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Not to be the bearer of bad news, but Paddington 2 has lost its recently obtained honor as the best movie of all time according to Rotten Tomatoes’ freshness ratings.
You’ll recall the headlines last month when Citizen Kane lost its decades-long 100 percent rating on the critic aggregation site due to a newly discovered negative review from 1941. The disruption caused fans to declare 2018’s much-beloved Paddington 2 as the new best film since it now had the most reviews of any title that also had a 100 percent rating.
Now, there’s been another update that changes all that.
A new review has knocked Paddington down a branch — to a 99 percent score. The review was from Film Authority and critic Eddie Harrison, who seemed to know precisely what he was doing, somewhat defensively noting, “I reviewed Paddington 2 negatively for BBC radio on release in 2017, and on multiple occasions after that, and I stand by every word of my criticism.”
The new Paddington 2 review slammed the warm-hearted adventure film for having deviated from the spirit of Michael Bond’s children’s books, being “contrived and ridiculous,” with Paddington being “over-confident, snide and sullen,” claimed “considerations of race and identity, key to the Paddington character, are not addressed,” and added that voice actor Ben Whishaw sounded “like a member of some indie-pop band coming down from an agonizing ketamine high.”
Some Paddington 2 fans are accusing Harrison of trolling to poison the review pool in the wake of recent headlines, but it should be noted he’s credited with 600-plus reviews on the site going back decades, and most don’t seem to be particularly contrarian. That said, it’s also probably worth pointing out he gave positive reviews to Johnny Mnemonic, Ice Age: Collision Course and Dumb and Dumber To (that would be the sequel, not the original).
Of course, it should be also pointed out that all of this is increasingly silly — Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t even designate a film as “best,” per se, this is just one way of interpreting imperfect data on an imperfect aggregation site in an imperfect world as people try to find some meaning in their lives — not entirely unlike a bear in search of the right present for his aunt’s birthday.
So which film has clawed its way to the top and taken Paddington’s honeypot title?
That would be 1999’s Toy Story 2, something film fans can at least all feel sort of OK about.
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