Reviews of Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises are beginning to roll in, and while most of them are good, some critics weren't impressed. Those few dissenting voices have since been the target of so much fan rage on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes that the site was forced to shut down its comments section.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, the final Nolan Batman flick carries an 86 percent rating on the site. Of the 42 reviews posted so far, only six of them are negative. For a while on Monday, the film was sitting at 100 percent positive reviews, though, and when the critical pieces started to trickle in, the fans got mad.
It started Monday morning with critic Marshall Fine's review, which quickly drew fan ire for its criticisms and got so many hits that it crashed his personal website. A short time later, Associated Press critic Christy Lemire posted her take, also a negative review. Things turned sour quickly, with some commenters even leveling threats at the critics (the really bad stuff has since been removed by Rotten Tomatoes adminstrators, but you can see a sampling of the tamer-but-still-mean responses to Lemire's review here).
In the end, it got so bad that Rotten Tomatoes editor-in-chief Matt Atchity was forced to shut down comments on the reviews, and even penned an open letter to the site's users entitled "The Dark Knight Rises: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," asking everyone to just calm down.
"But if I could ask everyone for one thing, it's this: don't be a dick. Even if you think someone else is being a dick. Just take a deep breath, step away from the computer, and maybe go for a walk. Have a smoke if you need one. There are plenty of other things to get angry about, like war, famine, poverty and crime. But not movie reviews."
Atchity said he hopes to get the comments section up and running Thursday or Friday, when there are more reviews and site visitors have seen the flick for themselves (because, it's worth reminding everyone, most of the people raging against these opinions haven't even seen the movie yet), but he also said the site is considering moving to a Facebook-based commenting system (where comments can't be anonymous) or simply leaving the section shut down altogether.
Big movies with big fan bases tend to drum up this kind of heat, and sometimes the flick's stars even get in on the action, but incidents like this are a good reminder that it's always good to step back, take a deep breath and repeat to yourself, "It's only a movie. It's only a movie."
(Via NYT ArtsBeat)