In a recent interview with Dan Epstein over at SuicideGirls.com, Mr. Besson had precisely this to say: "I've worked in the movie business for 30 years now and for each film I work 40 different distributors around the world. The American distributor on Arthur [The Weinstein Company] was the worst I have worked with in my entire life, in any country. I think this is the essence of all the problems. Why the critics didn't like Arthur was because they changed so much of the film and tried to pretend the film was American. The critics aren't stupid. They watched the film, they vaguely smell American but they can feel the film is forced for an American audience. The film is European. It's made by a Frenchman. This was the only country where the film was changed. The rest of the world has the same film as France."
Yowch. Besson got one thing right: The critics were pretty unkind. According to Rotten Tomatoes, only 17 out of 83 polled critics gave the flick a positive review. (That's a 20% approval rate.) I saw the American version -- and I thought it was a really sloppy mess for the most part. Guess I'll be renting that French version as soon as possible.