Fierce Creatures (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Fierce Creatures (1997)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Fierce Creatures Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Though it features the same cast as 1988's highly successful A Fish Called Wanda, this satirical and sexy film is not a sequel, and the actors play entirely different characters. Most of the story occurs in London's fictional Marwood Zoo, which has just been purchased by New Zealand publishing-magnate Vince McCain (Kevin Kline), a character allegedly patterned after real-life Australian media powerhouse Rupert Murdoch. No matter what public venture he buys, McCain's Octopus, Inc. adheres to a strict bottom line -- 20% profit or else. Comely Willa Weston (Jamie Lee Curtis) has just come to work for McCain, but the division she was supposed to helm was sold just before she arrived. In search of another division, she spies the zoo and decides to run it. Meanwhile, as the zoo is relatively unprofitable, McCain sends one of his top corporate policemen, Rollo Lee (John Cleese) to turn it into a moneymaker. Rollo decides that the zoo needs to become a sexier, more exciting place by imbuing it with a "Sylvester Stallone movie" ambiance. In short, he wants all the cuddly creatures replaced with fearsome, dangerous ones. He demands that all the adorable lemurs, bandicoots, meercats, etc. be summarily shot. Naturally, the zoo keepers (including fast-talking Adrian "Bugsy" Malone played by Michael Palin, who spends much of his time dressed as a giant bee) nearly riot, so Rollo carries out the seemingly dirty deeds himself -- in reality all of the doomed animals are hidden in his bathroom. Shortly thereafter, McCain's sleazy son Vince (also played by Kline) and Willa arrive to find the few remaining gentle creatures covered in fake blood and phony fangs to make them look terrifying. Vince mucks things up with his own scheme, which is to incorporate advertising into the zoo. As a result, zookeepers wear corporate logos. Even the animals become living billboards. Meanwhile Vince launches a private campaign to bed the profit-attended Willa. She in turn is increasingly intrigued by the apparently bestial antics of Rollo. Every time she sees him, he seems to be in some sort of quasi-sexual situation with one of his furry roommates. The bulk of this production was originally filmed in 1995, but pre-screening audiences strongly disliked the original ending. Most of the original screenplay was written by Ian Johnstone, but Cleese rewrote the third act himself. Due to scheduling conflicts the project was shelved until the summer of 1996. By this time the original director, Robert Young, was no longer available and so was replaced by director Fred Schepisi.more
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, sex, violence)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: John Cleese, Iain Johnstone
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 20, 1998
MCA Universal Home Video


John Cleese
as Rollo Lee
Jamie Lee Curtis
as Willa Weston
Kevin Kline
as Vince McCain/Rod McC...
Michael Palin
as Bugsy Malone
Ronnie Corbett
as Reggie Sealions
Carey Lowell
as Cub Felines
Robert Lindsay
as Sydney Small Mammals
Bille Brown
as Neville Coltrane
Billie Brown
as Neville Coltrane
Derek Griffiths
as Gerry Ungulates
Cynthia Cleese
as Pip Small Mammals
Richard Ridings
as hugh primates
Maria Aitken
as Di Admin
Michael Percival
as ant keeper
Fred Evans
as flamingo keeper
Lisa Hogan
as sea lion keeper
Choy-Ling Man
as parrot keeper
Tim Potter
as vulture keeper
Jenny Galloway
as aquarium keeper
Kim Vithana
as tiger keeper
Sean Francis
as Buffalo Keeper
Shawn Francis
as buffalo keeper
Julie Saunders
as rodent keeper
Susie Blake
as woman in red dress
Pat Keen
as Her Mother
Denis Lill
as Her Husband
Gareth Hunt
as Inspector Masefield
Dennis Lill
as woman's husband
Ron Donachie
as Sergeant Scott
Paul Haigh
as Sergeant Irving
Leon Herbert
as octopus security gua...
Stewart Wright
as octopus security gua...
Kerry Shale
as frightened executive
Mac MacDonald
as TV Producer
Amanda Walker
as zoo secretary
Terence Conoley
as man in straw hat
Tom Georgeson
as Sealion Spectator
John Bardon
as Sealion Spectator
Anthony Pedley
as Sealion Spectator
Hilary Gish
as sponsor
Brian King
as Sponsor
Kevin Moore
as hotel manager
Leslie Lowe
as assistant hotel mana...
Iain Mitchell
as assistant hotel mana...
Valerie Edmond
as hotel maid
Nick Bartlett
as policeman
Ricco Ross
as TV Journalist
Kate Harper
as TV Journalist
Nicholas Hutchison
as TV reporter
Kate Alderton
as Student Zookeeper
Jack Davenport
as Student Zookeeper
Jo Ann Geary
as Student Zookeeper
William Grove
as Student Zookeeper
Francis Pope
as Student Zookeeper
Jacqui Thomas
as Student Zookeeper
David Wood
as Student Zookeeper
John Alexander
as Gorilla Performer - ...
Peter Elliott
as Gorilla Choreographe...
Tessa Crockett
as background gorilla
Phillip Hill
as background gorilla
Holly Hoffman
as background gorilla
Mario Kalli
as background gorilla
Tina Masskell
as background gorilla
Tina Maskell
as Background Gorilla
Alisa Berk
as panda performer
Elizabeth O'Brien
as background gorilla
Ailsa Berk
as Panda Performer
Tim Rose
as Puppeteer
Darryl Worbey
as Puppeteer
Steve A. Clarke
as Puppeteer
Mac McDonald
as TV producer
Peter Anthony Elliot...
as gorilla performer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Fierce Creatures

Critic Reviews for Fierce Creatures

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (15)

The spirited cast of Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Monty Pythonites John Cleese and Michael Palin is willing. But this tossed-together trifle about an unassuming British zoo taken over by a money-mad Murdochian media mogul is weak.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

Some funny moments peppered with lots of sexual innuendo.

Full Review… | March 20, 2012
Common Sense Media

Chock full of wacky misunderstandings and bawdy innuendo...

Full Review… | April 10, 2008
Reel Film Reviews

Fiercely funny!

Full Review… | January 1, 2005

A sporadically funny but very confused follow-up to A Fish Called Wanda.

May 7, 2003
New Times

Audience Reviews for Fierce Creatures

So back in 1988 there was a highly quirky, sexy British crime heist movie with a mix of top cult British and American stars, it was a huge (and surprising) success. Nine years later the same team were back in this sort of sequel, or maybe prequel, no one was really sure. In the end it was just another comedy utilising the same cast, however, the novelisation of the film actually explains how both movies connect, but no one cares about the book so...

The plot is radically different from the 'A Fish Called Wanda', this is not any kind of crime comedy but it still involves unscrupulous people. Its all about John Cleese's character Rollo coming to look after a small typically British zoo of mainly small harmless animals, which he then tries to convert into a zoo full of fierce creatures. He has to do this because the main company he works for (that own the zoo) wants better revenue from the attraction hotspot. Thusly he is instantly at odds with the zoo's team of caring keepers who obviously are against this. At the same time Rollo must contend with Willa Weston and Vince McCain (Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline) who are overseeing this latest acquisition by the company to make sure it makes money.

You see the problem with this comedy is the fact they have tried to basically remake 'Wanda'. Many of scenes in this film are rehashes from the original and are going for exactly the same laughs, the cast are playing virtually the same kind of characters and in the case of Jamie Lee Curtis her characters name has clearly been made as close as possible to Wanda (Willa). I really don't understand why they have done this because everyone knows this kind of thing hardly ever works, it doesn't matter how grand your cast roster is.

Much of the said cast is of course taken from the first movie, and I don't just mean the main cast either, many smaller roles and cameos feature actors/actresses from the first movie. Does that somehow make things better? are these actors suppose to connect this story to the first movie somehow? Apparently not as this is supposed to be more of a stand alone why use the same cast then?? I mean sure the use of the classic British comedic legend Ronnie Corbett is very nice, a nice addition, but he barely does anything and is clearly there just to ramp up the star meter. Its an all British type affair so lets get some British gems of comedy...yeah OK but at least make use of them, at least make a good film with them.

I mean watching Cleese in this is actually cringeworthy, he's doing all his usual typical funny little quirks he's done his entire career because that's what people expect, but its old hat now. He brings nothing new to the table here which isn't entirely his fault because (like I said) people wanna see that but you gotta try and break the mould guy! In short Cleese is basically Basil Fawlty in charge of a zoo...but not as funny, sweet idea, but like I said its not as funny as it sounds. At the same time watching Cleese trying to act sexy and dashing whilst cuddling up to Curtis (again) is horrible!! its like watching your aging dad trying to be sexy n cool with a younger woman, God no!
As pointed out already Curtis plays the same character again too, a sexual female predator that is after Rollo but has to shake off the ever lurking Vincent (Kline), yet again. This leads to Kline who (as in the first movie) is head and shoulders above the rest giving the best performance. Kline seems to be really really good at playing the brash, pig-headed, egotistical Yank that won't think twice about being a complete shit no matter who's watching. He's rude, arrogant and cruel (yet again) and has his target set on Cleese's character Rollo (yet again), you notice I'm having to type 'yet again' quite often here. Do I have to mention Palin and his character that bares a remarkably close resemblance to his character in 'Wanda'? Nope, its the same character.

Don't get me wrong this isn't a terrible movie, its not all bad, there are some nice moments of farcical humour, just not that much is all. It has everything you'd expect from a naughty British comedy that has two Pythons in it (no not the scaly reptilian kind). Characters running around in their underwear (Cleese again!), lots of sexual double entendres, silly visual gags, pratfalls, slapstick and the odd hint of violence which you of course don't actually see. Thing is, the first movie was a smart, witty, sexy, dark comedy aimed at adults. This movie is a childish, immature, infantile, watered down excuse of a comedy that isn't really aimed at anyone. The kids won't appreciate the performances (or at least what they were aiming for) and there's nothing too visually appealing going on for them either, whilst its way too dumb and soft for adults. There's no point having Jamie Lee Curtis looking all slinky if she's not gonna actually do anything.

I think the idea for a quaint little British zoo battling against corporate suits is fine and has promise, but its been completely squandered here. For the first time ever I would have to say that the shenanigans of both Cleese and Palin actually bored and annoyed me at times. I've never really come across a movie that has tried to pretty much copy its predecessors formula so blatantly. I mean seriously! why would you even watch this when you have the first movie which is exactly the same and so much better.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Vince: Round here, he's known as Rod Almighty! 

"Don't pet them."

What many have said is that Fierce Creatures is crap compared to the hilarious A Fish Called Wanda. I will say that even if we didn't have A Fish Called Wanda, this would still be a major disappointment. The movie just doesn't work. It's half as smart and one third as funny. The only thing it has going for it is its returning cast from Wanda. John Cleese always makes movies at least watchable and I will say that this was at least watchable.

The story takes place in a zoo where a bunch of zookeepers and its original director fight to keep it alive despite a father-son(Kevin Klein) that hurt its integrity and threaten to shut it down. There's nothing here that is at all hilarious and when its at its best, it just manages to be amusing. It all manages to seem like a cash in on Wanda, which in reality, it is.

Basically the movie recycles the same jokes throughout the movie and the sad thing is that the jokes weren't funny the first time. It's all sexual innuendo sometimes including animals and the jokes are always used in the same context; making for an extremely dull comedy. This was a disappointment in every possible way.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer


An hour and a half of smiling!

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Fierce Creatures Quotes

– Submitted by Naughtia N (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Naughtia N (4 years ago)

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