A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Fight for something worth saving.
Positive Role Models
Izou shakes off his boredom and shame in order to help a young elf in need. Raiden becomes a trusted companion and good friend. Chihara and Sonya are selfless and make huge sacrifices for the greater good.
The movie is set in late 1800s Japan, and all the main characters are Japanese or Japanese elves, orcs, or other kind of monster.
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Violence & Scariness
Incredibly bloody, violent, and gory. Limbs get chopped off, necks get slashed, and torsos get run through. Blood flies and spews profusely, and many people die screaming in agony. Multiple fight scenes produce moments of gore (like a man bashing in another man's head repeatedly until there's no more head to bash in), and people get stabbed, speared, impaled, chopped in half, and beheaded. Some rifles and muskets also shoot people.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Izou works as a bodyguard at a brothel. Many women are around, but they are all clothed. One shot, from a distance, shows women in "red light" windows, as people look in from outside.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigarettes and drink sake. A man drugs a little elf girl to sleep.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bright: Samurai Soul is an animated action-adventure movie about an ex-samurai, an orc, and a magical elf girl. Together, they must try to stop a powerful villain from attaining a special wand that can emit a cleansing light of purity that can destroy the "darkness." Starring Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) in the English voice cast, this animated take on the live-action movie, Bright, with Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, isn't set in "modern day" Los Angeles, but in late 1800s Japan during the Meiji Restoration period. In this Japanese animated and set version, the story is the same, but the characters, locations, and environments are worlds apart, both by geography and by time period. Nevertheless, expect lots of violence, blood, and fighting. Limbs get chopped off, necks get slashed, and torsos get run through. Blood flies and spews profusely, and many people die screaming in agony. Some scenes are gory (like a man bashing in another man's head repeatedly until there's no more head to bash in), and people often get stabbed, speared, impaled, chopped in half, and beheaded. One of the main characters works as a bodyguard at a brothel. One shot shows women in "red light" windows as passersby look on. Adults smoke cigarettes and drink sake. A man also drugs a little elf girl. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While the animation is a hit when there's action, the visuals take a hit when there's none. Also, lots about Bright: Samurai Soul feels rushed, not just the animation. The writing and scripting also feel quickly slapped together, as does some of the editing. Indeed, this is jarring, because sometimes it produces confusing moments, like in the beginning when Raiden first appears and murders everyone, only to turn around and become a super nice guy because of one sentence he says, or like when near the end, Raiden may or may not have just been killed (only to magically appear completely whole in the film's outro). So much of this world, this story, and these characters could be great, but there hasn't been enough time to build them up and give them real backstory, history, and weight.
Lots of this has to do with trying to do something with such bare and cliched tropes: a mysterious samurai/ninja/warrior, a magical elf girl, an orc with a heart of gold and not evil, a magical source of power that can win any future war. Most anime and action-adventure viewers have already seen this movie many times. Nothing new here. But the animation is flashy during the action sequences, the voice acting is decent, and the relationship between Izou and Raiden is at least much more believable and dynamic than the live-action original's Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.