That teaser was attached to “Men in Black” almost a year prior to the Memorial Day release of “Godzilla,” and the good vibes lasted until TriStar had to screen the film for critics and shamefacedly reveal their stark naked King of the Monsters. Emmerich and Devlin made “Godzilla” on their own terms, and they made a movie that just about no one enjoyed.

The film currently holds a 20% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and that number dips to 12% when you only look at “Top Critics.” Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert panned the movie, with the former even lamenting that the film’s characters named after the influential critics (who were not fans of “Stargate” or “Independence Day”) weren’t chomped or stomped by the big lizard.

Many critics trained their ire on the mindlessness of the endeavor. The New York Times’ Stephen Holden summed this up succinctly:

“The only question worth asking about this $120 million wad of popcorn is a commercial one. How much further will the dumbing down of the event movie have to go before the audience stops buying tickets?”

Meanwhile, one of the movie’s few fans, The Los Angeles Times’ Kevin Thomas, offered a far rosier prediction:

“It’s hard to imagine Godzilla — or any movie, for now — topping Titanic in popularity […] But Godzilla, which delivers unpretentious fun with a blithe spirit, will surely give that box-office behemoth a healthy run for its money.”

As a film critic, Kevin Thomas was a lousy box office prognosticator.



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