Lion of the Blogosphere

Why did critics pan Bright (2017)?

At Rotten Tomatoes a 28% critics score and 87% audience score.

Commenter “bomag” writes:

The critics are just tools of the Narrative; they were told that the movie mocked the modern religion of Oppressed minorities by casting Orcs in the role of Blacks; thus they dutifully went out and scribbled negative reviews.

This must be the reason.

Not to say that Bright is a deep movie, but it’s deeper than typical action dreck, and deeper and more creative than the recent Star Wars movies. The recent Star Wars movies are just unoriginal and uninspired rehashes of the older movies, with confusing subplots, but instead of all the heroes being white and male, they have been replaced by sexually and racially diverse heroes. It’s pretty pathetic that the critics rate big-budget action movies solely on diversity and SJW checkboxes.

Trying to figure out why Bright violates the Narrative is in itself sort of difficult. The main star of the movie is Will Smith, a black guy. And his orc partner, whom the other police officers are racist against, proves himself to be an honest and competent police officer. Clearly the message is that the police force was wrong to be racist against the orcish cop. There is also an implied message that orcs are in their situation because of stuff that happened 2000 years ago and not because of innate racial differences, corresponding to the liberal belief that blacks must be forgiven for not behaving well because it’s impossible for them to overcome colonialism and slavery, at least not when combined with continuing white racism.

So what did Bright do wrong to violate the Narrative? I can only guess: (1) The movie showed blacks, Hispanics and Asians being racist against orcs. Only whites are allowed to be racist. (2) The Will Smith character mocks the slogan Black Lives Matter. (3) They did too good a job of showing why humans would have reason to dislike orcs. The only good orc seen in the entire movie was Will Smith’s partner, and other orcs hate him for acting human.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 6, 2018 at 3:30 PM

Posted in Movies

37 Responses

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  1. I think it’s more likely that they think the concept is so bizarre and stupid that they reject it out of hand. This also happened with 2009’s “Gamer”, another not-great but somewhat interesting/underrated movie.


    January 6, 2018 at 3:38 PM

    • “Gamer” was absolutely terrible. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to imagine how that movie could be underrated.


      January 6, 2018 at 4:15 PM

      • IMO it’s underrated because it has some of the qualities that Paul Verhoeven’s classic action movies (Robocop, Total Recall) had. It’s NOT as good as they were. But that’s part of what makes it, and Bright, interesting as movies.I feel like culture has shifted in some way such that it can no longer produce weird action movies like that and have them become classics. Instead they get dismissed and forgotten.


        January 6, 2018 at 4:39 PM

  2. The reasons you cited are very convincing. Not sure there is much mystery here.

    Legacy media, arts and entertainment grow ever more stale and irrelevant. It is amazing to see it happening all so fast.

    Otis the Sweaty

    January 6, 2018 at 3:42 PM

  3. I haven’t seen the show, but the premise sounds exactly like the movie Alien Nation (with James Caan, 1988). I saw that movie, saw it as a standard black-white buddy cop movie (but white-alien instead). The only thing I remember is that the aliens drank sour milk the way we drink alcohol, and their testicles (and thus senstive parts to punching) are under their arms rather than between their legs.



    January 6, 2018 at 4:05 PM

  4. It could be a matter of FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt). i.e. if a movie doesn’t clearly support the SJW agenda, each individual critic takes a risk by praising the movie. If the critic praises a movie which the Left determines to be RACIST, it could be a big problem for his career. Even if the determination is made years later.


    January 6, 2018 at 4:22 PM

  5. My dad (who happens to be black like me) hated the movie because he thought there was Satanic/Illuminati imagery, especially at the end.

    What a dork!


    January 6, 2018 at 4:38 PM

    • Well it did have magic in it. For some deeply religious people (maybe your dad is one?) that’s all it takes to describe something as “satanic.”

      Mike Street Station

      January 6, 2018 at 5:00 PM

  6. Professional critics along with academics know that in order to have a quiet life and to maintain their lifestyle (for example be able to afford to live in a non diverse area and send their own children to a school with fewer NAMs) they must pretend to have all the “right on” opinions and to go with the herd.

    An illustration of this. I read two novels a couple of years back, one was “A Passage to India” by some English author called E. M. Forster, and another was “Dream of the Red Chamber” by a Chinaman called Cao XueQin. The former book is about the alleged iniquities of British rule in India, and how the British were such horrible people, but is somewhat dated and is nothing special and could hardly be called a Classic. I had difficulty finishing it, to tell the truth. The latter book is an undoubted masterpiece of world fiction right up there with The Brothers Karamazov and The Canterbury Tales, and I have just bought it with the intention of enjoying it again.

    But when I looked on the web at the literature “experts'”, – academics mainly – lists of the one hundred greatest novels “Dream” didn’t even get on the list whilst “Passage” came in about fortieth!
    It is obvious that the only reason Forster’s book is rated so highly is because it is against colonialism and anti British. The Chinese book ought by rights to be in the top ten, but as they say “If a tree falls in a forest, and a white man isn’t there to see it, does a libtard think it made a noise?”


    January 6, 2018 at 4:43 PM

    • “Professional critics along with academics know that in order to have a quiet life and to maintain their lifestyle (for example be able to afford to live in a non diverse area and send their own children to a school with fewer NAMs) they must pretend to have all the “right on” opinions and to go with the herd.”

      I made a similar point to yours. I think that if a movie (1) touches on hot-button issues like race; and (2) doesn’t subscribe 100% to the SJW party line, then it’s dangerous for a critic to endorse it. If the SJW mob decides that the movie is “problematic,” it could be really damaging to the critic.

      Being a professional movie critic can be a pretty good gig and probably there are a lot of people who want your job.

      I think that it’s useful to think of the modern day United States as being like Soviet Russia. People with any degree of prominence need to be very careful about what they say about certain issues. Dissidents are pretty aggressively persecuted, perhaps not formally by the government but the SJW mob can really damage a person’s career and make life pretty miserable for them.

      Quite possibly it’s fear that motivates Hollywood studios to check the necessary SJW boxes, i.e. casting at least one black and one woman in sympathetic roles in which they are portrayed as competent, intelligent, and independent. It costs a lot of money to make a big movie and if the mob turns on you it could be a problem.


      January 6, 2018 at 5:04 PM

  7. “(1) The movie showed blacks, Hispanics and Asians being racist against orcs. Only whites are allowed to be racist.
    (2) The Will Smith character mocks the slogan Black Lives Matter.
    (3) They did too good a job of showing why humans would have reason to dislike orcs. ”

    All of these are good reasons, but I think there may be a business related reason as well: This was an expensive movie with a major movie star that went straight to Netflix. If this makes money for Netflix (and I suspect it did since they’ve already greenlit a sequel, this may be threatening to the studio to movie theater pipeline.

    Mike Street Station

    January 6, 2018 at 5:04 PM

  8. District 9 does sort of the same thing but somehow escaped the critics radar as being something they’re supposed to hate. I guess they just saw “blah…South Africa…blah…apartheid is bad…blah”. But the prawns definitely behave like an ethnic underclass and all the humans, white and black, are depicted as resenting their presence.

    Jokah Macpherson

    January 6, 2018 at 5:52 PM

    • This had me thinking of D9 as well.

      Lion, D9 would be another good one to add to your review list… is it HBD/racist or Civic Nationalist (as it’s South African-expat by way of Vancouver, BC, writer and director contends)? It’s a legitimate and non-trivial question. And, IMHO, a worthy challenge of your intellect — unlike a lot of other recommendations people have made which are little more than, “Hey, I liked this movie, you should like it too, and tell all your readers why.”

      Mr. F

      January 8, 2018 at 12:49 AM

      • If you search Google, you can find what I’ve previously written about District 9.

        Yes, D9 was an allegory for Zimbabwean refugee camps. And the aliens were useless and had nothing to contribute to human society. The aliens upper echelon probably used them as slave labor and knew how to make them do work using cruel management methods.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 8, 2018 at 7:09 AM

  9. The critics were discomfited by the group IQ differences. The elves are smarter than the humans. The Orc partner was a loyal and good guy, but he had obvious intellectual limitations.

    (Also, did you catch the hint that Will Smith is married to an elf? You never see his wife’s ears.)


    January 6, 2018 at 6:07 PM

  10. Did critics hated Independence Day too? Meanwhile watchers loved it?


    January 6, 2018 at 6:07 PM

  11. The above comments are obtuse. Critics and (climate scientists) are not as political as the commenters here.

    The fact of the matter is that critics have preconceptions that their bias their judgement, but it’s not so much about the “narrative” in this case. If a Terrence Malick film is boring as shit, it will still get positive reviews (and obviously some raves). If anything, critics had their knives out for director David Ayer and writer Max Landis. Plus, BRIGHT is a pretty shitty movie.


    January 6, 2018 at 7:28 PM

    • Yet another more plausible explanation is that critics don’t like orcs as much as the general public. According to Rotten Tomatoes, critics gave World of Warcraft 28% while fans rated it 77%. If the reviews for WoW are not as nasty as the ones for Bright, it’s almost certainly because they have more goodwill for Duncan Jones (writer-director of Moon) than Ayer and co.


      January 6, 2018 at 7:42 PM

    • Yes, some of the hatred is due to Ayer’s (and Smith’s) role in Suicide Squad.


      January 7, 2018 at 7:30 AM

  12. 2017 showed, from afar, that the same corruption which ruined video game journalism also applies to movie reviews.

    Ghost in the Shell wasn’t great, but was a well-made, enjoyable movie. Of course, the SJW mob loathed the movie before it even came out. “An Asian-American actress should have that role, even though the Japanese studio was totally cool with the role going to Scarlett Johansson!” Nevermind the issue that GitS is a Japanese property, and not an Asian-American one.

    The quality of the movie reviews was abysmal. It was clear the critics were just there to find fault in it.

    Meanwhile, the latest Star Wars movie vandalized Luke Skywalker as a character and had a purple haired lesbian bitch giving incompetent orders. Of course the critic reviews were sky high, when objectively it sounds like a garbage movie.

    You also have you wonder if certain movie companies have bought out the critics. The 2008 Iron Man movie was alright, but every other comic book movie in that series has been mediocre at best, but there’s still a lot of groupthink that you need to love them.

    The problem today is that movie tickets cost so much, and it takes so long to drive and sit for a couple of hours. You can get so much content on your phone that anything but a great movie feels like a disappointing waste of time, but it’s hard to identify what will be good and what won’t with today’s critics.


    January 6, 2018 at 7:50 PM

    • Ghost in the Shell also has a low audience score, so they are not out of whack.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 6, 2018 at 7:53 PM

      • The Ghost in the Shell live-action adaptation was simply bad. Why would anyone watch this remake that stripped out virtually all of the interesting ideas of the original and replaced it with typical Hollywood paint by numbers bad-guys-and-romance schlock?
        The controversy over the casting was a complete non-issue for anyone who ever appreciated the original. And it’s even a plot point in the remake. But even subverting the fake controversy couldn’t salvage the waste of a few hundred million dollars.

        Panther of the Blogocube

        January 6, 2018 at 9:23 PM

      • I’d still argue that the overwhelmingly bad press before the movie release pushed down the audience reaction, as did the bad reviews. The movie wasn’t excellent but the scores were lower than what it deserved.

        You can dampen people’s reactions to something if you instruct them that they shouldn’t like it.


        January 6, 2018 at 9:28 PM

    • Ghost in the Shell bored me. And ScarJo is a terrible actress, which didn’t help.

      David Pinsen

      January 6, 2018 at 8:47 PM

      • I loved Lost in Translation, but it was really Bill Murray who carried that movie.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 6, 2018 at 9:04 PM

      • She was pretty good in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, even if her main asset is looking pretty in front of a camera.


        January 6, 2018 at 9:30 PM

  13. Status in our society depends heavily on groupthink. Ergo anything that falls outside the norm won’t be praised unless everyone else is already praising it.


    January 7, 2018 at 9:27 AM

  14. Critics prize novelty much more than regular audiences. The allegorical veneer is too thin. This is essentially a buddy-cop movie, and we’re not deep into the run-time when the Orc messes with the radio and says, “I like to listening to music like this,” and the human switches the dial and says, “oh, no, that’s terrible!” I’ve seen this before. David Ayer has literally made about half dozen police corruption movies.

    Also, the act one scene where the partner helps an innocent orc escape… and then that same Orc ends up helping them in act three is almost identical to Training Day — except the cop-orc still gets shot and they need to use magic to save him. It’s just bad writing.


    January 7, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    • Lion and his commenters just forced me to watch “Bright,” by making it seem interesting. And for a cop-buddy action/comedy with sci-fi tossed into the mix, it’s surprisingly okay. A solid “B”. And I’m not a big movie watcher or a fan of action films.
      This was a movie about races and racism in an alternate universe. While most racial symbolism was obvious (orcs = NAMs), the screenplay left some things pretty ambiguous. I.e. a reasonably observant citizen of that Los Angeles would draw likely draw certain conclusions at variance with the Narrative of this world. So a certain amount of daring, there.
      There were a few major plot holes and many minor ones, presumably to lower the dramatic tension, placing more of an emphasis on the buddies’ madcap adventures, masculine heroism, and light banter. Didn’t work for me, but I suspect that the directors and writers know their target audience better than I do.


      January 7, 2018 at 4:24 PM

    • Yeah and dont forget the obligatory shooting up of a strip club, where the strippers clutch at their bikinis, scream and run for cover.


      January 8, 2018 at 2:35 PM

  15. Bright was panned because it’s ideologically and conceptually incoherent and just generally a terrible film, not because it violated the Narrative. Get better taste.


    January 8, 2018 at 12:20 AM

  16. Maybe the critics just trashed it because it was a dumb movie. I just watched it and found it pretty boring to be honest. The concept was clever but not well executed.


    January 8, 2018 at 2:32 PM

  17. Another thing to add, when I visited LA a few weeks ago, there were billboards for Bright all over the city. I assumed this was a movie to be seen at the theatre because I’ve never seen a Netflix movie advertised in that way. Not only is Netflix stomping on the territory of Hollywood, but they are doing it in Hollywood’s backyard.


    January 8, 2018 at 2:45 PM

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