The Little Mermaid has made a splash at the box office! It is currently the number 1 movie in the United States and, despite poor projections, just enjoyed the fifth-highest Memorial Day opening ever. However, the film is not without controversy. Ever since the casting was revealed, fans have had…strong opinions. Now, one popular website is issuing a warning regarding the film.
IMDB (Internet Movie Database) is a trusted source for reviews, performing stats, and synopses. The website has become a household name (and has even become a verb) thanks to phrases like “IMDB it” when searching for film information. Because of its popularity and reputation, fans have flocked to the site to write and read The Little Mermaid reviews. It seems, though, that not all of those reviews can be trusted.
According to IMDB, the film has been the victim of “review bombing.” This happens when people negatively (or positively) review a film to push an agenda rather than based on a genuine impression of a film. Review bombing hurts the authority of the reviews and creates a polarized environment where contention reigns supreme.
Many people have left one-star reviews for the film based on disapproval over the casting rather than the film itself. According to The Direct, “the film has drawn the ire of internet trolls on platforms like Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB because of the casting of Black actress Halle Bailey as the traditionally White protagonist of the film, Ariel.” They go on to explain that this has led others to attempt to counteract those reviews by leaving 5-star reviews. The result? A whole lot of reviews that cannot be trusted. Many of these supposed reviews were left before the film even debuted!
Because of this, IMDB has changed the way it weights reviews (though it has not said precisely how). A warning on the site states, “Unusual activity: Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title. To preserve the reliability of our rating system, an alternate weighting calculation has been applied.” They clarified that all votes are “considered,” but some will matter more than others.
No explanation has been offered for which votes carry more weight, though it’s safe to say IMBD is trying its best to weed out fake reviews. “Although we accept and consider all votes received by users, not all votes have the same impact (or ‘weight’) on the final rating. When unusual voting activity is detected, an alternate weighting calculation may be applied in order to preserve the reliability of our system,” was the only information given by the site.
Under the new weighting system, the film currently has a 7.0 rating overall. The unweighted rating is 4.7. One-star reviews currently outnumber every other voting category. Time will tell if other sites follow suit, though we expect they will.
No matter which side of the debate you fall on, fake reviews are wrong. With so many fake reviews for The Little Mermaid, it’s impossible to judge the film by its ratings. Watch the movie and decide for yourself what you think.