The new movie Bright is Netflix’s big entry into Hollywood-style, blockbuster filmmaking. It was reportedly the streaming service’s most expensive movie to date, costing $90 million, and was talked about before its release as having the potential to be the kind of tentpole hit that studios dream of.
The movie stars Will Smith in a fantasy twist on the gritty, buddy-cop genre movie, placing orcs, elves, faeries, and more mythical creatures into the world of the Los Angeles police department. It’s the sort of thing that often draws crowds to theaters—except most viewers will be streaming it at home, potentially upending the notion that you still need massive screens with surround sound to create a hugely successful action movie.
But whether Bright is any good depends on who you ask. Audiences and critics are completely split on the movie.
While viewers at home have given it largely positive reviews, critics have been eviscerating it, and have been gleeful about doing so. It’s not always easy to be funny in a positive review, but bad ones lend themselves to all sorts of barbs. Critics have taken the opportunity to let loose on Netflix’s pricey project, paying special attention to its premise, its dialogue, and even Smith, and have produced some hilarious lines at the movie’s expense. (Though at least almost all agree that Joel Edgerton is great as Smith’s orc partner.)
Here’s a roundup of some of the funniest lines from the brutal reviews Bright has received:
- “Bright is when Harry Potter vomits on a cop flick” – Mark Kennedy, Associated Press [Note: that was actually the headline]
- “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!” - Scott Mendelson, Forbes
- “As genre hybrids go, you might be able to imagine films less promising than director David Ayer and screenwriter Max Landis’ Bright—a Holocaust rom-com, perhaps, or a musical about zombies?” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
- “There’s boring, there’s bad, and then there’s Bright, a movie so profoundly awful that Republicans will probably try to pass it into law over Christmas break”…”Bright is essentially Training Day meets The Lord of the Rings, but much dumber than that sounds”…”Smith, in a hangdog performance so dispiriting that it might genuinely make you pity one of the world’s most successful people” - David Ehrlich, IndieWire [Note: The review, which called Bright the worst movie of 2017, even drew a response from the movie’s director, David Ayer, on Twitter.]
- “While I had the misfortune to see Bright in a theater, most people will simply press ‘play’ out of curiosity on their Roku remote. I am willing to concede that this might elevate the experience a little; the ability to take a quick trip to the kitchen or restroom after shouting ‘no, don’t pause it’ to your partner on the couch will be liberating.” - Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair
- “Netflix’s Bright is a $90 million steaming pile of orc sh*t” – Karen Han, Daily Beast [Note: That one was also a headline.]
- “Bright is a bloated, expensive mess, a Netflix movie with blockbuster aspirations and faerie-sized brains.” Brian Lowry, CNN
- “In Bright, Will Smith’s LAPD officer is riding shotgun with the first orc cop (Joel Edgerton), a bald hulk who looks like blue cheese crammed into a suit.” Amy Nicholson, UpRoxx
- “These conceits—grounded not in a fantasy universe, but a crime-ridden contemporary LA—are thrust upon us by the latest script from Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein), a man who never met an overcooked genre mash-up that didn’t, seemingly irreversibly, blow his mind.” – Tim Robey, The Telegraph
- “Smith, Edgerton, [Noomi] Rapace—it’s a decent crew, and the concept could have been developed into something intriguing if Landis wasn’t so in love with it that he forgot to write decent dialogue.” - Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
- “If nothing else, you have to admire the audacity of the Netflix executives who greenlit Bright: The core conceit of this film—a violent, R-rated cop movie that just so happens to have fantasy creatures in it—is so batshit bonkers that it’s kind of impressive that they made it, let alone spent $90 million on it.” – Katie Rife, The AV Club
- “It’s an utterly silly, completely ridiculous premise, seemingly born out of algorithm-generated, genre-hybrid logic. One can almost hear Netflix executives reading back the data analytics: ‘People like fantasy, and cop movies, and Will Smith. If we put them in a movie together we can’t lose!'” – Chris Osterndorf, Daily Dot [Note: Netflix could be right, judging by the audience response, and has already ordered a sequel to Bright.]