'The Dark Knight Rises' Fans Force Rotten Tomatoes Comment Suspensionby: Posted:
Denizens of the Internet, this is why we can't have nice things.
Healthy, spirited discourse and exchange of opinions is no bad thing. The presence of dissent and contrasting views can serve to innoculate, broaden, strengthen or even completely shift beliefs and convictions. That being said, when your comments assailing critics who have seen a move you haven't force a movie-review aggregating site to suspend comments on one of the summer's most anticipated blockbusters, you have collectively s**t the bed, crawled into it and demanded to be read Hamster Huey and The Gooey Kablooey.
Yet....here we are. E! News reports that for the first time its history - and mind, it's a long history that's spanned some pretty divisive films from "Donnie Darko" to "Avatar" - RottenTomatoes has suspended commenting on a release's reviews. It's all because a few critics among the many others praising it dared posit that Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" is not the end-all, be-all of American cinema.
The comments ripping into dissenting critics weren't merely profane. Threats were made. The film currently enjoys an 84 percent "fresh" rating, but critics such as Hollywood & Fine's Marshall Fine, The Associated Press' Christy Lemire and The Village Voice's Nick Pinkerton have dared make accusations that it lacks the potency of 2008's "The Dark Knight" and that its socio-economic subtext gets out of hand quickly. Fine called it "nonsensical." Lemire deemed it a "letdown."
"As a movie writer and critic, Christy gives her opinion and we expect people will agree with some of her reviews and disagree with others," said AP managing editor Lou Ferrara, who oversees entertainment content. "It's unfortunate when the conversation turns ugly."
Site editor-in-chief Matt Atchity claims that the suspension should be lifted as early as the end of the week. Looking ahead, he fears any critic who deigns to rain on Peter Jackson's first of two (possibly, three) "The Hobbit" parades later this year better produce similar flame-retardant armor. Drastic times might call for drastic measures; at best, the site may make a move to Facebook comments, or open comments only after a movie opens. At worst, the Flixster/Warner Bros.-owned hub may follow the lead of MetaCritic and MovieReviewIntelligence and eliminate comments entirely.
"The job of policing the comments became more than my staff could handle for that film, so we stopped the comments altogether. It just got to be too much hate based on reactions to reviews of movies that people hadn't even seen," Atchity said.