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One of the biggest head scratchers for me this past week at San Diego Comic-Con was Netflix’s new original movie, Bright. I had no idea what it was, who was in it, what it was about or whether I should care, and by the end of the week, it was one of the top projects that I couldn’t get out of my head.
When Bekah and I entered the Netflix experience outside the con on Thursday, I was there for a closer look at some Defenders stuff, and to get as many pictures of the Stranger Things set up as possible for my daughter’s fan account (she is obsessed; it is unhealthy). But the majority of the experience itself was a huge promotion for Bright.
As with most Netflix vehicles, I assumed it was a new series. Color me late to the party, but I didn’t realize that Netflix was bringing original movies to its streaming platform with movie stars as big as Will Smith. Walking into the Bright set up didn’t provide any immediate answers. I’m still asking questions about what I saw.
If you took in all the graffiti, the trash, the alley way grossness, the airbrushed tattoo parlor, and the police station line-up in the first area of the Bright experience, you’d say, “Yes, this is most definitely about gangs and crime.” But the longer we stood in line, the more we noticed that the set pieces had words like “Orcs” and “Elven Area” on them, and that felt … incongruous to say that least.
The interior of the Netflix setup also had some crazy ass antler shrine, a bunch of ancient rune graffiti and some neon sign imagery that looked almost identical to the American Gods logo. If we were looking at the set of Training Day, we were simultaneously looking at part of the set for AG. NOTHING WAS MAKING SENSE TO US.
So … what exactly IS this show?? Because orcs and elves and tattoos and graffiti and police, and there was a weird picture with some kid missing. After 20 minutes of standing in this room, Bekah and I figured it was a simply gritty crime drama set in a world where magical creatures roam about wreaking havoc. And yet … I still don’t understand what this photo was except the girl running the booth died laughing at mine and said it was “the best one yet.” Um … thanks?
But then came the next room, and we got even more confused.
Through the far door things got weird. Sure, there were costumes. We saw Noomi Rapace’s bad ass suit and Will Smith’s cop uniform. There was also a ratty ass couch on one wall, and across the room? Well…there was a bloody, naked elf-woman with tentacles coming out of a hole in the wall that looked like a magical portal to Faery.
There she is. The bloody one. source
In the middle of the room stood three white-haired women, wearing white hooded robes, standing around a glass case staring at what looked like a glowing dildo. I was assured it was some sort of wand. And they were guarding it. It was weird. And yet, strangely reminiscent of the kind of thing you might expect to see on the set of an adaptation of the Fever Series. Give me a huge, gorgeous bookstore instead of the gritty urban landscape and I would have assumed that elf-woman, that tentacle portal, those white elf sentinels and that wand were straight out of the land of Jericho Barrons.
Finally, when I got home, I checked out the official trailer. So much was going on at the con, that I didn’t have time to investigate what Bright actually is, but like I said at the outset, it stuck with me. I wanted to know more. And guess what? It’s a gritty gang drama mixed with an urban fantasy. It’s exactly like it looks.
Guys … it looks SO WEIRD. But also totally in our wheelhouse. Think about it. If you were just some dude interested in the next Will Smith/Joel Edgerton cop drama, the flying fairy and the orc racism and the talk about the magic wand would weird you out. So much so that I think you’d be laughing it off.
But we here at That’s Normal have been reading paranormal urban fantasy for years. We love our city cops with a side of elven shifter or vampire cartels. We can easily mesh the ancient politics of an immortal race with the petty concerns of an LA beat cop. WE GOT THIS. Bright might just be the gateway movie that finally get The Fever Series or Black Dagger Brotherhood or Night Huntress made into premium television series. THIS IS OUR MOMENT.
Want to see more? Watch the panel highlights from SDCC.
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