So I finally watched the movie Bright. I read about this film before they released it on Netflix and immediately felt frustration. I’ve written the first two chapters to a novel with a very similar premise. In case those reading don’t know the idea behind the movie, it’s set in modern day, but in this world, mythical creatures live among us. It’s about two cops, one human, one orc, who have to work together. My book idea, which I started on years ago, was very similar, except the cop was an elf not an orc. But when I saw the movie story idea, I thought “I can’t write that book now! They’ll think I ripped it off.”
So yeah, I didn’t like when the movie came out, but I had to eventually watch it. After all, it’s a movie based on my general book idea, so I needed to see what they decided to do with it.
So… spoilers. I like to think of this thing as a sort of modern day Lord of the Rings story. We got the three main races – elves, humans, and orcs (they also have fairies, and I think I saw a centaur at one point). The orcs are considered villainous; the elves, superior beings; and the humans, we’re just the ones caught in the middle. I suppose having dwarves might have been in bad taste, seeing how this is modern day New York, and dwarfism is a real thing in the modern day world.
The main characters have to protect a magical item that can be used to resurrect an ancient dark lord (like I said, it’s similar to Lord of the Rings). The “Brights” are people that can hold and use a magic wand, a very rare object in this movie. Most Brights are elves, but in rare cases, a human is a bright. So, yada yada yada, they stop the evil, save the world, etc.
This movie is obviously about racism, and yet they miss a golden opportunity that I was hoping and expecting them to take advantage of. Brights are unusual, almost always an elf. Humans have been known to be one from time to time, but it seems that they don’t know a whole lot about how a person or creature can become a Bright.
Throughout the whole movie, they are showing the racist persecution of the orc cop, all the hatred he has to endure on a daily basis. He is genuinely a good person/orc, and has a pure heart. Will Smith’s character, on the other hand, is kind of an asshole. He is like somebody who makes offhand remarks that are racist, but not blatantly racist… more like “diet racism”.
As I watched the movie, I thought to myself, it would be great if in the end, the orc ends up being a Bright. The first, the only, orc Bright. But, alas, this was not the case. Will Smith, the asshole who had a change of heart throughout the film, ended up being a Bright, mainly because he’s Will Smith. What about the orc? He didn’t need a change of heart. He was pure of heart since the beginning. If anybody should be a Bright, it should be him. A huge basis behind racism is the thoughts that one race is superior to another. In the movie, the orcs are clearly portrayed as the inferior race. If an orc could end up being a Bright, this would prove that no race was above another. But instead, the message of the story ends up being this: You can be a wonderful person, you can do everything right, be the one who stands up for what’s right, but if you are the wrong race, you still won’t measure up to others, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
What a pile of horseshit. This reminds me of Beauty and the Beast versus Shrek.
In BB, the point of the story is supposed to be that it matters whats on the inside, not what you look like – but then the Beast turns into a handsome prince, so this defeats the purpose of the story. In Shrek, however, Fiona turns into an orc. They are teaching the same principle, but they stick to it in the end, and tell a much better story with a much more uplifting message.
So, long story short, if a story is trying to teach a valuable moral, the way this story ends is critical, because if the ending negates the lesson being taught, then it has an opposite effect.