Updated 5/29/23 with a review below. It turned out that I really liked this movie! Second update 5/31/23.
Something fishy is going on with him little mermaid User reviews for Rotten Tomatoes. I expected this movie to do better with critics than audiences given how naturally culture wars work.
Instead, the critic’s score was only 67% as of this writing, while audiences gave it 95% — well above Jungle Book 86%. This movie has a score of 94% with critics.
This is actually quite similar to super mario bros movie, which only scored 59% with critics while 96% of fans reviewed the film positively on Rotten Tomatoes. But this was almost completely reflected on Metacritic, where Super Mario Bros movie He scored only 46 with the pundits, but scored 86 with the crowd.
Meanwhile, Metacritic the little Mermaid The page roughly mirrors the opposite of Rotten Tomatoes:
This is very much in line with what I would expect to happen with audience reviews because this movie has become so embroiled in culture war discussions about race swapping and “getting up” etc., as well as just Disney fatigue. Many people who were not at all invested in the culture wars are tired of live-action remakes.
I totally find it unbelievable That this movie will score much higher with the audiences than the critics. Although critics are not entirely politically aligned, as a group they are more inclined to sympathize with social justice politics and less reactive to changes made to beloved classics than the average moviegoer. I expect this movie to have a very wide spread of negative and positive reviews, and a score within screaming distance of the critic’s score (slightly higher or slightly lower, but not nearly 30 points higher!)
In fact, a live-action remake the little Mermaid Sign up now a lot higher with audiences than the 1989 animated classic, which scores 88% with audiences and 92% with critics. Can we believe moviegoers love the remake even more of origin? This was definitely not the case with beauty and the beast, which fared better with critics and audiences as a cartoon by a wide margin.
Do I think Metacritic’s 2.1 is an accurate reflection of the quality of this movie? of course not. CinemaScore has real audience members giving this an “A,” so it sure gets a standing ovation. beauty and the beast The live-action remake also received an “A” CinemaScore, but only scored an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.
I know Rotten Tomatoes takes moderation in user reviews seriously, and tries to prevent review bombing, but these scores seem exaggerated beyond what is realistically likely for a movie that garners such a lukewarm reception from critics. peter pan and wendy, Disney’s latest live-action release, it scored just under the little Mermaid with critics (62%) but it totally bombed with audiences at just 11%.
Even just casually observing forums and social media, you see a very wide range of reactions from wild praise to “meh, that was good” to “that was hot garbage.” There’s no way that 95% of Rotten Tomatoes or a Metacritic 2.1 movie are accurate reflections of what people are actually saying about that movie in the real world. Do whatever you like.
Finally, I should note that what Rotten Tomatoes shows on its front page are “Verified Audience” scores, but you can click on “All Audience” and suddenly the picture looks completely different:
This feels like a more realistic reflection of what has become a very controversial film. Controversy causes negative opinions. (Note: indisputable Super Mario Bros movie It gets 95% with “All Audience” and 96% with “Verified Audience.”)
Likewise, if you click on “Top Critics” instead of “All Critics,” you’ll see that the score drops to just 47%. This corresponds closely to both audiences. Curious and inquisitive.
I haven’t seen it myself yet. This is not a review, obviously. I think it looks fine. My biggest concern with all of these live-action remakes is that they always lose at least some of the magic that the original animated versions had in spades. Even the ones I enjoyed, eg beauty and the beast, I think to myself afterwards, “Hmm, I’d rather just watch the original!”
And frankly: is not it?
Update #1: Review of the movie
The Little Mermaid review: A delightful surprise
There is a fun scene in the new one Little mermaid The live-action movie where Ariel attaches a hat to Prince Eric, comically placing it on his head after yanking it from the traveling salesman’s head. Later, Scuttle steals the hat in order to have the couple follow the bird down to the lake so they can serenade the would-be lovers with a slightly modified version of kiss the girl.
Well, speaking of hats, it’s time to eat. I was seriously skeptical about this Disney remake. I’ve been burnt out on the whole project for some time and thought this would be another soulless cash grab from the House of Mouse. I was wrong. The critics must be mad, because this is an absolutely delightful picture and is probably my favorite out of all the live-action princess movies.
Much of that is due to the strong performance – and chops singing – of lead Halle Bailey as Ariel. She’s adorable throughout, perfectly capturing everything we loved about the original Ariel, but she does add a little depth and adventure to the character. She and Jona Hauer King as Prince Eric have great chemistry, which definitely helps. In fact, the cast is great and the remakes of old songs are really fun and interesting.
Is it a perfect movie? of course not. There are a few new songs and the only one I liked is the rap song Scuttle, performed by Awkwafina with a bit of Sebastian orchestration. Daveed Diggs is great as the angry Majordomo crab.
But Prince Eric’s new song is forgotten, and so is Ariel’s new number. They pale in comparison under the sea And part of your world, They both adapt great here. Billy’s singing voice really gets loud part of your world to a whole new level. It is a nice. But I miss the cartoon version of under the sea, With all the fish on their musical instruments. And I wish they gave Ariel and Eric a duet.
My biggest complaint is the fish. I don’t like trying to make Sebastian and Flounder (Jacob Tremblay) look “real.” You lose a lot of fun expressions for these characters along the way. I’m thrilled the movie was so bright and colorful after the trailers made it look so much less, but I honestly don’t like the art direction of the aquatic creatures.
Rounding out the cast, we have Javier Bardem as King Triton where he does a pretty good job as a strict father at the time. His emotional farewell to Ariel struck all the right notes. (His multiracial brood of daughters would have you believe he’s actually done the undersea voyage, too.)
I was skeptical of Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, but she also does a great job, really capturing everything about the original villain perfectly. Her comedic timing and charm really pays off here.
Finally, this ended up being a really pleasant surprise for me and my kids. We all walked in with exhaustion and skepticism and we all left with smiles on our faces, although my daughter and I cried like babies at the end. I’m a real screamer when it comes to father/daughter or father/son and this is quite the tug of the heart. It’s probably the best of Disney’s live-action movies, which I’m shocked – but glad – to be introduced.
I think you can group me with the masses on this one. It’s a treat. I Still Surprised it got such high audience ratings, but it’s really worth watching on the big screen. I’m glad I was wrong!
Here is my video review:
Update #2: IMDB provides opportunities to get user results
This movie has got people talking – and arguing – about a whole bunch of things. While I think the scores on Rotten Tomatoes seem overblown, even with it being a much better movie than I expected, there’s clearly major review bombing elsewhere and a large part of that is run by bots.
I am not reflexively against the review bomb. There are times when a product is so bad, so broken, or has ridiculous revenue practices (in the case of some video games, say, with ridiculously priced loot boxes or microtransactions) that review bombing can be seen as another tool in a consumer’s toolkit. Aside from voting with his wallet or posting on social media, consumers have very little power. Review bombing is kind of like interrupting.
In some circumstances, it has its place. In other cases, it simply obscures whatever nuance we hope to achieve. There are a lot of interesting questions surrounding the little Mermaid remake, and I don’t think it boils down easily to “racists vs. anti-racists” even though racism is an obvious factor.
On IMDB, the site has taken steps to negate the effect of review bombing and paint a more accurate, hopefully more accurate picture of moviegoers’ real opinions of the film. Gizmodo reports:
The Disney Live Action remake saw a wide release on May 26, and has since garnered more than 32,000 ratings on IMDb where it currently sits at 7 out of 10. Of those, more than 13,000 gave 1 star. A small notice at the top of the ratings page reads: “Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title. To maintain the reliability of our rating system, an alternative weighting calculation has been applied.”
According to IMDb’s FAQ, the site publishes “Weighted Voting Averages,” and reports that “when unusual voting activity is detected, an alternative weighting calculation may be applied in order to maintain the reliability of our system.” The site does not say what kind of mechanism it uses to rate films.
This doesn’t just apply to extraordinarily low reviews:
IMDb has posted this notice in the past to stuff online movie votes, such as a Bollywood movie Casmir Files which was released in March. In this case, the movie got a heap of positive reviews and had a lower average user rating. Director Vivek Agnihotri complained The site’s review manipulation was “unusual and unethical”.
In all honesty, removing all of the one- and ten-star reviews and letting the rest probably yield more accurate results. Having watched the movie, I can say without a doubt that it deserves more than 1 star, but it deserves more than a full 10 stars.
Meanwhile, Gizmodo reports that things are even worse in Europe. Germany’s Moviepilot has an audience score of 0.7/10 and is the work of trolls and political activists.
All of this is an example of the scrabble culture war I wrote about at the top of this post. If the absurdly high 95% Rotten Tomatoes score is suspicious, well, so are the absurdly low scores we see elsewhere. Sure, 13,000 one-star ratings on IMDB are suspicious, but then that’s a website that curates user reviews and audiences without transparency.
There are no easy answers here, clearly, and we’re stuck bickering and arguing over a kids’ movie. Art imitates life and our entertainment reflects the real world in us. Movies, TV shows, music, and video games have become bloody battlegrounds in these bizarre lag-time culture wars about race, gender, and all the rest.
But also remember that the loudest people involved in these wars are chronically online and are not in the majority on either side. I remain convinced that we all have more in common than divide us. But then again, eternal hope.
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