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A Fish Called Wanda (CE)
DVD disk
11.21.2006 By: Quigles
A Fish Called Wanda (CE) order
Director:
Charles Crichton

Actors:
John Cleese
Jamie Lee Curtis
Kevin Kline

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After pulling off a diamond heist in London, a group of crooks make endless attempts to double-cross each other for the loot.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I won't deny that this film isn't for everybody. I watched it with five friends of mine who hadn't seen (or even heard of) it before, and they mildly enjoyed it at best. Oh well, I guess they're not fans of brilliantly written dark comedies filled with wonderful characters and an ever-increasing entertainment value. Their loss. Meanwhile, the rest of us can enjoy this film for what it is - a comedic masterpiece. Never before have I seen a film combine dry, witty humor and slapstick, over-the-top shenanigans so well (think of it as like a jumble of the best humor Britain and America has to offer).

The problem with most comedies is that, even if they're hilarious the first five or so times through, they eventually get stale. After all, there are only so many times you can hear a joke before it starts getting old (or worse yet, annoying). A FISH CALLED WANDA doesn't have this problem. The film actually seems to get funnier the more times you watch it. Even though you know what hilarious line or sequence is coming next, you still can't help but be thrilled when it eventually comes to fruition. Perfect examples of this are Kevin Kline's constant "Don't call me stupid" lines, as well as Michael Palin's dealing with those three poor pups (Ouch!). Alongside the hilarious gags and incredibly wacky antics, there's also a strong, compelling plot (I think each character backstabs every other character at least five times). So, even if you do get a little tired of the jokes during multiple go-arounds, you'll still have the terrific story to contend with. Just writing about it makes me want to watch the film over again. In fact...

Okay, just got back from watching it again (I'm not joking). And yup, it's still just as awesome as it was before. I seriously cannot stress it enough - buy this film. Whether it's for Jamie Lee Curtis (who is fully in her prime here, both in terms of acting ability AND hotness), or for Monty Python's Michael Palin (who shines to no end as the hilarious, stuttering Ken). And let's not forget John Cleese, who already gets major props for writing the damn film, and acting's just as good. Saving the best for last though, we've got Kevin Kline as the Nietzsche-reading Otto. He may be obnoxious; he may be evil; he may be loonier than a cartoon villain... but my god is he hysterical. And to think, the collection of characters is only part of the joy that A FISH CALLED WANDA has to offer. The rest is just as wonderful.
THE EXTRAS
Despite having been jerked around endlessly waiting for this release, I was more than happy to let all that slide and just enjoy what goodies it has to offer. And while not exactly bursting with extras, there is still plenty here to enjoy (especially considering the previous release consisted of nothing more than the theatrical trailer). I also appreciated the inclusion of the mini-booklet (featuring character information, fish facts(?), etc.). Not exactly anything special, but still better than nothing.

DISC 1

Audio Commentary (with writer/actor John Cleese): While interesting at times, there's an awful lot of dead air during this track. And oftentimes, Cleese will merely ramble off random (but fun) facts. Luckily, more insight is offered on disc two's special features.

Also included on the first disc is a Trivia Track, which is nice to have playing during the commentary.

DISC 2

A Message from John Cleese (4:55): This is a sort of short sketch more than an introduction or anything. It has Cleese performing a silly, somewhat humorous routine where he attempts to inform us of A FISH CALLED WANDA, but blunders constantly. Cute.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (29:37): There are 26 scenes, each of which comes complete with an introduction by John Cleese. Most of the scenes are short, but they're still fun to watch. One highlight includes another running gag with Otto, where he shoots the tails off cats. According to Cleese, they cut it because of the incessant cruelty of animals throughout the film. Heh heh.

Documentary: Something Fishy (30:30): This is the most recent featurette on the DVD, having somewhat current conversations with all of the main actors, as well as some of the crew. I was surprised at how open and honest everybody was, having no trouble mentioning each others problems and quirks. A fun, refreshing watch.

Featurettes:
  • John Cleese's First Farewell (18:11): While amateurishly put together, and without a real structure, this behind-the-scenes piece was made at the same time the movie was, so obviously it has a lot of on-set footage. That in itself makes the featurette interesting, with fun tidbits thrown out about how the actors work, and Cleese's process for coming up with the film.

  • Farewell Featurette: John Cleese (29:51): I'm not quite sure why this was separated from the above featurette, because it feels a lot like it. It's pretty much just more of the same - poorly compiled but appealing behind-the-scenes clips from the film's production.

  • Kulture Vulture (16:31): This special feature is pretty lame, with somebody named Robert Powell presenting various locations that can be seen in the film. It also cuts away every now and then to crew talking about specific sequences. There are moments of interest to be found, but you'd probably be better off skipping it.
Also included on this disc are a Photo Gallery entitled "Mug Shots" (with five sections worth of behind-the-scenes images, including publicity shots), the Theatrical Trailer, and 4 Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect comedy than A FISH CALLED WANDA. Literally the only negative thing I can think to say about it is that the gun sound effects are lousy... but that's it. Everything else is terrific. And this Collector's Edition DVD is too. Whereas the original release offered a non-anamorphic transfer, a mono audio track, and only a trailer for extras, this proper release has quality video/audio and 2 discs worth of extras. So even if you own the previous release, just chuck it out the window and pick this one up ASAP.
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