A Fish Called Wanda: Collector’s Edition

DVD Reviews | Nov 27th, 2006

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Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Tom Georgeson
Written By: John Cleese, Charles Crichton
Directed By: Charles Crichton
Studio: MGM / UA
Buy on Amazon.com link

A Fish Called Wanda could be in my top ten favorite comedies of all time. I always make it an effort to watch it at least once a year. There has been some Special Editions out for the movie, but now there’s the Collector’s Edition DVD. This DVD is the definite version of A Fish Called Wanda and its out now!

A Fish Called Wanda is about the aftermath of a UK jewel heist. There’s Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis), who’s a busty jewel thief who’s dating an ex-CIA agent named Otto (Kevin Kline), who’s also a jewel thief. Rounding out the jewel thieves is George (Tom Georgeson), the leader of the group and someone Wanda is also dating. Then there is the animal loving hitman Ken (Michael Palin), who also happens to have quite the stutter. Wanda and Otto planned to steal the money from the others and run. But George ended up moving the loot before getting arrested. Wanda tries to get close to George’s Barrister and ends up falling in love with him. Meanwhile, she has to deal with Otto, Ken, Archie’s family and everyone else that stands in her way of the diamonds. Plus she has to appear at George’s trial and Ken tries to kill the key witness but ends up killing her dogs instead. There are many twists & turns in the movie, and you keep trying to figure out who’s going to get the loot in the end, and who’s going to end up with Wanda as well. And you also wonder if Ken will get revenge on Otto for eating all his fish and constantly badgering him.

The film has all the right elements for a excellent comedy movie. It has violence, lots of great dialogue & characters, memorable quotes, Jamie Lee Curtis’ heaving bosoms, dog murders, and a bank heist. What more can you ask for? I believe this is Kevin Kline’s best role he ever did, and glad & surprised he won an Oscar for his role as Otto. He did a fantastic job as the looney ex-CIA hitman and just went all out. I’m not sure how much was written in the script, but it seems like he put a lot of improv and ad-lib into the dialogue. There are so many lines that I quote from his character, and others as well. I’m not sure which lines I say the most but I usually quote a lot: “It’s K-K-K-Ken c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me” or “I’m sorry I ate your fish, okay!” Though I could talk about each line and how great they are but that will make for a boring review. You can’t forget the Monty Python members of John Cleese & Michale Palin and all their brilliant work on this movie as well. Cleese co-wrote the story/script and did some directing of the movie as well. That’s just a lot of work from one guy! It’s probably his bets work next to Fawtly Towers and Monty Python. Palin was excellent as the animal loving hitman Ken, and took the stuttering thing to another level. He made it realistic but funny at the same time and that’s very hard to do. Jamie Lee Curtis looked really hot in this movie, and her breasts were certainly nice. She was perfect in the role because she was funny, conniving, seductive, and made every man in the movie melt in her hands.

The story of the movie was interesting because usually heist movies finish with the actual heist. This film has the heist in the beginning. It’s what happens afterwards that makes this interesting because everyone wants the jewels for themselves, and you see what they go through to get that. You don’t know who’s going to end up with the money and it makes for an exciting movie. I thought the Wanda & Archie stuff was kind of blah but having Otto being jealous and sneaking up on them all the time made those scenes hilarious. If he wasn’t in those scenes, it wouldn’t have been as interesting. I thought having Ken trying to kill the old lady was great because it took him three tries to do it. He kept killing the dogs and what made it even funnier was that he was an animal-loving person. I don’t think those scenes would have be as funny if they were more gruesome like they were in the deleted scenes. Even Cleese said the test audiences were in shock when they saw those scenes. But once they made the dogs cartoony and fake-looking, people were bent over in laughter. It’s sort of the same way Anchorman went when Jack Black’s character kicked off the Baxter off the bridge. The dog was a stuff doll and it just makes the scene a lot goofier and funnier.

I have the very first A Fish Called Wanda DVD that doesn’t even have any extras on it. It comes with some 8-page booklet and it’s just very weak in terms of bonus material. But thankfully there’s this Collector’s Edition out now that has a lot of cool things to watch. There’s a bunch of deleted scenes from the movie, and John Cleese introduces each clip. You find out why they were cut, with most of them cut for pacing purposes and some of them were redundant. One of the story arcs of Otto that was ultimately cut from the film was he hated cats and shot off their cats. I didn’t really find it funny that he did that, and it makes him more of an asshole. In the film, he’s a likable and funny asshole. There’s actually difference. Other bonus features on the second disc include some featurettes/behind the scenes stuff that was recorded back when the movie was made, audio commentary with John Cleese, a UK show called “On Location” that shows where all the scenes were shot in London, and then there’s other things like a trivia track and a photo gallery. Definitely a nice batch of extras to keep fans of the film happy.

The Collector’s Edition of A Fish Called Wanda is the best DVD of the movie out so far. The transfer isn’t the greatest though and not sure if there still is a chance that they can clean it up. But regardless, this DVD is worth upgrading if you like extras on your DVD and want to hear some good commentary from Cleese. So go out and get this DVD you pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, English, giant, twerp, scumbag, fuck-face, dickhead, asshole!

Audio Commentary with Actor/Writer John Cleese
Over 25 Minutes of Deleted and Alternate Scenes
Something Fishy Documentary
Kulture Vulture Featurette
John Cleese’s First Farewell Performance
A Message From John Cleese
Trivia Track
Mug Shots: A Photo Gallery
And More!

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Mono
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Mono
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: Otto hitting on Ken, Otto driving in London (ASSHOLE!), Jamie Lee Curtis in her underwear, Ken in the bulldozer, Otto in Archies House
Rating: R
Running Time: 108 minutes
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