Do critics sharpen their knives for ''big'' films? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own

By Owen Gleiberman
Updated May 30, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Do critics sharpen their knives for ”big” films?

Do you think that the hype surrounding a movie can result in a more negative response from critics? —Raymond
Every so often, it seems to go down that way. Having disliked The Da Vinci Code myself, I obviously agree with the negative reviews, yet I confess I’m a tad suspicious of their deafening uniformity. I don’t recall anything approaching this level of collective nose-thumbing toward, say, the first two Harry Potter films or Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (all of which, to me, were just as unsatisfying as Da Vinci). Yet they were hyped to the max too, so what’s the explanation?

Here’s one: Critics now have to do their jobs while navigating an ocean of hype. Do we resent it? Absolutely. The result is that periodically, almost arbitrarily, a movie that has fallen short of expectations becomes a designated punching bag — the 1998 remake of Godzilla, say, or now Da Vinci. Which isn’t to say that these films are good. They’re just not as sinfully bad as everyone suddenly feels they have the mandate to say.

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Godzilla (Movie - 1998)

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 140 minutes
  • Roland Emmerich