News broke last night from Vulture that a film PR company called Bunker 15, paid lesser-known critics for positive reviews for a movie called Ophelia which starred Daisy Ridley aka Rey Palpatine.
In 2018, Bunker 15 was in charge of promoting Ophelia, a reimagined feminist
rant of Hamlet. As you would expect from a movie like this, it received a pathetic 46% score on Rotten Tomatoes from “critics” who had seen an early viewing. To improve this, Bunker 15 reached out to less prominent critics and paid them an eye-watering… $50 (cheap bastards) for a positive review, and as a result, Ophelia‘s Rotten Tomatoes score increased from 40% to 62% and was therefore certified as “fresh”. Interestingly, the next month, the distributor IFC Films announced that it had acquired Ophelia for release in the U.S.
Let’s be honest, if the only 4-star reviews you have to put on your poster are from critics at The Young Folks, The Film Yap, Screen Queens, and Common Sense Media, (and no disrespect to them, as awesome as we here at Last Movie Outpost are we are hardly Empire Magazine status), you know you have a movie that is a piece of shit on your hands.
Rotten Tomatoes Fight Back
Rotten Tomatoes was not oblivious to Bunker 15’s scheming and removed several reviews and issued a stern warning to the authors, emphasizing their commitment to score integrity and their zero tolerance for any attempts to manipulate ratings. Laughable.
In a statement, Rotten Tomatoes wrote:
“We take the integrity of our scores seriously and do not tolerate any attempts to manipulate them. We have a dedicated team who monitors our platforms regularly and thoroughly investigates and resolves any suspicious activity.”
Tomato Seeds Of Doubt
Let’s be honest, some of the “critics” scores for some franchises have been questionable for a long time. The most obvious are the glowing reviews for the likes of She-Hulk, The Last Jedi, and Captain Marvel. Admittedly, mentioning just these three is low-hanging fruit but there are plenty of other reviews that are questionable.
In their defence, Rotten Tomatoes has been less favourable towards recent Marvel projects, particularly Ant-Man Quantumania only receiving 46% and Secret Invasion getting 54%. Then again, is it a case that the content coming from Marvel is so bad that awarding anything a high score would raise eyebrows?
On the flip side, Rotten Tomatoes has given bad reviews to movies that would earn them favour with studios (should that of course be an incentive, which I’m not saying it is) but the audience scores are the polar opposite, and from a personal point of view, some simply beggars belief! Apart from the three below, Fast X got a Critics score of 56% and an Audience of 84%, and then there’s The Meg 2 which got a 29% / 73% split! Crazy times.
One thing from all this seems to be sure though, take every review on Rotten Tomatoes with a grain of salt and make up your own damn mind. And if you do want a fair and shill-free review, you can always rely on us here to do away with the small talk and just give it to you straight… much like Larry Sinclair and Barack Obama… allegedly. I’m here all week folks.
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