The folks at Netflix thought it would be a "bright" idea to release an original movie right in time for the holidays. Having Will Smith on board seemed like a coup. All that was needed was a plot, some interesting characters, and a dope soundtrack. Two out of three isn't bad, right?

Netflix's reputation has original content creators has suffered in recent months, with quality being replaced by quantity. "Bright" might accelerate the demise of the streaming service, at least in this particular sector.

About 'Bright'

"Bright" is Netflix's first foray into original fantasy films. Directed by David Ayer ("Suicide Squad"), the movie was released on to the streaming service on December 22, 2017.

In Los Angeles, humans, orcs, and elves live side-by-side, though not always peacefully. A veteran police officer is forced to team up with a rookie orc cop who has already failed him in the past, leading to the veteran getting shot. When a magic wand and its holder are exposed, the two officers must decide between protecting themselves and protecting everyone around them while contending with the politics of the city. They also must protect a 'bright,' which has the ability to conduct magic.

Netflix flops

The premise of "Bright" shows some promise. Humans and creatures trying to live side-by-side and the inherent tension that brings. Exploring those dynamics beyond a surface-level look would've added a sense of intrigue to the movie.

But the analogy to the real world's current class and racial system is made almost immediately.

The orcs are clearly one demographic, while the elves are another - "Bright" hits the audience over the head again and again in regards to this analogy. No audience likes to be drilled with the same information repeatedly for two hours - it wears on you.

Another thing that gets old quickly? Darkness. For a film called "Bright," there sure are a lot of scenes shot under the guise of darkness, where the action moves become indecipherable. If there's no budget to shoot an action movie, don't make an action movie and try to hide its flaws under the dark of night. The sudden shifts to light are jarring, a perfect way to alienate an audience.

Will Smith can't save this movie, just like he couldn't save "Suicide Squad." His performance as Officer Ward isn't bad, it just isn't memorable in the slightest. The motivations of the character were hard to hold. They were even more unclear for his orc partner, played by Joel Edgerton.

Speaking of "Suicide Squad," director David Ayer has to share the brunt of the blame for "Bright." He seems to have sold his creative soul to be part of supernatural lore, particularly the darkness that generates it all.

Because of it, every movie he makes feels imbalanced between darkness and light. That trend is likely to continue with his "Suicide Squad" spin-off, featuring Harley Quinn.

Shine bright like a diamond

There were some decent scenes in the movie. The banter between Officer Ward and Officer Jakoby at the end of the film takes on the right tenor. The bit characters that fill up the universe are believable. Some of the stunts are cool.

Additionally, there is a roaring soundtrack to the film, much like "Suicide Squad." Rag'n'Bone Man and Logic provide the anthem to "Bright" with the film's opener, "Broken People." Bastille, Migos, even Snoop Dogg show up for the soundtrack.

But moments of levity are torn apart by worse banter for the rest of the film that makes someone want to scratch their eardrums. Some of the characters, like the immoral cops, are just annoying. Some of the action - like the scene where Officer Ward goes all "Matrix" on his fellow cops - is superfluous and silly.

And that awesome soundtrack? It's barely touched after the first scenes of the movie until the credits roll over, at which point nobody is interested. What a missed opportunity.

Final thoughts

Netflix completely dropped the ball on "Bright." A premise with intrigue and a soundtrack with pizzazz faded into darkness, obscured by bad acting, bad action, and terrible character/plot development. There are few redeemable qualities about this movie.

The fact that Netflix has already ordered a sequel to "Bright" suggests they're either tone-deaf or sabotaging their own business.

Rating: D-