WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director David Ayer’s Bright, now streaming on Netflix.
David Ayer's Bright definitely feels like a kindred spirit to Alien Nation, the classic 1988 sci-fi flick pairing a human cop with an alien partner. However, this new urban fantasy/crime film partners a human cop, Daryl Ward (played by Will Smith), with a rookie orc, Nick Jakoby (played by Joel Edgerton). Eventually, they work through personal differences to help Tikka, a rebellious elf, protect a special wand from her fellow elves, an evil group called the Inferni, while navigating the criminal terrain of Los Angeles.
While critics may not have liked the Netflix film -- its Rotten Tomatoes rating is 30 percent after all -- the fan rating is over 90%. This illustrates that Ayer and writer Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) have crafted something audiences are enjoying. Given how quickly a sequel was ordered, Netflix was clearly confident Bright would prove to be a hit.
That said, while the similarities are undeniable, the film is more than just Alien Nation for a new generation. Bright goes deeper, reflecting a lot more of the world as we know it today. Apart from its biggest differences -- high-octane action sequences and a fantasy/sci-fi narrative that's way bigger in scope -- let's look at how layered Bright actually is, and why this comparison is blown out the water.