Director: Ridley Scott
Written by: David Mamet, Steve Zaillian
Weapon of Choice: Knife
Based upon: novel - Hannibal - Thomas Harris
Other movies in this series:
Manhunter / Red Dragon
Silence of the Lambs
The tyranist's thoughts
When we walked up to the box office and asked for tickets to Hannibal, before she would hand them over, the girl working the till asked us to sign a paper that we had been notified how "graphic" the movie was. I think they were afraid people would walk out demanding their money back because they were shocked by the movie. This is typical of the place I live. For me, on the other hand, it just got me excited.
So interest in Hannibal Lecter is once again stirring up through no fault of his own. One of his former victims is actively hunting him and for the sake of keeping her from doing anything else, Clarice is also being reassigned to the case. Well, prodded into action, Hannibal must defend himself. Of course, travelling back to the states for a chance to meet up once again with his dream girl is something any psychopathic killer would do when he's getting so much attention.
Going into this movie, it was hard to not be disappointed about Jodie Foster not doing this movie. She is easily one of the best parts of Silence of the Lambs. On the other hand, Ridley Scott has made more than one great movie. Coming out of the movie, I have almost no reservations. Creepy, gory, and beautiful. It complements its predecessor as much as a movie possibly could. Julianne Moore did a really good job with Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins was as good as ever. The gore really is over the top but underneath it all there is a script that is well-written and it ends up being a film worthy of its heritage. Oh, and if you are a Gary Oldman fan, good luck picking him out before the closing credits. He did a fantastic job.
The buzz on this one has been all over the place, but I'd highly recommend that you see it. This is a chance to step back into a world that is as intriguing as it is frightening. You'll hear a lot about the over-the-top gore, but I've seen gorier movies. Still none of those gorier movies had the incredibly high production values and projected box office of this one.
First, let me start with a story. As 2001 began, I was visiting tyranist and my home town, and I picked up a copy of Thomas Harris's Hannibal second hand. I knew all about the film version--Jonathan Demme passing on the project, Ridley Scott taking it over; Jodie Foster passing as well, Julianne Moore taking it over, etc.--and it vexed me. I went back to my hovel and my semi-existence there, and a week before the motion picture opened, I decided to read the book INSTEAD of seeing the movie. After all, I could create the movie in my head, and Clarice Starling could stay Jodie Foster, Scott Glen Jack Crawford, heck, even my almost-buddy Anthony Heald could reprise Chilton in flashbacks. I read parts of it aloud (as the orderlies often urge us inmates to do), coming close to perfecting my Lecter impersonation. The movie opened the day before I finished the book, and everybody went to see it. But I didn't. I read the reviews, I talked to people who attended, and, it's difficult to explain, but I got this snotty little superior feeling knowing I hadn't paid nine bucks to see the movie . . . yet I had seen my own, truer version. Ha ha on you.
But the other day, when I saw the DVD version come out, I figured I'd give it a try. In the months since the film came and went, that superior feeling went away (or rather, transferred itself to the upcoming "Harry Potter" movie), and I decided to give it a shot. I watched it yesterday, and for the most part, enjoyed it very much. I was able to appreciate certain things because I had read the book, and was able to overlook certain details because time had passed since I did. As a bonus on the disc, they show footage from the premiere--namely the audience's reaction to certain scenes--and it was amazing. People laughed in discomfort, applauded in recognition, and screamed in revulsion. Then it hit me: because I had declined to see Hannibal in the theater last February, I had denied myself this visceral connection with an audience. I didn't get to shriek when Krendler gobbled down his own cerebellum, or chuckle when the snotty kid on the plane demanded some. You guys weren't the losers (nine dollars or no) . . . I was.
As for the movie, Ridley Scott did a fine job. Hannibal is a much less intimate, much broader film than its predecessor. It is much less focused on Starling, and like the book, includes longish stretches with no sign of her. Doctor Lecter is the protagonist. As is Starling. As is Inspector Pazzi. And new to the film, as is Mason Verger. In the book, Verger was much more repugnant, a venomous ex-child-molester who tries to make everyone around him as miserable as he is. In the film, Gary Oldman brings a certain air of dignity, and oddly, a sense of humour to the disfigured character. When he meets his (unimaginably horrible) demise, we can't help but feel sorry for him, at least in the second before we turn away (or reach for the vomit bag). That's nice.
Dealing with the attempts of several parties to recapture Doctor Lecter and his continued fascination with Agent Starling, Hannibal is even less a horror movie than Lambs was. But hey, it gets Skulls, has a serial killer in it, and ain't exactly a musical. That's good enough for me.
I'd Recommend It To: Strong-stomached cat-and-mouse film fans.
Special Guest Review: HellCat
As a non-gore/horror film fan or critic, my interpretation of this movie is some what different than tyranist's. I absolutely loved Silence of the Lambs, so when Hannibal came to the big screen, I had to go see it. I am with tyranist on his feelings about Jodie Foster. I loved her in Silence of the Lambs because of her ability to draw you deep into her character and let you feel what she was feeling, giving you the ability to watch the movie over and over again and have a new experience each time, because you were getting to know Clarice a little better. Julianne Moore was an acceptable Clarice, but I don't think she had the depth that Jodie had. The focus of the movie was much different this time as opposed to the last one, and that could have had a damaging effect on Julianne's ability to portray that depth. The first one was 'about' Hannibal, with Clarice being the focus, where as this one 'was' Hannibal, with Clarice being a shadow character.
I found the gore in this movie to be less disturbing than the evilness portrayed, by both Hannibal, and Masion Verger (Gary Oldman). I found the scariest part of this movie to be the idea that this could actually be real, it could happen. The gore although disturbing, was only 'really bad' in three scenes. The last scene being the most realistic looking. It was computer generated, if you watch really close you can see the digital signature in the scene, you know how the movement of the image just doesn't seem right. But even knowing it was CG, didn't make it any less gruesome to watch.
My over all opinion of this movie is this. Go see it! But be prepared for some graphic and realistic gore, some disturbing shit from Hannibal, and the possibility of people walk out of the theater.
Who should go see this movie. NOT KIDS!!! Or anyone who is already a little touched in the head. If you have your head screwed on straight and you can keep your lunch down at the sight of a little blood, then I would recommend seeing this movie.
Total Skulls: 10
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood hits camera|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|