Every once in a while, critics decide to give certain films an absolute shellacking upon release. Most times this assessment is completely warranted, but there are a few rare occasions when they get it completely wrong, and the critical reception a film receives simply doesn’t reflect the wider film audience.

The list that follows are some of the films that were famously derided upon release, but in retrospect were actually pretty darn good. Nothing will make up for that roasting they received, but its a good reminder that a film is more than just its opening weekend.

Now on to the countdown!


Waterworld (1995)

Probably one of the most famous movie flops of all time, Waterworld was the most expensive film ever made at the time of its release in 1995. Not only did it not make back its budget, it famously suffered the wrath of movie critics everywhere, who accused the film of being a lazy Mad Max ripoff. Truth is, whilst it ain’t Citizen Kane, Waterworld is a perfectly enjoyable post-apocalyptic film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, overflowing with well mounted action and amazing production design.



Equlibrium (2002)

Starring a pre-Batman Christian Bale, Equilibrium didn’t even get a cinema release here in Australia, but quietly impressed film fans when it finally arrived on DVD. Critics accused the film of recycling many plot elements from other Sci Fi films, but what they failed to appreciate were the highly inventive action sequences littered throughout the film, involving a special blend of martial arts and gun play. Director Kurt Wimmer was unphased by the hate heaped upon his film, asking “Why would I make a movie for someone I wouldn’t want to hang out with? Have you ever met a critic who you wanted to party with? I haven’t.”

Take that movie stiffs!



Event Horizon (1997)

Another film that was compared to other classics of the Sci-Fi genre upon release, Event Horizon was quickly written off as a less good version of Alien. One of the more scathing reviews of the film said “If you want to have that Event Horizon experience without spending the seven bucks, try this instead: Put a bucket on your head. Have a loved one beat on it vigorously with a wrench for 100 minutes. Same difference, and think of the gas you’ll save”.

Comments such as these are a complete exaggeration, because Event Horizon is actually a damn effective horror film full of nightmarish visuals and a truly creepy Sam Neil. To those that think director Paul W.S. Anderson is a complete hack, well you’re probably right, but I still urge you to seek this one out for your next late night home movie session.



Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Director Edgar Wright and Universal probably should’ve known this wasn’t going to be a massive hit: An adaptation of an obscure comic book noone had heard of and a love letter to nerd culture, Scott Pilgrim is the definition of niche. But more surprising than the lack of movie tickets sold critics, with the The Hollywood Reporter exclaiming that “What’s disappointing is that this is all so juvenile. Nothing makes any real sense…[Michael] Cera doesn’t give a performance that anchors the nonsense.”

That reviewer clearly didn’t appreciate what we all do: that Edgar Wright’s film is probably the most faithful video game adaptation ever made.



Fight Club (1999)

This is one of those films that critics just didn’t know what to make of upon first release, unable to decide whether it was either good or bad, they chose to sit on the fence, resulting in a raft of extremely mixed reviews that did the film no favours at the box office.

It would eventually find its audience and become one of the most beloved cult films of a generation, with Tyler Durden’s face adorning college dorm rooms the world over. Ironically, it seems Fight Club‘s biggest struggle at the cinema was that critics refused to talk about Fight Club.


That’s all folks!

What movies did you think the critics got wrong? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.