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Netflix’s ‘Bright’ Featurette: Just When You Thought LA Couldn’t Get Stranger

Take a sneak peek into Bright’s fantasy world.
By  · Published on October 19th, 2017

Take a sneak peek into Bright’s fantasy world.

It’s easy to forget how far the streaming video world has come in such a short amount of time. When House of Cards launched back in 2013, audiences had no frame of reference for how a streaming TV series would work — the thought of Netflix dropping all 13-episodes at once sounded like an act of lunacy. In 2017, people are devouring streaming video content so quickly that Netflix has coined a new phrase for the behavior. Netflix has proven they know how to deliver top-notch TV series, documentaries, and comedy specials but one area where they haven’t been as dominant is feature films.

Okja, Beasts of No Nation, and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) are all great Netflix films that have done well with critics but the company has ambitions of producing event movies that can compete with expensive Hollywood titles. With their upcoming action/crime/fantasy hybrid, Bright, Netflix is looking to establish their event-movie-cred the same way that Orange is the New Black legitimized the company’s pivot into television.

Bright which has an estimated budget of $90 million is the company’s first tentpole film. The movie is written by Max Landis (Chronicle) and directed by David Ayer (End of Watch) and stars Will Smith (Suicide Squad), Joel Edgerton (The Gift), and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus). Netflix has put together plenty of talented people on both sides of the camera but Bright still may be a tough sell.

Bright tells an unconventional fantasy story about a human cop partnering up with an Orc cop to track down a magic wand on the streets of LA. And this all takes place in a gritty and “grounded” and world. Making the film a tougher sell, Bright isn’t a sequel, reboot, or based on popular source material it and it’s also rated-R. To get audiences up to speed on the film before its December 22 release, Netflix has released a three-minute featurette. Take a look below.

I’m all in on Bright’s gritty and grounded version of LA. No matter how outlandish fantasy, sci-fi, and comic book movies get, they can’t hold a candle to stories genre fans like me are used to reading. Here’s what’s interesting to me about this picture: I know plenty of people who love Will Smith movies but would never go see him in a genre movie like Suicide Squad or I Am Legend. I’m curious if the allure of an odd new Will Smith movie sitting at the front of their Netflix queue will inspire them to give the film a shot? I also wonder how many casual viewers will assume Bright is just another VOD caliber release like The Babysitter — Will Smith wouldn’t be the first action star to appear in some low-quality VOD title. Since Netflix won’t be releasing Bright’s viewership numbers anytime soon, it’s anyone’s guess.

If you think Bright looks promising you should check out Graham Baker’s 1988 sci-fi/crime movie, Alien Nation. The film is a buddy cop story featuring James Caan as grizzled cop Matthew Sykes and Mandy Patinkin as his “newcomer” partner, Sam Francisco. Although Alien Nation wasn’t well received when it was released, it spawned a short-lived TV series and developed a devoted following.

Here is Netflix’s official Bright Synopsis

Set in an alternate present-day, this action-thriller directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad, End of Watch, writer of Training Day) follows two cops from very different backgrounds (Ward, a human played by Will Smith, and Jakoby, an orc played by Joel Edgerton) who embark on a routine patrol night that will ultimately alter the future as their world knows it. Battling both their own personal differences as well as an onslaught of enemies, they must work together to protect a thought-to-be-forgotten relic, which in the wrong hands could destroy everything.

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