Sorry, Basil, it just doesn't make the mark. Despite an
impressive cast, something obviously went terribly wrong
while creating this chaotic hodge-podge.
An Australian media mogul named Rod McKain (Kevin Kline),
who demands a 20% return on all his investments, buys an
English zoo. Willa Wain (Jamie Lee Curtis), a woman on the
move with a dynamic future in her sights, shows up for her
new job with McKain's conglomerate Octopus Inc. only to
discover that the radio network for which she was
contracted has been sold off that morning. Willa, clever
girl that she is, still sees a chance to climb the ladder
toward greater opportunities through turning the recently
purchased zoo into a theme park by wheedling her way into
the proper position and calling upon the assistance of
McKain's playboy son Vince (also played by Kevin Kline).
In the meantime, father McKain has already hired a Hong
Kong TV employee named Rollo Lee (John Cleese) to manage
A newly enforced policy demands that the zoo population be
restricted to "fierce creatures" so that cash receipts can
be immediately increased as much as possible. Realizing
that such a change will necessarily elimination all "other"
animals on the premises, the keepers revolt and continue
the chain of events rolling in this revolting film.
Why, you may wonder, doesn't this concept work when so much
of the same team was involved with a previous successful
project known as A Fish Called Wanda. Perhaps co-writers
John Cleese and Iain Johnstone weren't quite able to hit
upon a new formula that worked as well as the previous one.
Perhaps they should have called in a third writer as
consultant when viewers of initial screenings were
dissatisfied with the conclusion. Perhaps they should have
done more extensive re-shooting on some of the scenes than
they actually did. (Remember, folks, Wanda re-shot the end
twice and that finally worked.)
Robert Young, the original director on the project, was
unavailable to re-shoot the ending and so Fred Schepisi,
who is known for turning out such highly polished products
as Six Degrees of Separation and A Cry in the Dark, was
called in. As far as reputations go, he probably would
have been better off staying home and throwing a shrimp on
the barby than getting involved with this done-dead crock.
John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin and Jamie Lee
Curtis would also have been well advised to spend their
time making a funnier film. Fierce Creatures has neither
bark nor bite. Give me Jumanji anytime.
© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett