Bleats

Rotten Tomatoes Delivers Hammer Blow To Trolls With A Revamped Score System

Hopefully this will keep the trolls in their basements for good.

Rotten Tomatoes has been trying to figure out how to combat trolls for a while now and it looks like they’ve finally got a solution.

According to Variety, the movie review aggregator has revamped its methodology for calculating a movie’s Audience Score by only allowing verified ticket buyers to leave reviews.

Replacing the old Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score meter will be a new Verified Audience Score and verified ticket buyers will get a nice little badge next to their reviews to prove that they’re legit.

Now it must be noted that users who haven’t verified their movie tickets can still leave reviews and ratings for films but these won’t go towards the new Verified Audience Score.

This is a fantastic movie that will go a long way in stopping trolls from review bombing the Audience Scores of films like Captain Marvel and The Last Jedi as it will filter out all the bad eggs. While it won’t completely strip trolls of their voice, their reviews won’t be verified and won’t affect Audience Scores. They will essentially be screaming into the internet void and no one will give a crap what they have to say.

Now this really won’t affect us in Australia as only those who buy tickets through Fandango (which is owned by Rotten Tomatoes) can verify their tickets, with AMC Theatres, Regal, and Cinemark Theatres soon to be added to the system.

But as a way to restore some integrity to online movie reviews while combating trolls who like to give their life some meaning by ruining things for others, Rotten Tomatoes have delivered a long overdue hammer blow right here.

The first films to use this new system will be AladdinBooksmart, and Brightburn so it’ll be interesting to see how it all works since films won’t have an excuse when it ends up with a low Audience Score now.

There Will Never Be A Good Video Game Movie In Our Lifetime

A well-reviewed movie still hasn't happened despite nearly three decades of trying.

With Detective Pikachu out in the world and capturing everyone’s hearts with its pitch-perfect live-action take of the titular character, it seems like the curse of the “bad video game movie” has finally been broken.

Or has it? Well if we go by numbers then the answer is no.

Detective Pikachu currently has a mediocre score of 52 on Metacritic, which quantifies it as decidedly average. It has a more flattering score of 64% over at Rotten Tomatoes but that’s misleading as that site counts anything above a 6/10 as a positive review rather than taking an average of all review scores like Metacritic.

That being said, Detective Pikachu is still the second best reviewed video game movie ever on Metacritic (behind Mortal Kombat‘s score of 58) and the best on Rotten Tomatoes so its got that going for it.

But still, it appears that the “bad video game movie” curse is still upon us and it looks like it will linger around for at few lifetimes at least.

Sorry, buddy.

After nearly three decades of making video game movies, why has the jump from video game to big screen been so difficult? I mean I enjoy bad video game movies for the laughs but I still yearn for a good film to come along one day.

You can point at reasons ranging from studios meddling around with the source material too much to filmmakers completely misunderstanding the whole point of the game they’re adapting, but I think the biggest reason is because video gaming is a medium that simply doesn’t translate to film.

When you watch a movie you are a passive participant, but when you play a video game you are an active participant. You form your own narratives and take control of your experience when you play a game and that kind of control is taken away from you when watching a film.

That whole viseral first-hand experience of playing a game just doesn’t translate to the screen because a movie can’t capture the same feeling you had when you play games like DOOMTomb RaiderSonic, or Super Mario.

Beyond the contrasting user experiences, video game stories are also far too complex to effectively translate into a movie. Games are able to take the time to build a universe in which the player can inhabit and many different stories, events, and character arcs are able to run concurrently without everything collapsing into itself. Films however are limited by runtimes, meaning that things need to run at a brisk pace.

To put things into perspective, scripts for video games are several thousands of pages long and cover everything in great detail whereas film scripts are usually about 110 pages and are as streamlined as possible.

This is why video game movies either have well-fleshed out universes but poor characters(like Detective Pikachu and Warcraft) or good characters but a bland universe (like Tomb Raider). There simply is no way to fit everything in.

There’s also the unfortunate few movies that have both awful characters and a bland universe but I won’t name and shame them here. Except for Sonic. Poor Sonic.

Things aren’t looking good for the Sonic movie.

The sheer scope of a video game these days means it is simply impossible to properly capture every important detail in a two-hour film while ensuring that it works as a “movie” as well.

It is this problem that I truly believe we won’t see a good video game movie in our lifetime or the next because it is puzzle that’s next-to-impossible to solve. That being said, perhaps the solution lies in the form of TV shows.

TV shows can run far longer than movies, have the freedom to squeeze in material that would’ve been cut out in a film, and are able to tell far more complex stories.

With The Witcher series coming out later this year, it’ll be interesting to see whether we should stop putting stock into video game movies and start paying attention to video game TV shows.

Why Doesn't Australia Treat Gaming With The Same Respect As The Film Industry?

There's billions of dollars out there, yet the government still refuses to do anything.

Australia has had a habit of bending over backwards when it comes to the film industry in recent years. Between the Federal Government handing out $140 million incentives to have Hollywood studios film in Australia to a local film industry that generates $3 billion annually to the economy, movies are a big part of our ecosystem.

So here’s the big question, why doesn’t Australia bend over backwards when it comes to the video game industry?

To put things into context, the global film industry is worth about $135 billion as of 2018 whereas the video game industry is worth about *checks notes* oh, well whaddya know, it’s also about $135 billion as of 2018 and rapidly rising.

Consumer spending on gaming in Australia is skyrocketing, with over $3 billion spent in 2017, but a majority of that is comprised of content developed overseas. Breaking down that $3 billion-ish figure and the truth is considerably less bright as games made by local Australian developers generated “only” around $118.5 million in revenue.

While that figure is small relatively speaking, it shows just how well the Australian video game industry is operating despite virtually no support. Whereas the government lavishes attention and resources to films and Hollywood, funding has repeatedly been cut for video game studios and Australia’s developer scene is almost entire comprised of independent companies.

The thing is Australia actually used to be home to several AAA video game studios – such as 2K Australia Studios, THQ, and Team Bondi – about a decade ago but virtually all have shut its doors due to the lack of monetary support. 2014 saw another blow when the Federal Government pulled its three-year, $20 million Australian Interactive Games fund, resulting in the loss of several jobs and essentially kneecapping an already-struggling industry.

Former Greens deputy leader Scott Ludlum responded by launching an inquiry into the state of the Australian game industry and the resulting report found that federal funding has been successful for Aussie gaming in the past and recommended a number of things the government can do to offer support.

So what did the government do? Absolutely nothing.

To the Australian video game industry’s credit, it has continued to push through all this adversity and lack of government support but it’s come to the point where gaming has simply become too large to ignore.

As the 2019 federal election dawns upon us, the question of “why don’t we treat the video game industry with the same respect as the film industry” needs to be brought up once again.

Sadly, it appears that the question has fallen on mostly deaf ears as the only video game-related thing that’s come up during the campaign trail is the Federal Government promising to introduce an Online Safety Act – which is essentially a misguided way of combating trolls – if they win re-election.

That being said, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Australian video game industry. In a recent Reddit AMA, Greens leader Richard Di Natale was asked about whether the Greens intend to continue Ludlum’s work in advocating for gaming and he says the party intend to bring a new video game policy to the 2019 election that involves funding and helping local companies to grow.

“We’re bringing a great video games policy to this election – $100 million to a new Games Investment & Enterprise Fund that will invest in game development projects and help successful games companies grow their businesses.

“We’ll also extend the Producer Tax Offset and the PDV Offset to video game developers. And we’ll allocate $5 million to assist in the development of creative coworking spaces, inspired by the Arcade in Melbourne.” 

It really is.

When you look at the numbers, there’s really no reason why the government should be ignoring the video game industry, especially since games revenue will only continue to rise.

Here’s hoping that the government will pull its head out of the gutter very soon and realise that there’s much to gain from supporting its local video game industry rather than treating it as a mere hobby kids like to do because right now it’s a massive missed opportunity for Australia.

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