and Jakoby flee from the building. Upon discovering himself alone outside, Jakoby rushes back into the inferno and rescues Ward. 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.

Ward awakens the next day in a hospital room to find Jakoby at his bedside and himself restrained as he is an "extremely dangerous" Bright, as Kandomere appears, Ward understands (but Jakoby does not) that Kandomere wants to contain the incident and gives him a fake statement as to what happened, denying the use of magic. In a public announcement before a crowd, Jakoby and Ward are honored by the city for their actions against the 'extremist group' Inferni. 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 Orcish 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 LACSD deputy.
  • Veronica Ngo as Tien, an Inferni elf enforcer working for Leilah.
  • Alex Meraz as Serafin, an Inferni elf enforcer working for Leilah.
  • Joseph Piccuirro as Brown, a corrupt human LAPD officer.
  • Enrique Murciano as Poison, the leader of the human Altamira gang. He 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


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.[2][3] 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.[6] Noomi Rapace entered talks to join the cast in May 2016.[7] 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.[8] Ayer's frequent cinematographer, Roman Vasyanov, was confirmed to be working on the project,[9] on October 15, 2016, Lucy Fry was added to the cast.[10] On October 17, 2016, Andrea Navedo was added to the cast,[11] on October 20, 2016, actor Brad William Henke was cast in the film.[12] On November 1, 2016, Kenneth Choi and Dawn Olivieri were cast in an unknown role and the role of Smith's wife, respectively,[13] on November 9, Édgar Ramírez was confirmed to be added to the cast.[14] That same month, Alex Meraz, Matt Gerald, Ike Barinholtz, and Enrique Murciano joined the cast of the film in undisclosed roles.[15][16][17][18]


Photos from the set were first published in November 2016.[19][20] Filming was completed by February 4, 2017.[21]


Critical response[edit]

Bright received criticism for its screenplay, cinematography and excessive focus on social commentary.[5] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 26% based on 92 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."[22] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 29 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[23]

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."[24] 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."[25]

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."[26] Ayer responded enthusiastically to Ehrlich's review, claiming that he desired for the film to receive "a strong reaction either way."[27]

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."[28]

Audience response[edit]

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.[29][30][31][32] Netflix announced that the film had been viewed more times in its first week than any of its other releases.[33] 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 18–49.[34] 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."[35]


Bright: The Album
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15)
Length 42:50
Singles from Bright: The Album
  1. "World Gone Mad"
    Released: November 21, 2017[36]
  2. "Home"
    Released: December 5, 2017[37]

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.

1."Broken People" (Logic and Rag'n'Bone Man)
2."World Gone Mad" (Bastille)3:16
3."Home" (Machine Gun Kelly, X Ambassadors and Bebe Rexha)
  • David Pramik
  • Phelps
4."Crown" (Camila Cabello and Grey)3:21
5."Darkside" (Ty Dolla $ign and Future featuring Kiiara)
  • Wiklund
  • AC
  • Andrew Bolooki
6."Danger" (Migos and Marshmello)3:34
7."That's My Nigga" (Meek Mill, YG and Snoop Dogg)
  • Viruss Beats
8."Smoke My Dope" (Steve Aoki and Lil Uzi Vert)
9."FTW (Fuck the World)" (A$AP Rocky and Tom Morello)2:23
10."Cheer Up" (Portugal. The Man)2:46
11."Hares on the Mountain" (alt-J)
  • Traditional
12."Campfire" (DRAM and Neil Young)
13."This Land Is Your Land" (Sam Hunt)2:34
Total length:42:50


Chart (2017–18) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[39] 85
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[40] 13
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[41] 92
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[42] 18
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[43] 97
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[44] 24
US Billboard 200[45] 48
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[46] 28


In December 2017, Netflix ordered a sequel,[47] the following month Netflix confirmed the sequel was moving ahead, with Smith and Edgerton reprising their roles and Ayer directing and writing the script.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b 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. 
  3. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (March 3, 2016). "William Smith, David Ayer Reteaming on Max Landis Spec 'Bright'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 20, 2017. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b Beck, Kellen (December 22, 2017). "Poor Will Smith! Critics tore apart Netflix's first hopeful blockbuster, 'Bright'". Mashable. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  6. ^ Goldberg, Matt (March 18, 2016). "Netflix Makes Mammoth Deal for David Ayer's 'Bright' Starring Will Smith". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  7. ^ Ankers, Adele (May 19, 2016). "Noomi Rapace in Talks to Join Will Smith in David Ayer's Bright". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  8. ^ Trumbore, Dave (July 25, 2016). "Watch: Max Landis Hopes 'Bright' Will Be His 'Star Wars'". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (October 11, 2016). "David Ayer's 'Bright' Lands 'Mr. Church' Actress Lucy Fry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 7, 2018. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Briers, Michael (October 2016). "David Ayer's Fantasy Cop Thriller Bright Adds Two". We Got This Covered. Retrieved May 7, 2018. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 22, 2016). "Enrique Murciano Cast In Netflix's 'Bright'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Evry, Max (November 9, 2016). "First Bright Set Photos Featuring Will Smith in Costume". CraveOnline Media. Retrieved November 9, 2016. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "Bright (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 7, 2018. 
  23. ^ "Bright Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 27, 2017. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ Klimek, Chris (December 21, 2017). "Will Smith Plays Cops-And-Monsters In Unremarkable 'Bright". NPR. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  29. ^ Cobb, Kayla (December 28, 2017). "Audiences Seem To Love 'Bright' As Much As Critics Hate It". Decider. NYP Holdings. Retrieved January 1, 2018. 
  30. ^ Relaxnews (December 30, 2017). "Netflix's 'Bright' lands 11 million audience, divides critics, viewers". Malay Mail. Retrieved January 1, 2018. 
  31. ^ 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. 
  32. ^ 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. 
  33. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 3, 2018). "Netflix Firms 'Bright' Sequel With Will Smith". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 3, 2018. 
  34. ^ 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. 
  35. ^ Wallenstein, Andrew (January 22, 2018). "Netflix Execs Call Critics 'Disconnected' for Bashing 'Bright' Film". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 7, 2018. 
  36. ^ "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. 
  37. ^ "Top 40/M Future Releases". All Access Music Group. December 25, 2017. Archived from the original on November 30, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017. 
  38. ^ Various Artists. "Bright: The Album". iTunes. Apple. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  39. ^ auspOp (January 6, 2018). "ARIA Chart Watch #454". auspOp. Retrieved January 6, 2018. 
  40. ^ "Soundtrack Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  41. ^ " – Soundtrack – Bright: The Album" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  42. ^ "Eri esittäjiä: Bright: The Album" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  43. ^ " – Soundtrack – Bright: The Album" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  44. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". The Official NZ Music Charts. Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  45. ^ "Soundtrack Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  46. ^ "Soundtrack Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  47. ^ Keene, Alison (December 20, 2017). "Netflix Has Already Ordered a 'Bright' Sequel with Will Smith Returning". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 

External links[edit]