on March 3, 2002
I won't compare this movie to Wanda, I promise. But while Fierce creatures has many hilarious moments, that doesn't really help classify it as a 4 star movie - 3.5 at the most.
My main problem is that most of the jokes simply seem too weak - I find this hard to explain, other than trying to compare it with Oscar - both have funny moments, but most of the humor simply falls flat.
And while I promised to leave Wanda out of this, I must say that had I rented this movie first, and had it not been a "sequel" to one of the funniest comedies, I would not have bought it (even though I'm a big fan of Monty Python and the great John Cleese).
on September 6, 2001
The acting of the talented John Cleese and Michael Palin cannot save this movie, which lacks even a single funny moment. The movie's premise -- pretend that tame zoo animals are fierce to attract visitors and increase profitability -- is bad enough, but the dialogue is about the worst I've ever heard. Jamie Lee Curtis can be excellent, but she is terrible here because of the abysmal script. The same sexual jokes are repeated over and over, and when Kevin Kline passes gas over and over, the viewer is reminded not of Blazing Saddles but of a moviemaker attempting to force a laugh when there is nothing to laugh about. Save your money.
on July 14, 2004
This is a very good movie but to get the feel of the full story it needs to be seen in the original aspect ratio of 2.35 to 1.Many scenes edges are chopped off and distractingly paned across.
Universal releases several other of its popular (and not so popular)films in widesceen format so why not this popular movie. I would recommend the widescreen version of the video tape if you can find it over the full screen dvd.
So to Universal get this movie on dvd the way it was filmed and intended to be seen, please !
on March 31, 2010
I was not aware at first that this DVD would be a Pan-and-scanned version, so called Full Frame (1.33:1). This film was originally released in Cinemascope with a ratio of 2.40:1, and it is an insult to us fans of Michael Palin, John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline to only offer us 55 per cent of the original image. Yes, when a Cinemascope film is pan-and-scanned, it is cropped horizontally so that one does not see 45 per cent of the picture. Would you go to a movie theatre to see only 55 per cent of a movie? I think not.
Perhaps the process should be call Pan-and Scam. Two thumbs down to Universal for inflicting this on us. Write or email Universal if you want a widescreen release. Meantime, remember that MGM released A Fish Called Wanda with the same cast in the original proper ratio of 1.85:1. Four stars for the movie itself, two stars for the lack of a widescreen version; average three stars. (Note: this is the third time I have tried to post a similar review of this film. First two were apparently rejected by Amazon with no feedback to me about why...)
on March 11, 2004
This movie caught me by surprise. Having not seen "A Fish Called Wanda" I was greatly surprised by the interaction of the characters in this very funny movie.
The movie starts a little slow at first with Cline and Curtis and Kevin Cline is not at his best in this film, he plays more of a straight man and does that well.
The movie is a take off of the Rupert Murdoch empire and is a slam at the Merger and Acquisition frenzy of the mid to late 90s where companies were acquired then sold off if not a cash cow and the proceeds used to buy other companies.
In this case the company that Octopus - The name of Kevin Cline's company- acquires is a zoo in London.
There are some great plays with the animals and the scenes where Cline and Curtis think that Rollo Lee (Cleese) is a casanova are just hilarious.
I was in stiches watching this funny and even heart warming film. The animals will make you go ahhhhh. The fluffy zoo animals, the not fierce ones, are what make it a guy/girl movie and Cleese does a great job of bringing his characters together.
This is a must if you want to laugh.
on April 6, 2003
Fierce Creatures is a follow-up (not, strictly speaking, a sequel - the storyline is different and no previous characters appear) to the extremely successful British comedy film A Fish Called Wanda.
A Fish Called Wanda is a minor classic.
Presumably the cast (John Cleese, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee-Curtis were all in A Fish Called Wanda) had a lot of fun the first time round because they have all turned out for this attempt. It falls pretty flat, unfortunately. The story is fairly weak and cliched (repressed British man takes over running a zoo for an American corporation, has to improve profits or zoo will close, decides to get rid of all non-fierce creatures [and their handlers] to improve visitor numbers...), as are the characters. In fairness, nobody expects this to be Merchant-Ivory, but it happens not to be funny either, and that's a pretty big stumbling block. Whereas A Fish Called Wanda has aged well, this feels like a throwback to the worst of British television comedy of the 1970s. Lots of mugging and some inelegant slapstick. I'm a fan of both Cleese and Palin, but the feeling in this film is that they've just dusted off a couple of old stock routines (gurning and funny voices from Palin, lots of flapping around and generally looking gangly and harrassed from Cleese) and phoned them in.
In fairness, there are a couple of genuinely funny moments. If the film is on TV and there's nothing else to do it's the sort of thing that will kill a couple of hours fairly well. But I wouldn't spend money on it. Not beyond a one-off rental fee anyway.
The film has received mixed reviews on this website. Some people seem to quite like it. Maybe I'm just turning into a tired, embittered jade. Who knows. But I think the advice here really does have to be "try before you buy". And if you are expecting something int he A Fish Called Wanda league, I would counsel you to play down your expectations now to avoid disappointment.
on November 23, 2002
When a old farting heartless Corporate Mogul (Oscar-Winner:Kevin Kline) takes over a failing Zoo, hoping to make Money out of it, by leaving to the New Zoo Director (John Clesse) by making the Animals Fierce under the supervision of a bright business woman (Jamie Lee Curtis) & the dumb mogul's son (Kline again). The new Zoo Director has to deal with a resentful staff and other complications.
Directed by Robert Young (Splitting Heirs) & Fred Schepisi (Mr. Baseball, Roxanne, Six Degress of Separation) made a Uneven but Entertaining fitfully comedy that doesn't quite pays off as it should but it`s Kline`s Comedic Performance comes off best with his fun dual role. The sexual tension between Clesse & Curtis is quite funny that highlights this flick. This was Originally filmed in 1995 by Young and then Largely re-filmed by Schepisi in 1996. Clesse, Curtis, Kline, Micheal Palin, Maria Aitken & Cynthia Clesse, who are also in this, did work together before in the Classic Comedy-A Fish Called Wanda. Panavision. Grade:B+.
John Cleese, best known for his turns in Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, stars in a hilarious comedy centering on the lack of all that is cute and cuddly. With a great supporting cast and an ever-growing level of mindless farce, this is a great time-waster.
The movie opens with Willa Weston (Jamie Lee Curtis) coming to work at Octopus Inc., a massive multi-corporation owned by the semi-psychopath Rod McCain, or as he is known there, "Rod Almighty." Willa has to deal with the devious associate Neville (Bille Brown) and McCain's annoying son Vince (Kevin Kline, who also plays Rod), who spends a great deal of time trying to seduce her. She petitions Rod to let her manage a zoo he acquired in England, and gets to go -- if she brings Vince with her.
In England, new director Rollo Lee displays a new moneymaking tactic to the dismayed animal keepers: Only dangerous animals are allowed at the zoo, and anything cute, cuddly, herbivorous, and unable to bite off major appendages is history. The keepers desperately try to convince him that anteaters, bandicoots, tarantulas and lemurs can be vicious, unaware that he is secretly keeping the animals in his home.
But things degenerate even further when Vince and Willa arrive. Vince despises animals unless they entertain him, and soon turns the zoo into a mess of weird costumes and media endorsements. Willa and Rollo dig deeper into shady dealings and corporate psychosis -- only to have a new mess of problems rear their ugly heads.
The cast for this movie is truly inspired: Cleese plays the desperate, Basil-Fawlty-esque director of the zoo, who has a secret soft spot for animals while trying to maintain the appearance of toughness. Michael Palin plays a motormouthed tarantula keeper with encyclopedic knowledge on everything. Kevin Kline plays both father and son so well that it's almost astonishing that Rod and Vince aren't played by different people. Ronnie Corbett is a lesser but still hilarious as the tiny Reggie Sea Lions.
The humor is outrageously funny, especially when it is either clever or farcical: Vince and Willa hearing Rollo's frantic words to the animals: "Get off the bed!" "Ow, don't pull!" "Stop licking my-" and "Go play with each other!"; the hide-the-body sequence late in the film, which has a frenzied energy that will make people roll in the aisles; the keepers faking elaborate injuries; the scene where Terry the tarantula gets loose, causing Cub and Rollo to desperately strip off in a closet; a repeat of Cleese's "light switch" joke; and the following scene where Willa looks into the half-naked Rollo's room, finds a sheep and a pair of very embarrassed women, one of them half-naked as well, and comes to the obvious conclusion. And the scene where police officers are assaulted by zookeepers in big stupid-looking animal costumes is absolutely priceless.
What is not funny? Well, the fart jokes got old before they even started. And Jamie Lee Curtis lacks any amusing qualities whatsoever: she doesn't have a funny moment in the entire movie. While every other character has some individual quirks or humiliating moments that make them more human and understandable, Willa Weston doesn't. She's a plastic Barbie doll. Which brings up another pet peeve: So much attention is paid to Willa flashing her cleavage at Vince and Rollo. Her role could have easily been filled by a Wonderbra. She's a far cry from Carey Lowell's Cub, a smart, pretty and active woman who maintains the respect of the viewers. And the sentimental flashes only bog down the plot, such as Curtis's reminiscing about a gorilla.
Despite these flaws, "Fierce Creatures" is a hilarious comedy that, though it sags a bit in the middle, becomes outrageously funny near the end. Cleese, Kline and Palin are at their best here, and you'll walk away with a new appreciation for the shooting skills of lemurs.
on May 24, 2000
I thought this "sequel" to "A Fish Called Wanda" was far superior and funnier than the original. Complete with the orignial cast to "Wanda", John Cleese stars as Rollo Lee who is in charge of an English Zoo financed by an insideous American company known as Octopus Ink which has told the Zoo they either make the animals more exciting or they'll be shut down. Jamie Lee "I'm in love with my body" Curtis and Kevin Kline play Willa and Vince, a couple of Octopus Ink exects who have come to oversee the companies demands on the zoo are carried out. Although, Vince would rather spend the time overseeing Willa. Michael Palin also returns as Bugsy, a chatterbox zoo worker that has a fascination with creepy crawly insects. This movie kept me laughing from beginning to end. Some of the best scenes are the most suttle and even the sexual innuendo's were tastefully done which I think is a rarity for a movie to achieve something like that nowadays. And Kevin Kline does a fantastic job as the conniving Vince. John Cleese also shamelessly pays homage to both Monty Python and Fawlty Towers which makes this movie a treat for fans to watch. So I recommend this movie highly.
on June 27, 1999
Once I saw this film in the theater, I knew I had to own it. I suggest, if you like truely smart comedy that provides belly laughs, you must see this wonderful film. I am suprised it did so grimly at the box-office, although it did very well overseas. Also, if you like Monty Python, you must watch. It is at times satirical, at times parody, and at times, just crude humor to balance it out. Kevin Kline is extremely funny, and walks away with the film from the opening credits on. He is a truly gifted actor, and makes an ordinarily delightful movie excellent. NOTE: This is NOT a sequel to A fish called Wanda. It does have the same cast, but has a comlpetely different storyline. Also, the premise is completely original, and is not so formulatic like so many other comedies. If you're looking for a great movie to rent or buy, choose this, and I promise, you WILL NOT be dissapointed with your choice.