Rotten Tomatoes may require stricter verification to fight trolls. The popular web-based review aggregator has grown into a mainstay of audience and critical feedback on films since its early quiet beginnings in 1998. With its monthly unique global visitor’s tally somewhere in the neighborhood of 26 million, the site has become the first stop for many both before and after a film’s release.
As the site has grown in popularity, it has obviously faced its fair share of supporters and detractors. In recent years, big name Hollywood filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese have come forth to take aim at the detrimental effects of the review site and its method of stripping down films to a mere good or bad status. Beyond this - or perhaps in addition to it - Rotten Tomatoes has found itself at the center of a debate regarding trolls who overwhelm the site in the days leading up to the release of a film they don’t like and negatively review it.
In fact, the Rotten Tomatoes trolls became so irritating in the lead up to the release of Captain Marvel that the site changed its policy, disallowing users to comment on a film prior to its release. Now, according to THR, a Rotten Tomatoes rep has said that tighter restrictions - including making users verify having seen a film before reviewing it - may need to be implemented.
The Captain Marvel incident, in which hordes of trolls lashed out due to the gender of its protagonist, was unfortunately not the first of its kind for Rotten Tomatoes, either. Past battles with those more interested in gender or skin color than cinema also occurred with the female-led reboot of Ghostbusters as well as films like Black Panther and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The frustration this has caused Rotten Tomatoes and film fans alike is apparent, though at present, Rotten Tomatoes has not given any indication what their new, troll-proof system would look like or how exactly it would function. That being said, Fandango, the parent company that owns Rotten Tomatoes, clearly understands the need to put an end to this problem and appears determined to find the right solution.
Whatever the prevailing opinion on Rotten Tomatoes and its aggregate method of film review may be, it is important that trolls be shut out from the issues that don’t concern them. As this is a debate about a film related website, it’s obvious that cinephiles and casual filmgoers should be able to access untainted reviews of whatever film they choose. Stripped to its essence, this is a case of those who enjoy cinema versus those who don’t. If film review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes must take stricter measures to ensure the reviews are there for those who actually care about the amazing medium of cinema, then so be it.