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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Bright movie review: every little thing it does is the opposite of magic

Bright red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Trolls the viewer and condescends to genre fans. A smirking, tone-deaf parable about racism that is itself racist, including about its made-up orcs and elves.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m a big genre dork
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

There are so many appalling things about Bright that it’s hard to know where to start. Netflix’s most expensive original movie yet is a big ball of knotted-up awful, so many threads of insult and injury that finding a way into it is giving me a headache, much as the movie itself did. Just when I think I’ve pinned down the right example of idiocy to use as a launchpad for diving into the deep end of the dumb, I realize how I can’t even begin to explain that one nasty bit without explaining the dozen other related terrible tangents. The bad is so interconnected here, feeding on itself in a sort of negative feedback loop, coiling tighter and tighter into a singularity of stupid, and then it implodes in a big bang of toxic cinema. (It’s expanding! Netflix wants to turn this into a series. God help us.)

Perhaps the best place to start is to note that Bright opens by trolling the viewer. After the Netflix logo comes a card for “Trigger Warning Entertainment,” which may or may not be an actual production company, but is most definitely a taunt. All you snowflakes, you ain’t gonna be able to handle the massive dump of un-PC reality that is Bright! Even if it’s all fantasy, elves and orcs and magic wands and shit. You dorks can’t handle the make-believe.

“Oh, no, honey. The Underworld reboot auditions are down the street.”

“Oh, no, honey. The Underworld reboot auditions are down the street.”

I feel like it is an utter certainty, like that the sun will come up tomorrow and that Netflix’s monthly fees are going up in order to pay for this $90 million monstrosity, that screenwriter Max Landis pitched this as “Alien Nation meets Lord of the Rings,” and imagined that it would write itself. (Or perhaps it grew out of some LOTREnd of Watch crossover fanfic, and that’s how Watch director David Ayer, also of Suicide Squad infamy, got onboard.) What else do you need, really, except some elegant elves in Armani, thuggish orcs, and humans stuck in the middle with no choice but to be schmucks about it? I’m not sure that Landis or Ayer understand fantasy at all, beyond the laziest motifs and visual tropes; cheap condescension to fans of the genre drips from every moment of the movie. Just have everyone intone some crap like “The Dark Lord is coming, and the Shield of Light will stop him” and “I think we might be in a prophecy” and “Only a Bright can control the Power of the Wand,” mix it up with some racist Los Angeles cops, and hey presto, hardass edgelord Landis fails upward again with yet another script that doesn’t seem to have a clue how to tell a story that people would enjoy experiencing, but is most definitely dropping some uncomfortable home truths, losers. (His last two films, Victor Frankenstein and American Ultra, flopped miserably. How does he keep getting paid for his scripts?)

Such fresh fantasy! The damsel in distress... is an elf.

Such fresh fantasy! The damsel in distress… is an elf.

Bright is so atrocious that it makes me worry that the LAPD — the racist assholes of the Rampart and Rodney King scandals, among many others — is being depicted in an unfairly poor light here. There isn’t a single damn one of them in this alternate world who isn’t a corrupt, speciesist jerk who (among other crimes) hates orcs, and really hates the nation’s first orc cop, Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton: It Comes at Night, Midnight Special). (Apparently all the different species have been living together since forever, but civil rights seems to move slower here. It took till the 21st century for an orc to break into the thin blue line? Oops, there’s me getting triggered!) (Also: Why does Jakoby have such a human-sounding name?) Jakoby’s reluctant partner, Daryl Ward (Will Smith: Collateral Beauty, Concussion), is terrible too; his arc here involves him learning how to be slightly less of a garbage person, and only very reluctantly. (Smith’s seemingly indefatigable onscreen charms have finally met their match. There is no joy in watching him here.) It’s possible that the world of Bright is intended (though I doubt it) to be a dystopia in which everyone is a garbage person, because there’s no one to like or empathize with or enjoy spending time with or root for, not even in a “hey, aren’t they awful” sort of way. Even Jakoby, who is is surely meant to be sympathetic as the butt of relentless and clearly unreasonable bigotry, comes across as Forrest Gump-ish naive at best, just plain stupid at worst, someone whom it doesn’t seem unjust to dismiss as the “diversity hire” he’s frequently called.

Bright is so atrocious that it makes me worry that the LAPD — the racist assholes of the Rampart and Rodney King scandals, among many others — is being depicted in an unfairly poor light here.

Among the most egregious of the crimes against storytelling here is that Bright is a parable about racism yet is itself racist as fuck. (Triggered!) It’s racist about real kinds of people. The Mexican gangbangers are somehow the most gangbangerish clichés ever, and the slapped-on urban fantasy junk only makes it worse. “Word on the street is there’s a Wand in this hood,” one gang leader drawls. “My hood.” Ward informs his ghetto-tastic black neighbors that “fairy lives don’t matter today,” and then proceeds to beat to death the fairy that is making a nuisance of itself around their homes while they cheer him on. (I don’t think this is saying the thing about the Black Lives Matter movement that Landis thinks it is. Or maybe it is.) But the special achievement of Bright is that it is also racist about its invented races: it posits orcs as clannish goons, suited only to be a servant class at best, and elves as wealthy sophisticated snobs who lord it over everyone else. It posits these things by literally just depicting them, and not countering them in any way… except, possibly, if you squint, by suggesting that maybe a few atypical beings might just be the exception that proves the rule. Whatever the thing to say to orcs or elves that is the equivalent of “My, but you’re so articulate!”, Bright says it.

Orcs get very cheesed off when you mistake them for Juggalos...

Orcs get very cheesed off when you mistake them for Juggalos…

After you’ve suffered through all of that, plus some inane car chases and gun battles, plus an elf damsel in distress, plus the requisite scene set in a strip club to get some tits onscreen (human tits only; sorry), plus a Shrek reference, because it’s totally plausible that in this cruel world, Hollywood made a children’s cartoon about a gruff but lovable ogre, then comes the two things that will make you laugh out loud, and not in a good way. One is such an overused cliché that it almost seems to jeer at its own obviousness, a sneering, “Oh, come on, don’t complain, you knew that was coming!” The second is that as well, and worse. It’s such an absurd bit of magic ex machina that it seems to be the entire reason for the movie’s existence — to set up that threatened series — and yet it couldn’t be more cheap or cheaty.

The real fantasy of Bright is that anyone involved could have possibly imagined that this two-hour exercise in smirking, tone-deaf attempted pandering to genre fans was a good idea. Maybe someone used a confundo charm on them. It’s the only explanation.

Bright is now in limited release in the US and the UK, and also streaming globally on Netflix.

Click here for my ranking of this and 2017’s other theatrical releases.

red light 0 stars

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Bright (2017) | directed by David Ayer
US/Can release: Dec 22 2017 (Netflix same day)
UK/Ire release: Dec 22 2017 (Netflix same day)

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, bloody violence, nudity)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Ron Hurst

    I could not agree more with everything said.. My first thought was all the PC stereotypes and I also Noticed the human like name on the orc main character and thought really..

    Nice to see a review with real incite on the reality of things.

  • Jim_Profit

    This movie was great. You critics are shooting yourselves in the foot yet again and showing the word how obsolete you really are.

  • Brian Packer

    Movie was great???? Clearly you never watched the movie. Did Netflix pay you to write that? Okay, the movie was great if you have NEVER SEEN A SINGLE MOVIE IN YOUR LIFE. The political correctness made me gag and MaryAnns’s review is spot on.

  • Steth

    If you look at this film as a commentary on systemic racism, you’re going to be disappointed. If you look at this as a throwback to buddy-cop films (which pretty much were all ironically racist/sexist as well by the way) it shows how formulaic the old genre was and you can have fun identifying the tropes: over the top gunfights and car chases, unilateral tension between partners, and contrived heroics.

    This is a movie that if you want to enjoy it, it has something for you often enough to really have fun. If you watch to critique it, you’ll find plenty to offend you. Which experience would you rather have?

  • Steve H

    Fun movie. Just goes to show that 90% of critics are hacks. This one included.

  • What PC stereotypes? This movie is the opposite of PC.

  • What did you think was “great” about the movie?

  • If you look at this film as a commentary on systemic racism, you’re going to be disappointed.

    Perhaps the movie should not have been written as a commentary on systemic racism, then.

    which pretty much were all ironically racist/sexist as well by the way

    Yes, they certainly could be. So why would anyone be remaking them today?

    Which experience would you rather have?

    How do you tell your brain to ignore the things you are seeing right in front of you?

  • What did you find “fun” about it?

    You wound me with your “hack” comment. I’ll just close up shop now, since you’re so disappointed.

  • Stein Olsen

    Another case where move critics (snobbs) clash with the people. They loved it and so did I. Another reason not to listen to “professional” movie critics and their E-list babble.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    You know the movie isn’t about racism… I guess they could have gone the childish route and pretended that a world filled with actual different races of humanoids might be a tad bit racist… As we live in a world filled with one type of humanoid and we are asshole to each other over skin pigment. If your hang up is that the world building wasn’t dishonest in this movie, then you can always return to children’s programming i heard their is another space wizard movie out. Also pixar might have cut and pasted a new movie you can follow.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    I love that the critic think this movie is about racism… This is why when you create a new franchise you can’t treat the audience like adults. Yes, a world filled with different type of humanoids is going to have racism, considering we have one type of humaniod and we can’t get along. So was the movie supposed to pretend racism doesn’t exist? To ignore that would have made this movie another children’s movie like LOTR or THE HOBBIT. Maybe Bright wasn’t meant to be watched by a 7 year olds. Maybe some adults can accept reality and like dwelling in it.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    The jokes… They were not meant for children… So i can see why you missed them. If you don’t like being a hack, then change. NO need to be bitter about it to steve he was only being honest.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    It’s not their fault… They’re just struggling with the fact we know better and can appreciate films for what they’re and not the delusional meaning some crazy cat lady attached to them.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    Well… it takes a shitty and boring idea like elves, orcs, and fairies and does something that is actually watchable unlike those film studies about new Zealand landscape by Peter Jackson. Reminds me of a game called Arcanum… the critic hated that too for being different and then it became a cult classic and you can buy it literally a decade later for the same price it costed when it was first released and it still sells. I get a feeling long after this page vanishes from existence people will still be watching bright and enjoying it. Let’s hope Mary has last half as long.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    The movie isn’t about racism…. it would be like claiming this movie is about cement because it was in most of the shots.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    So another reviewer out of touch with reality.. I give this angry impotent excuse for a review 0-10. Keep trying Mary and maybe you can get past basic world building in the sequel Netflix already green lit. It’s like watching someone get stuck on the first word in a novel and claiming the rest was bad because they didn’t understand what was happening. So you know you’re a dipshit when the original reviewer review of bright fits almost every category in the commentary bingo card. <<<—- What are you five.. this is how you avoid dealing with criticism.

  • Bluejay

    It’s interesting that so many people who say they don’t care about critics are the ones who spend their time looking up reviews, reading them, and writing snide comments about them. Yup, you don’t care what critics think at all.

  • Bluejay

    90% of critics are hacks.

    Well, yeah, but that percentage changes from film to film. If you liked a movie and 90% of critics didn’t, then they’re obviously hacks. But if you liked a movie that 90% of critics also liked, then only the 10% who disagreed with you are hacks. It’s important to remember that your opinion is the only thing that matters, and that anyone who sees things differently is obviously an idiot who can’t possibly have valid points you may have failed to consider.

  • Bluejay

    I get a feeling long after this page vanishes from existence people will still be watching bright and enjoying it. Let’s hope Mary has last half as long.

    MaryAnn has been doing this website for 20 years. You really think Bright is SO GOOD that people will be watching and talking about it 20 years from now? *shrug* Well alrighty then.

  • Beowulf

    “The critic…”
    Her name is MaryAnn.
    I love how these mush brains try to dehumanize those they disagree with.
    The Wolf, man.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m a little shocked a Netflix movie would bring out such angry people to stan for it. Max Landis fanboys still in awe over that half-baked little Superman video he conned actually talented people to help him make?

  • hoover2001

    Spot-on. My favorite part was the shot of a dragon flying over the city which was promptly forgotten about by everyone involved.

  • Tom Portengen

    It’s really amazing how dumb you are

  • Jurgan

    “To ignore that would have made this movie another children’s movie like LOTR or THE HOBBIT.”

    Are you suggesting there was no bigotry between the different races in LOTR or The Hobbit? Have you ever seen or read either of those?

  • Josh Carter

    It seems to me that most critics are just angry at the fact that race relations were commented on in this movie as a subplot and not the main A-plot. Only, this review seemed to treat the social themes as if they were the A plot main focus of the film when they simply were not.

    What anyone who read’s this person’s review will notice is that the reviewer doesn’t comment on plot, characters, performances, action or even visuals. Only thematic subplots and how they rubbed the reviewer the wrong way.

    As far as your fantasy genre tropes critique goes, I think you couldn’t be more wrong. Not sure how incorporating over-done fantasy tropes like ‘Dark Lords’ and ‘gifted heroes ‘into the last type of movie you would expect (a gritty cop drama) is anything less than innovative and intriguing…..but “Condescending”? What? Incorporating these tropes in a new and interesting way is celebrating the genre, not shitting on it. Your rhetoric DID NOT come across very well there.

    As for your real focus with this review, the social subplots and themes.

    As an mixed race individual myself, I really related to the social subplots in this movie. For example, the incredibly love-able Orc Cop who didn’t seem to fit any anywhere was a creative staple for black cops in bad innercity communites or even “Oreos”. DO I think some of the racial SUBPLOT/THEMES could have been handled better? Yea probably. For example I did notice the Mexican gangs and ghetto black neighbors and think that if AYER was smarter (Because if you have seen his movies you know this was all him, not Landis) He would have made these crime groups white or multiracial to make a stronger social commendation.

    HOWEVER do these relatively minor thematic inconsistencies warrant a 0/5 when they were not even the focus of the movie’s STORY? No, absolutely not.

    This movie brings two completely unrelated seemingly incompatible genres together in a familiar way that is somehow simultaneously new, socially aware, fun and intriguing.

    Though, yes the movie starts out as if face relations and police brutality are the center of the conflict, the wand and the battle for it, is clearly the center of the plot. The social themes are the subplot and should be treated as much.

  • FargoUT

    2 out of 5 stars for me.

    I don’t think it was quite the awful film MaryAnn says, but it is most definitely not a good movie. I admit I shut it off after 25 minutes and seriously questioned returning to finish it. Boredom and a morbid curiosity brought me back.

    However, it does become semi-tolerable around the midway point and veers into a chase for the wand, but this is not new territory for fantasy by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, they’ve done this before with “Alien Nation”, a movie I’d long forgotten and was only reminded of here. And unfortunately this writer’s imagination seems pretty limited. Noomi Rapace was the best part of this, although Edgerton tries his hardest to make the most of the hand he’s been dealt here.

    Lastly, to people who criticize movie critics for being “snobs”, you have no idea. I used to review movies, and saw over 150 a year. I very quickly grew to despise most of the crap that was released. Having to see every movie released and review them will quickly turn you into a so-called “snob” as well.

    I’m far more likely to trust critics’ opinions than the average joe “My opinion is just as valid” shmoe. I don’t always agree with the Flick Filosopher (many times I have seriously disagreed with her), but she explains well why she hated this movie, and I can see why she felt that way.

  • I like Creativity

    Im sorry I have to chime in. I am. Big fan of creativity. Most critics are not in touch with what people actually want to see. I dislike inner-city movies. I loved lord of the rings books but hated the movies. Elves in Forrest humans in cities orcs in mud…. Been done its old it’s boring. This movie was not a best of all time but it was new and different and im excited to see more. Imho the highest grossing movies dont get great reviews because of content. Example the notebook is considered to be a great movie…. The lead female is a whore and most movies that do well with critics the main female is severely damaged. When you have a female using her gender as a weapon (the elf woman was playing weak and was infact stronger then the men) the critics poo poo the movies. Never read your reviews before today and now I know why most people have never heard of you. Cheerio and keep posting this crap on the internet like you matter. Lmao the first troll to attack my grammar wins the internet….. Not really but thats how these threads work

  • Apex_Predator

    The fact that it so heavily triggered your SJW mewling made it all the better in my eyes. It was a totally average movie but RAYCISS! Just gave it an extra star in my book.

    I bet you thought the last star wars film was high minded art, didn’t you? How do you people still get paid anymore when you live in a constructed fantasy world, not unlike Bright? You are so grossly and painfully out of touch with reality its astonishing actually. Or do you live on a college campus perhaps? That would be the only thing I can imagine.

    Do you even know a single “underpriveleged” minority? Just one. Or are you too scared to walk through that neighborhood? Then don’t need middle aged white women to speak for them. I’ve asked them, believe me as I have friends of all backgrounds and social classes. In fact, it generally pisses them off. Just some advice from someone that actually lives in objective reality.

  • Eddie W

    Your clearly trying to put your own views and feelings into your review. Its been a common struggle in any universe that potrays demi humans and humans living together no matter the title. Weather it be books, movies, or tv shows. I have no clue why you have to throw it under the bus for showing something realistically. If orcs and the faye really did exist there would be a huge divide. There would be people against or with it. Their would be raciest on each side. Sitting there and saying the movie is garbage because it includes a issue that would be real is just moronic and shows your bias

  • Bluejay

    Your clearly trying to put your own views and feelings into your review.

    Um, that’s what a review is. You know what an emotionless page of information about a movie is? An IMDB entry.

  • Bluejay

    And yet you care enough about what critics think to hunt down and read reviews and post comments. If she’s so obsolete, why are you even here?

  • Bluejay

    Wow. You could have just ignored a review you disagree with, but instead you had to comment and make a personal attack on a complete stranger. It must have pissed you off that her view is different from yours, huh? What a snowflake you are.

  • Bluejay

    Cheerio and keep posting this crap on the internet like you matter.

    You took the time to read her review and post a long comment, so clearly she matters to you.

  • Bluejay
  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    Well blade runner on its released in the early 80 was claimed to be awful by the critics… People still watch it to this day. They even made a sequel more then 40 years later. Fuck people still enjoy Howard the Duck(1984) and enjoy it… So yes… I do believe a cat lady with no taste will eventually die and be forgotten. As bitching about other peoples work while offering nothing constructive yourself tends to be forgotten almost immediately. Which is why she needs to whine about a movie at least once a day to be acknowledge or remembered.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    I like laughing at idiots. Nothing more dimwitted then a critic.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    Well that is because i was generalizing critics as they tend to just repeat each other like they never watched the film and just want to come off sounding edgy. Also calling me a mush brain would be an attempt to dehumanize me for disagree with you. Fuck, being stupid must be bliss you don’t even acknowledge your own behaviour.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    Sadly, i did subject myself to both those awful stories that could have been told in minutes not hours.. not that it was peter jackson fault. What I’m suggesting is LOTR and the Hobbit are badly written stories meant for kids and they’re incapable of handling something like racism in an adult manner. There is only so much a kids movie can do before it has to pull its socks up and tell an actual story. Walking to find a ring then walking to return the ring. GREAT STORY… AMAZING… The drive thru window in “dude’s where my car?” teaches you how to write like tolkien. “AND THEN…”

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    maybe according to you… I never relied on hacks to tell me what is good or bad.. Sometime the hacks agree with me and i worry my taste is going bad but even a con artist tells a few lies that are true. So besides assuming how steve feels or thinks do you have anything real to offer? or are you just as worthless as Mary?

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    I never look it her up or read anything past her childish opening sentence… As for snide comments maybe you should look at the childish shit both you and mary wrote before running your mouth and trying to appear clever? Why do you care what i think because i baited you?

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    She got stuck on the subplot that had very little to do with the movie and ignored the rest of the film,.. Wow!! a whole 150 in a year that isn’t even a movie a day. You watch 3 movies a week for a whole year you must be a expert on films. (sarcasm)

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    lol… you don’t have to read her rant to get her point…. Just the first line… She got confused and thought the movie was about racism. maybe he is just worried for her mental health like i am about yours. how are you doing? I see you are assuming more people share your behaviour?

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    How is he a Jewish person after being incinerated by Nazi soldiers that is what calling a person a snowflake means? Also “Wow. You could have just ignored a review you disagree with, but instead you had to comment and make a personal attack on a complete stranger. It must have pissed you off that Apex view is different from yours, huh?” You just struggle with people be different from you and dealing with your own behaviour coming from someone else.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    NO that is an opinion piece… I’m glad Mary feels so strongly about movies not portraying real life issues like racism… But the movie wasn’t about racism… So when she broke down and began ranting like tool about a minor detail in the movie instead of reviewing the actual film that is what he is upset about. You just love to assume, no wonder you hate conflicting opinions.

  • Randys MarshmellowMan

    I’m amazed you figured out how a computer works? Good for you…

  • Your abuse is not welcome here. You have been banned from posting any additional comments. Take your bullshit elsewhere.

  • Your clearly trying to put your own views and feelings into your review.

    Thank you for noticing!

  • Dude, I live in the poorest borough in London.


    Hahaha. You are so very badass, we can all tell.

  • Oh, sweetie. The highest grossing movies generally have very good reviews. There are so much resources online on this issue, but here’s one place to start: http://collider.com/box-office-reviews-statistics/

    Also: *The Notebook* is rated Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. So what the hell are you even talking about?

  • Not sure how incorporating over-done fantasy tropes like ‘Dark Lords’ and ‘gifted heroes ‘into the last type of movie you would expect (a gritty cop drama) is anything less than innovative and intriguing

    Because the Dark Lord and gifted hero junk are literally nothing more than those brief mentions! Who is this Dark Lord? What is his beef with, I dunno, *anything* or *anyone*? Who are the bad elves? Why does that one elf defect from them? How are Brights involved or not involved in this? How is magic used in this world? There is no development whatsoever of what you call the plot. There is no development of the characters. Everything is just a cardboard stand-in for something. The movie is racist not because it features racism or racists characters but because it agrees with their racist assessment of the nonhuman races!

  • If people are not able to have a reasonable, grownup conversation about this movie, I will be happy to close the thread.

  • Zagreus

    I hat to say this, buy you (reviewer) are looking at this movie through an entirely political lens. Not everyone looks at EVERYTHING via politics and not everyone’s politics lines up with yours. That is why the critics and the popular opinion have diverged so wildly on Bright. I do lean left w/ my politics, but I am able to put it aside and enjoy a movie and not worry about politics in every single thing I do. They actually did get genre conventions- if you know your fantasy genre- pretty right w/ their depiction of elves and orcs. Magic is rare and dangerous. Elves are pretty, mysterious, and very agile. Orcs are strong, clan-based, tends towards violence but are not always all bad. Etc. They did a great job with the depiction- as well as the LotR movies, actually, just transferred to a modern setting, and it was interesting to see the interaction. I’m looking forward to a sequel and learning more of this world!

  • Zagreus

    It’s all there in the movie. I had no problem following it. So, *Ahem*”

    I only watched it once, mind:

    Magic users are rare. 1 in 1 million humans. More frequent among elves.

    2000 years ago there was a Dark Lord. The races (except for the orcs) banded together and used magic to put him down. Now some evil elves, led by the lead hot chick elf, called the Inferni want to bring the dark lord back and put him back into power (presumably through magic somehow).

    Tika (The other elf with Will Smith and the Orc Cop) defected, stole the wand, and was hunted by the Inferni elves to get back the wand so they can bring back the Dark Lord. The wand is the story’s macguffin, everyone wants it to try to use it/sell it/etc. They will kill for it and that puts our heroes in danger.

    Not that complicated.

  • ratty32

    All I want for Christmas is for Max Landis to be run out of Hollywood in disgrace and never work again.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    A review is, by its very definition, an opinion piece. I realize you’re new at this, but, come on!

    Honestly, who are these people? Why are they defending this movie?

  • Infodumps are not worldbuilding.

  • I think this is one of those cases where the backdrop/genre totally blinded me to the negatives. I enjoyed it. Hey big surprise I can like a movie that MaryAnn pans and still enjoy her reviews. Who would have thunk it.

  • Zagreus

    They had it in different sections, not all in one infodump. Just curious, are you a fan of genre literature? My theory is that most critics who aren’t too keen on this film are not really fans of genre stuff or speculative fiction in general and only know the big names in sci-fi fantasy that have been presented in film (i.e. Star Wars/Trek, Superheros, General Sci-Fi, Horror, etc.) But if it’s not known to them they have a knee jerk reaction against it. Genre hopping is a popular convention.

    In fact, all most sci-fi/fantasy/superhero stuff are examples of genre hopping- it’s just in a form you’re already more accustomed to. Some of us are already willing to accept Orcs and alt-history as a viable film option. What is Superman but a science-fiction fantasy? There was no real reason how and why he flew. It’s ridiculous on the face of it. But, accepted within the confines of the film.

    This film just says, there is rare magic, and some alternative fantasy based-races living among us, and then makes some logical points from that basic assumption. It seems like just rejecting it because you don’t like it. Which is fine, you’re allowed to do that. But if you’re up front with your biases it will make you a better critic I think. There is a reason for the divergence for the public opinion and the critical one.

    Food for thought.

  • Danielm80

    MaryAnn is very open about her biases and talks about them at the beginning of every review, with slightly playful spelling. For instance, at the top of this page, she says:

    I’m “biast” (pro): I’m a big genre dork

    I’m “biast” (con): nothing

    You might also look at the list of her all-time favorite movies, which includes a number of science-fiction and fantasy films:


  • FargoUT

    I was not a professional critic (this was back in the early days of the internet), just started as part of the Online Film Critics Society, so I was paying for all the movies I was seeing. Since it was a hobby, I didn’t have time or money to see all the movies released. But my tastes in film changed quickly after forcing myself to see movies I would have ignored otherwise. Having to review them simply made me resent mediocre movies (truly bad and great movies were both fun to write about). Bright is a mediocre movie.

  • FargoUT

    It was incredibly predictable too. As soon as they said, “Only 1 in a million humans is a bright”, I said to myself, “Gee, I bet Will Smith turns out to be a bright.” That’s just bad writing, no matter how you look at it.

  • FargoUT

    Well, the movie itself presents through a political lens. It’s written to be political. “Faerie lives don’t matter” is just one indicator. In fact, a good chunk of the movie is dedicated to social commentary. That you chose to ignore it is fine, but it’s purposefully written with that in mind.

  • Zagreus

    Honestly, I don’t think anyone should be that surprised by that. They telegraphed it. If it came out of nowhere, without a little back story, THAT would have been bad writing.

    Just like it’s not surprising when the bad guy defeats the good guy in the end. It’s the journey and how you get from A to B and if you enjoyed the path. So, sorry, another fail.

  • Zagreus

    Well, I missed that bit then, fair enough. So many critics trashed this film and so many folks liked it (I think it pushed a lot of the “wrong” buttons with critics- the “wrong” politics, an unusual genre bending) yet many liked it. So I’m left wondering- “What’s up with the critics?” (In general) This also happened with “The Orville”, for example.

  • Zagreus

    Honestly, I just took it to be a bit of a joke. I’m actually a left wing person. Pro-gay rights, pro-black rights, pro-gay marriage, etc. It was Will Smith beating up a little winged annoyance. His character is intentionally kind of, not a great guy, I’d call him “grey”, in the sense that he’s not great (kills the faerie, doesn’t object to police brutality at times) and just wants to get his pension and get out.

    They’ve depicted a guy who was once more honorable but had that worn down over the years, but it started to come back. I thought it was a pretty good characterization, actually. I just don’t look at everything through a political lens. It’s a pretty polarized climate these days, I know. But I wish film reviewers would, occasionally, just review film without being “left” or “right”. I’m left, but we could use less politics these days.

  • Brigadon ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ✓

    I just watched Bright, and I thought it was utterly wonderful for a modern movie. There was a ‘little’ political correctness, but it was almost entirely lampshaded by the orcish/elvish dynamic, or by the simple fact that it simply did not MATTER that every white dude in the movie was either corrupt or sadistic… Because pretty much everyone else was too.

    The special effects were absolutely perfectly balanced to provide visual story cues and enhancement WITHOUT making themselves the centerpiece of the story.

    Will Smith actually made several facial expressions that, while a bit ridiculous, he has NEVER MADE BEFORE. (check out his weird face in the orc lair wand scene… no more spoilers). That means he STRETCHED himself as an actor. Not a really great Stretch, but this movie basically DOUBLED the range of emotion he has ever displayed before.

    The casting was amazing, to say the least. The Chemistry between the characters was incredible, primary stapled down by a nearly amazing and unexpected performance by Lucy Fry as ‘Tikka’… every character she interacted with she had some sort of chemistry with, as did Noomi Rapace’s ‘Leilah’.

    The elves were… to put it bluntly… incredibly well acted. While only a few conveyed real menace, they utterly dominated every scene with palpable arrogance, as well as Charisma. Edgar Ramirez was…. Just… I mean, he had like only a tiny couple of lines, but every time he walked into a room, he was the FOCUS of that room, He FELT like a very powerful, charismatic, Arrogant, and ANCIENT elf. Even when Anderson was kicking some dude’s butt in an interrogation room, Ramirez was still… drawing your focus even when partially offscreen.

    Yes, this movie had no heavy-handed and dreary analysis of politically correct ‘problems’, and you can literally tell the writer realized that people are SICK of getting preached at…. The problems were there, but there was no undertone of liberal solutions to pollute them.

    The Orcs were clearly incredibly difficult to grasp. Clearly the temptation to ‘Klingon’ them, like world of warcraft, was there… but the writer managed to make them sympathetic without diminishing their brutal, violent, criminal nature in the slightest.

    It let you THINK about modern problems via Metaphors, without a hint of the sanctimonious social engineering that most movies like this try to shove down your throat.

    Another awesome thing is that at the end, somehow the writer left the thing WIDE open for sequels, WITHOUT leaving the story unfinished. And none of that ‘explain nothing’ crap like in Hancock, either. The ending was fairly Decent… not terribly original, but who wants an ending that critics consider ‘original’? Critic ‘original’ endings are mostly depressing, killing off the most important or beloved characters and revelling in sinking into apathy or personal horror.

    Forget critics. Most of them wouldn’t know a decent movie if it bit them on the butt. “Bright” doesn’t let you down halfway through the movie like most Hollywood offerings nowadays.

  • Danielm80

    Two thoughts about this review:

    (1.) The Opposite of Magic would be a good name for a fantasy novel.

    (2.) I want to see Zootopia again.

  • Bluejay

    So I’m left wondering- “What’s up with the critics?” (In general) This also happened with “The Orville”, for example.

    The problem I have with the “critics vs general public” and “critics are idiots/irrelevant” arguments is that they’re clearly the result of blatant cherry-picking. I bet you can easily list a dozen movies (maybe even some from the list of MaryAnn’s favorites that Danielm80 linked to) that both you and MaryAnn enjoyed, and for similar reasons. I bet you can also come up with substantive lists of movies that both you and MaryAnn hated, and lists of movies where your opinion is at odds not just with critics but with the majority of viewers — films you loved despite their being commercial bombs, or films you hated despite the general public lapping them up.

    The simple fact of the matter is that people all have different opinions. There’s no monolithic “public” or “critics” — there are regular viewers who dislike Bright and critics who have given it good reviews. Sometimes one’s opinion will line up with critical consensus or general consensus, and sometimes it won’t. That doesn’t mean anyone who doesn’t agree with one’s opinion is automatically a moron deserving of personal attacks, or a group of bubbled elites whose mysterious thinking you can’t figure out. I wish more people actually tried explaining their opinions by discussing the film, rather than by demonizing and dehumanizing the reviewer as a go-to move. (I’m not saying YOU’RE doing this, but so many commenters on this thread clearly are.)

  • Tonio Kruger

    The Opposite of Magic would be a good name for a fantasy novel.

    Funny that you bring that up, Danielm80…


  • Miss Carter

    I really enjoyed reading this critic review, not because I agree, but because I wanted to see the great lengths people go through to deflect the fact that they are racist. If you think this movie is about racism, it probably was. Art can be interpreted in many ways. But to say that you are offended at the fact that YOU think its about racism says more about you than it does the film. Just curious, are you as enraged about this film as you are actual racism? Don’t worry I’ll wait………………………….

  • Miss Carter

    people who care about films write/ read about them. Obviously you cared enough as well

  • Danielm80

    I would argue that this film is actual racism, but even if you believe that “actual racism” has to occur face-to-face, what possible reason would MaryAnn–or any decent person, really–have for not being enraged?

  • FargoUT

    I agree that his character was not a great guy, but dropping the line “faerie lives don’t matter” is intentionally driving politics into the film, and because it comes early in the movie, implies the movie itself is inherently taking a political point (whether satirical or not).

    It’s not just a joke. Because they injected politics into the movie themselves, it opens the film up to political discussion instead of just a basic “popcorn flick”. I would have gladly just watched it mindlessly as throwaway entertainment, but that single line of dialogue was a clear indicator that they were making statements and intended to involve the viewer.

    It’s funny how one line of dialogue can do that, but it was definitely on purpose.

  • Bluejay

    There’s a difference between a story that is ABOUT racism (lots of movies about the civil rights movement are ABOUT racism, and about people fighting it), and a story that is racIST (i.e. showing racist attitudes toward the characters itself). MaryAnn thinks this film is racist. You may disagree.

    I’m not sure what you’re arguing. If you’re offended at something that you think is racist, that makes you racist yourself? So we should never complain about anything, because whatever we complain about is actually what we are? If you complain about Nazis, that means you’re a Nazi?
    How does that work?

  • Bluejay

    Yes, I care! I never claimed that I didn’t. But people who claim they don’t care what critics say should, you know, stop reading what they say.

  • Bluejay

    it opens the film up to political discussion instead of just a basic “popcorn flick”.

    I would go further and say that ALL films are fair game for political discussion, even popcorn flicks. Politics, fundamentally, is how we see the world and how we relate to people, and every time we tell a story, we put our political perspectives into it, whether we’re aware of it or not. If some viewers want to laugh it off, that’s their choice (and maybe indicative that they are in a comfortable position to laugh about those things), but that doesn’t mean that it’s unreasonable to examine a film’s underlying assumptions and attitudes.

  • Aw, shoot. I was rather enjoying the fireworks. I just watched Bright and am writing my review now. No, it was not a masterpiece, but hardly as bad as many critics characterize it. It’s just a movie, not a vaccine.

  • Zagreus

    I agree, but there used to be a time where movies could make off-color jokes and be a little non-PC and not be relentlessly trashed by critics. I am left in my politics, but also believe in freedom of speech and am not overly offended by most material. I took this movie to be a kind of 90’s cop-buddy movie, with harsh language, random nudity, AND orcs, elves and magic. It seemed like it was a movie more geared to straight guys (random female nudity), who aren’t overly PC (random off colored jokes) and so many people were offended. I, personally, loved it, as I wasn’t triggered by anything presented and enjoyed being respected as an adult who could handle the material.

    Maybe we can get to the point where we can understand that not everything has to be for everybody, and just because something isn’t meant for you isn’t bad. I don’t usually enjoy Japanese horror movies. That doesn’t mean they’re bad. Though if I was a critic, I probably shouldn’t review them. My review would be, “This is sick. Don’t watch this. Next.”

    Hell, I thought I should be a movie critic in my spare time for fun. But, I have a job that pays me well and it doesn’t seem like enough fun :)

  • Bluejay

    Maybe we can get to the point where we can understand that not everything has to be for everybody, and just because something isn’t meant for you isn’t bad.

    It may not be bad for everyone, but if you don’t like it then it’s bad FOR YOU. And if you’re a critic, your job is to write about things from YOUR perspective, talking about how YOU think something is good or bad (because how can you authentically put yourself in the headspace of anyone else?).

    MaryAnn really disliked this film, and laid out the case for why she thinks it’s racist. She’s done her job as a reviewer, which is to honestly describe her response to the film. It’s not her job to apologetically preface every sentence with “Well, this is what I thought, but you may think differently,” because that should already be obvious and says nothing useful. She’s not forcing every reader to agree with her; that’s for the READER to decide. If you enjoyed this movie, good for you. You’re entitled to your enjoyment, just as MaryAnn is entitled to her opposing opinion.

    I don’t usually enjoy Japanese horror movies. That doesn’t mean they’re bad. Though if I was a critic, I probably shouldn’t review them. My review would be, “This is sick. Don’t watch this. Next.”

    And there’s nothing wrong with writing a review saying you think a film is sick, and then explaining why. MaryAnn has done this many times. Professional critics have to write about movies of all kinds, and they’re not required to like everything. (How dull that would be!)

    I think negative reviews can be as useful as positive ones, if not more so. Don’t you think it’s useful to find a critic whose taste you trust, who can warn you away from terrible films and save you some money? Don’t you at least glance at RT scores and think twice before paying for something with a zero rating? And a well-written negative review can be an entertainment unto itself (NPR’s “Sharknado” review is a classic).

  • Zagreus

    To be honest, I haven’t found any critic who’s taste I can trust. I’m dating myself here, but I’ve been watching movie reviews since I was a little kid- so it used to be “Siskel and Ebert” where I could usually agree with one of them, or at least I could see the merits of the arguments they would have. But they’re dead.

    That show was genius, they often disagreed, but usually if they both agreed (whether the movie was good or bad) they were usually right…

  • Bluejay

    Well, Siskel and Ebert would have disagreed with your argument that critics shouldn’t review films they think are bad. They weren’t afraid to say when they thought a film sucked, and why.

  • Bluejay

    Case in point: “Seven of Roger Ebert’s Most Brutal Movie Reviews”


  • John Doe


    Thank you for this critique! I only wish I had read it before I watched this ridiculous “film” (can we even call it that?). My wife put it on because it is always the banner on our Netflix, and we have previously enjoyed lots of “Netflix Originals”, but this movie was toxic. I nearly lost it when the black neighbors were stereotypical “hoods”, and I did lose it when they freaked out about going through “elf town” which was full of rich WHITE elves that were portrayed as evil beings. I’m so sick of Hollywood trying to make me feel bad for being white, I didn’t do anything wrong, I don’t deserve this terrible portrayal. To be fair, no “race” was portrayed nicely in this movie, there was plenty of hateful stereotypes to go around. Blacks and Hispanics were low grade thugs and “hoods”, orcs (potentially Native Americans?) were even lower class and more thuggish. The only people portrayed as normal were the two Asians, but even they appeared to be “diversity hires”. This movie was an annoying diatribe from start to finish, and the people acting as though this movie was a great cinematic feat are the proponents of the continued hate in the community. If movies like this continue to receive praise, then we will keep getting the same hate-filled rhetoric and bullshit from Hollywood.

  • Beowulf

    No, mushbrain was to insult you!
    The Wolf, man.

  • I wrote my review if you care to check it out at Ruthless. Basically, I did not find it to be a masterpiece, but neither did I find it to be as bad as you described. It was just a movie, but quite watchable. I think you protested too much.

  • Good read. You can write for me anytime.

  • You too, can write for me anytime. Great review.

  • Just curious, are you a fan of genre literature?

    Huge. You might try reading some of my reviews of genre films, for starters. Unless those films don’t pass your gatekeeping as genre.

    I will repeat: Infodumps, no matter how often they are repeated, are not worldbuilding. This does not feel like a world in which magic excuse and a Dark Lord might literally arrive to wreak havoc.

    It seems like just rejecting it because you don’t like it.

    That’s not what I’m doing.

    But if you’re up front with your biases it will make you a better critic I think.

    Dude, I literally AM up front with my biases. Like, they’re right up there at the top of my reviews.

    Food for thought.


  • Yep, obviously women and ‘special snowflakes’ are going to hate it, because they are simply unable to see the deep messages which are clear to men.

    *dies laughing*

  • But to say that you are offended at the fact that YOU think its about racism says more about you than it does the film.

    Where did I say that?

  • I’m so sick of Hollywood trying to make me feel bad for being white

    Please don’t take my side here.

  • Brigadon ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ✓

    Do you want to be buried or cremated?

  • Beowulf

    Violent trash.

    The Wolf, man.

  • Jim_Profit

    Who cares. People like you are killing your industry with dishonest politically driven reviews like this.

  • Jim_Profit

    It takes literally a minute to read. No effort here

  • Jim_Profit

    Interesting take on an old genre. It wasn’t a remake of an existing property. Wasn’t a superhero movie. Wasn’t Star Wars. It tried to be something different while world building a whole universe people want to see more of. It wasn’t perfect but I would give it a 6.5-7 out of 10. It’s insane how out of touch you guys are with this compared to general audiences but that isn’t a shock when you try to force politics into everything you do. Streaming movies being the dominant thing can’t come soon enough to make you guys obsolete.

  • Jim_Profit

    Why are old baby boomers so angry and volatile all the time?

  • Bluejay

    And yet you’re back, and you responded to me, and you’re littering the thread with more comments. Nice way to show you don’t care what we think.

  • Bluejay

    People like you are killing civil conversation.

  • Bluejay

    You should have stopped after the 6th sentence. Your response to the film itself is worth sharing and discussing. Your personal attacks aren’t.

  • Bluejay

    Why are you incapable of disagreeing without turning it into a personal attack?

  • People are like, “well, the critics on RT hate it, but the audience score is really high, so I guess that goes to show us regular folks know a good movie when we see one!”

    Everyone, that’s what they said about Batman V Superman.

  • Hatori Hanzo

    I liked it. Why? Because I liked it.

    I don’t think they should make a sequel, they should make it a series. They could get away from the cop thing a bit and have the story work around the shield of light verses the inferni and the pursuit of wands and such. Also, throw in a dwarf or two and give centaur a recurring speaking role. No, a talking horse? What was I thinking? And just one dwarf not two. And kill a fairy every other episode, half of them by accident.

  • bronxbee

    “some crazy cat lady…” just as a point of actual fact, maryann johanson does not own a cat. and you obviously do not own an intelligent or rational bone in your body.

  • bronxbee

    how much does NetFlix pay you?

  • bronxbee

    how do you know “so many people liked it”? just the friends that you hang with? is there a proof of audience pleasure? as maryann johanson has pointed out about a million times (slight exaggeration for effect here)… this is her critical opinion, and she doesn’t force it on anyone else…

  • bronxbee

    another one of the nameless rabble of trolls and paid spam bots heard from.

  • bronxbee

    what are you looking for???? every critic to say “what can i write about this movie that will make Zagreus happy?”

  • Oh my goodness! You’ve hit on the very problem with my industry! I shall instantly begin writing honest reviews! You’ve caught me redhanded in lies! Shame on me.

  • You think this movie isn’t overtly political and I had to “force” politics into it?

    You think streaming movies being “dominant” will make critics obsolete?

    The fantasy world you are living in is infinitely more robust than the one in the movie. Bravo!

  • I don’t know if that’s true, but perhaps you should ask an old baby boomer.

  • Exactly. The real people who don’t care about critics don’t ever bother
    with sites like RT or visiting places like FF. Someone like my brother
    has no clue FF or MaryAnn even exists.

  • YES. THIS. I get SO tired of people lumping all critics under one umbrella like they are some collective hive mind or something.
    Generally if a movie gets a lot of bad reviews from critics it’s probably because its not very good, not because critics all think with the same brain. Same response with positive reviews.
    Historically the general public IS more lenient in regards to a movies quality. A lot of mediocre and just plain bad movies get positive audience scores.
    Personally I trust a critical consensus far more than an audience one. It’s because I tend to think like one. I actually care about good stories, characters, plot points, etc.

    Critics ARE a part of the audience. Just with a closer eye on what good and bad in a movie. I like that.
    Bright looks horrid and I won’t go near it.

  • Opposite for me. The trailer is awful and no way could I go into this with a positive view. Even before all the bad reviews came out. It just looks so cliche and corny. The only way I would watch it is if it actually did get a ton of positive reviews. Then I might give it a shot.
    I’ve found a lot of great movies that I wasn’t interested in initially but watched anyway due to overwhelming critical reception. This is NEVER the case with audience scores, BTW.

  • Dude, you were doing great, writing an actual thorough review, and then completely derailed in the last few paragraphs. Like WAY derailed. *sighs*

  • Bluejay

    He self-identifies as “deplorable” in his username. That should have given you a clue that he was going to spew something eventually. :-)

  • Eddie W

    Thats not a compliment. A movie review should be non biased. That means if your against something in real life you shouldnt project your fealings into the review. you should touch on it but not harp. If you are a true movie buff you would have seen a few movies in the fantasy genre. How do they all turn out when the races mix? most turn out just like this. The fact there is a segregation of fantasy creatures is a plot point in the movie. It not the entire story and thats what you wrote your article on. You made it seem like Netflix made this movie to be racist or something. Its ok to put your own vies or feelings in a review. they just need to make up less than 10% of the page in my opinion. Ive seen so many movies and can pick them apart like most movie critics. I can guess plot points very easily and it makes most movies this day and age kinda suck because their is no originality. But i dont care what you say about this movie. Its original to its core. This has not been done before in this fashion. A basically modern setting of the LOTR movies is a kinda cool idea. If your not into fantasy movies, its simple dont review them because you have no clue what your talking about when it comes to actual important plot points and moments compared to what a person who loves the genre wants out of a review.

  • Eddie W

    Nope, a movie review should touch on all aspects of the movie and keep from being biased. And it certainly shouldnt contain a rant like this ladys that takes up half the article. A review should list a few things and thats it. A reviewers short personal opinion, facts about story line, actors roles, setting, and finally how well it was done. It should not be a 1000 word essay on a single issue a movie reviewer has with the movie

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    A movie review should be non biased.


  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yep. No seriously, child, go learn about how art criticism works, and the difference between “objective”, and “subjective”, and the role of biases in all of the above. Also, would that you would take your own advice on “short”.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So, I watched this on NYE*, and honestly, it’s not worth the level of attention it gets. It’s the kind of B-movie SFF fare that, had it been made 20 years ago, Will Smith wouldn’t have touched it with a 10 foot pole. And it would have been the exact same movie: same crappy effects, same tone-deaf casual racism, same faux dystopian setting, same cliche riddled script, same “failed TV pilot” vibe. With this movie, it’s become clear that David Ayers has crawled completely up his own ass. (Max Landis was born there.) And speaking of Landis, for who a dudebro who fancies himself plugged into geek culture, he can’t seem to keep track of his own setting, and has zero conceptualization of world building. He basicaly wrote, “Just like the real world, but with orcs and elves” and called it a day. And you can’t do that. There is no way that would hold together. At one point point, the Latino sheriff’s deputy says to Nick, “Us Mexicans are still taking shit for the Alamo.” Landis clearly thinks this is the height of wit. But the battle at the Alamo happened in 1836, and the line comes immediately after Nick complains that orcs have been feeling the brunt of racism for 2000 years. (Also, no mention of how many orcs and elves fought at the Alamo, and on what side.) Plus, 2000 years is an awfully specific number to then not even mention another supernatural event purported to have occurred in the real world at about the same time.

    * In fairness, Mrs. Dr. Rocketscience and I were about 4 cocktails into our evening. MDR saw Will Smith’s name and said “That!” I warned her that it was going to be pretty bad, and she replied “Perfect!”

  • Bluejay

    Its original to its core… A basically modern setting of the LOTR movies is a kinda cool idea.

    Um, if something borrows from the LOTR movies, it’s not “original to its core.”

    Movie reviews ARE OPINIONS. I challenge you to share a link to ANY movie review that you approve of, and I’ll show you exactly how much the author puts their opinion into it.

    If your not into fantasy movies

    Dude, seriously? “If you don’t like this, you don’t like the whole genre” is just about the laziest assumption you can make. Maybe try reading her other reviews (of LOTR, for one) before you wind up sounding like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Eddie W

    Lol ok you try to seem intelligent but attempt to belittle me in the same sentence. I did write a short comment if compared to her review. My opinions are not based on text book bullshit written by people who make movies. Their based on thousands of hours of conversations with other real life movie buffs and what we think makes a good review of a title. Most move reviewers dont know that more than half their audience doesnt judge movies the same. And not all art can be judged in a single fashion. Go home Dr. Your drunk

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    In fairness, I’m not having to try very hard.

    Their [sic] based on thousands of hours of conversations with other real life movie buffs and what we think makes a good review of a title.

    So… you and your bowling buddies, or what? Because, somehow, you still don’t know how criticism works.

    dont know that more than half their audience doesnt judge movies the same.

    I quote Carlin: “Think about how stupid the ‘average’ person is, and realize that half of them are stupider than that.”

    And not all art can be judged in a single fashion.

    And yet the only valid criticism is that which conforms to and validates your own views. All else is biast.

    Yes, clearly I’m the drunk one.

  • Aaron Erb

    I think one aspect of the movie that might be being missed is its commentary on the fantasy genre.
    What you note as the film’s racism about the various species is standard fare in Tolkien and those who have followed him. Tolkien’s elves are pictured as the classic white master race down to their northern European appearance. Orcs are not only ugly, stupid, and of poor hygiene, but evil. (In Bright, they merely sided with evil once long ago). And being evil, we can do what we like to them.
    What’s more, the elves are much more human than the orcs. This of course mirrors the racist compact in which the white working class, rural poor etc are enticed to support the political & economic dominance of upper echelon whites rather than band together with other working class people. Tolkien’s story even goes so far as to allow that a particularly noble human (working class/non-elite white) could get it on with an elf (elite white). But a human with a disgusting orc? “I wouldn’t want my daughter marrying one.”

    On another note, I disagree that Jakoby is potrayed as naive or stupid. I think he’s potrayed as someone who has learned how to behave to get where he is. He’s overly deferential, non-assertive, waits for cues from his “betters”, is conditioned to see himself as “less than” (e.g. his shocked, nervous exclamation “Did you see that? I just shot those two *humans*”.) He’s trying take a place among those who he is conditioned to believe he has no place among. There’s the commentary on systemic racism.

    By the way, if you think it’s odd that an orc would have a human name, ask yourself how African Americans came to have names like Michael Johnson.

  • Eddie W

    Ok #1 i dont have bowling buddies. I do however know how criticism works. Just like right now you somehow feel the need to offend me somehow. To criticize the fact i think the way i do. Ive been a member of a very large cinema club for years. I have discussions on quite a few message boards from time to time as well. I also have had quite a few film snob friends that would like to believe movies should be judged on a single scale. I have no clue exactly what ive said that has caused such aggravation that you feel the need to lash out. But maybe you just enjoy arguing on these posts but cant come up with a actual argument to counter others views so you just blindly pick theirs apart and try to offend.

    I do believe in people opinions and open criticism of things such as music, art, movies, and even video games. I know their can be a completely different way 2 like minded people can view something. But like ive said in my posts when a person who reviews something that gets paid for that review they should remain unbiased. So if you dont get what i mean ill explain. This nice lady went on a rant during her movie review about a single subject of the movie. To me and even a friend i forwarded the article too we both got the impression she see’s racism everywhere. In a way that a feminist thats over the top see women oppressed every where. Or if i may, a person seeing people watching them everywhere.

    I only wanted to point out the fact that instead of concentrating on the movie itself she felt the need to pick apart the universe it was set in and critisize the writer and director for making said universe. Instead of doing the homework and realizing this is a common theme for books, tv, movies that when you put multi species communities so close their is strife. But she felt the need to call it “racist” when it is in fact nothing of the sort seeing how all of the different species are just that. different species. You cant say a deer is racist to a fox because thats just moronic. Their not of the same species.

    But hey its cool that youve come up with so many ways the author was in fact correct in her review instead of just screaming loudly about how im selfish, dumb, and easy to pick on. Your name even infers some sort of superiority towards others when you speak on these things so i guess you just need to feel smarter. Instead of picking apart others statements and throwing them back with a little flair lets have a intellectual argument on the actual property in which this message thread is on.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Ok #1 i dont have bowling buddies.


  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I do however know how criticism works.


  • Eddie W

    You should change your name to something like Dr. AwfulTroll

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Says the snowflake who thinks “A movie review should be non biased”?

    Nah, I’m good.

  • You’re adorable! Thanks for stopping by.

  • not all art can be judged in a single fashion


  • I think one aspect of the movie that might be being missed is its commentary on the fantasy genre.

    There is no commentary on the fantasy genre. It merely depicts racism (and also depicts humans in straight-up racist ways). It offers no commentary whatsoever on the racism, except to suggest that it’s justified — like by how orcs once sided with evil — and not the result of cultural institutions and horrific traditions.

    By the way, if you think it’s odd that an orc would have a human name, ask yourself how African Americans came to have names like Michael Johnson.

    That’s a result of slavery, of the ownership of black people by white people. What does that have to do with the orcs in this world?

  • when a person who reviews something that gets paid for that review they should remain unbiased.


    If you read a review and you think the critic is not biased, it’s because YOU SHARE THAT CRITIC’S BIASES.

    This nice lady

    I’m not nice.

    To me and even a friend i forwarded the article too we both got the impression she see’s racism everywhere. In a way that a feminist thats over the top see women oppressed every where.

    Oh, well, if you and your friend agree that racism and misogyny ISN’T LITERALLY EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD, I guess that must be true.

    I only wanted to point out the fact that instead of concentrating on the movie itself she felt the need to pick apart the universe it was set in and critisize the writer and director for making said universe.

    The mind boggles.

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