on 10 August 2007
In this film, the character of Hannibal Lecter reveals more about possibly his most interesting characteristic, his cultured and refined tastes than in any of the other films. His loathing of ill manners and his love of classical opera and art are interesting to behold and form a juxtaposition to his darker side. He shows again that he is a consumate killer and possesses an ability to pre-empt the moves of his enemies. In the hands of a lesser actor, this mix may not have been pulled off with qiuite so much success but Hopkins does it very well indeed.
Possibly one of the most memorable aspects of this film is the score. The music in the film is exquisite with many of the large scale operatic pieces being written for this film directly.
When I first saw this film, I was dissapointed as following Hannibal's escape in Silence of the Lambs, I expected that he might go on a killing spree in this film. To expect this is to underestimate the intelligence of the character. He is not the seedy opportunist slasher in the mould of Michael Myers, he is a man who loves the exotic fragrances of the best perfume houses of Paris, the views of the Duomo in Florence, the taste of fine food and wine. The benefit of seeing the film a few times and of age have revealed that upon escape, Hannibal would have sought out safety abroad, create a new identity for himself and generally keep a low profile so that he can indulge in his passions. It is only when he is challenged and cornered or exacts revenge for ill manners shown to Clarice that his darker side for which he is more notorious emerges.
The film gets better with every viewing. The cinematography and direction is first rate as one would expect from Ridley Scott and all these factors combine to make Hannibal an extremely worthy film.
on 3 January 2011
This is a rare treat, being as it is a sequel which is better than the original. 10 years on from the escape of Hannibal Lecter, he has largely dropped off the radar, with just a few exceptions of Clarice Starling and a new character, Mason Verger. Verger is a collector of Hannibal Lecter paraphernalia, extracting his wares from the black market, mostly via Barney (the orderly we met in Silence of the Lambs) and who is intent on killing Lecter for reasons that become very obvious.
The difficulty with making a sequel that was not originally envisioned as a franchise was in keeping the film-making team intact. Having had extremely limited success since Silence, Jonathan Demme was dropped as director in favour of Ridley Scott, fresh from his success with Gladiator (and with a reputation and filmography of the highest order). Without Demme, it proved to be impossible to entice Jodie Foster back and so the role of Clarice was given to Julianne Moore, who does a very good job, although I can't help but think it would have been nice to Foster back in it.
Scott's involvement added some much needed panache to the proceedings, in particular his eye for detail and use of location, most evident in the scenes in Firenze, which are works of art in and of themselves. The story focuses almost exclusively on Hannibal, without the clumsy and uninteresting plot that Silence had. There are some 'equivalent' characters here, although this owes more to the book by Thomas Harris than the film-making itself, as I could not escape the feeling that Paul Krendler (played very well by Ray Liotta) was a reincarnation of Frederick Chilton.
Anthony Hopkins was given a great script within which to recapture the spirit of Hannibal, though this time his conversations were less about motifs of the freedom he desired and were now expressing his desire for how to live his life now that he had his freedom. There are some great little details thrown into the film that it is very easy to miss, and for that reason I would recommend to you the director's commentary by Ridley Scott, as it helped me to see links and images that had previously passed me by.
Special mention has to go the sound editing, as it is exquisitely done. There are some places where it be easy and cheap to throw in some graphic sound effects, but where opera has been used instead to pace the film more gently and elegantly. Hannibal himself was always a gentleman who liked the finer things in life, and the Ridley Scott has done a sterling job of not only portraying it through Hopkins' acting, but has managed to imbue the film with a touch of class, absent in the first film, that almost makes you feel that Hannibal himself had directed it.
I'm in the minority but I think Hannibal is the best Lecter. Silence of the Lambs is great but it's Dr Lecter that steals the show with his limited scenes. Here we have Hannibal free and roaming around in his own movie. And where do we see him? Beautiful Florence in the first half of the movie!
On the other side of the lense we have Ridley Scott (doing a sequel!) and those that surround him are Julianna Moore, Gary Oldman and Ray Liotta. Anthony Hopkins gets to have a bit more fun with character this time reprising the chillingness of SOTL but with added zest too, 'Okey Dokey'. Some may not like this but the guy isn't in a cell anymore so it should be expected!
Better cast, better director, an equal storyline, more shocking scenes in a beautiful surrounding. What more could we ask for? 'Bowels in or bowels out?', this is a movie of beauty.
The Blu-Ray transfer is excellent. 90% of the scenes are top knotch, especially the opera. There are the odd slightly rough looking dark scenes but still very acceptable as HD.
Languages: English DTS HD Master; French and Spanish DTS surround
Subs: French, Spanish, Korean, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Traditional Mandarin
on 4 November 2003
There are so many people who have seen this film who say it is a disappointment. Frankly, they must have had their eyes closed or the TV turned off not to appreciate how good this film is. In my opinion.
Many judge it on the grounds of it being a horror film, and compare it to 'Silence...', which is a bad start to begin with.
Hannibal is nothing like "Silence...", mainly because it's all about Hannibal, and how he is being hunted by one of his surviving victims, who wants a bloody revenge for what Hannibal did to him (persuaded him, while he was under narcotic influence, to peel his own face of with some glass).
Hannibal is not really a horror film as such either, so it is rather silly to judge it on those pre-defined stereotypical horror film terms.
It is true, however, that Hannibal is not as outrightly indimidating as he is in "Silence...", but rather more ambiguous - you never quite know how he will react in certain situations. Bear in mind that he is in hiding. He has to count his blessings and refrain from doing things which will attract attention to himself, which explains why he's not beating and eating everyone he meets - there'd be no one left in Florence and he'd put on about 20 stone in weight! Of course this does not stop him from creating some trouble when he finds out about the plot to capture him.
Clarice is having a hard time in the FBI, being blocked by that pain in the neck Krendler at every turn, and is generally fed up. Yes she is no longer a timid trainee, because she's been forced to be tough and make the best of what she can (or is allowed to) achieve. Even when she's been booted out she does her job - this is the admirable Clarice Starling at her best, never giving up.
Hannibal grows ever more obsessed with Clarice, and Clarice with Hannibal. Although she seems rather hostile towards him (well she'd only make trouble for herself if she acted otherwise) , she does spend a lot of time sitting around in her office watching him on security footage and listening to his voice on cassette.
When the two finally meet face to face after seven years, it is a gripping moment, which keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end of the film.(I must admit though that she does treat him a bit disrespectfully, for someone who feared him in "Silence..." -the films might be completely different, but the characters are the same after all)
The ending of the film is good, but at the same time lets the film down. I felt- even before I read the book- that the ending of the film was not quite right- that Hannibal and Clarice are better together than apart, no matter how insane Hannibal is, or how moral Clarice is. However, the parting is beautifully done, showing Hannibal's compassionate side (which we see in other parts of the film as well) and Clarice does look sorry to see him go (or maybe she feels sick, I don't know).
So all in all, speaking from the point of view of someone who has not read the book, Hannibal is thoroughly entertaining to the last scene and well worth watching - just don't compare it to the other Hannibal films because it's completely different.
From the view of someone who has read the book - watch the film. Yes, the adaptation could have been SO much better, especially the ending, and it could have mentioned Mischa at least once, but it isn't really all that bad. Honest! You never know, those of you who thought Clarice was a total idiot at the end of the book might enjoy the film more!
No judgement is as good as your own.
on 22 November 2001
I have now watched the video - one year after reading the paperback - and I have read the previous two books and seen the films. So where does Hannibal appear in one of those silly rating charts according to me?
As I said in my review of that book I still qualms about being engrossed in such fare. So I would say about one step behind the SOTL film in terms of pace and plot - there's not a lot of detective work in this story - but ahead in its 'look'. They are both better than Red Dragon or Manhunter owing to HL's menace. But in this instance it's difficult to classify this film... you know what it isn't but is it a thriller or horror film? Does it know?
This film is worth viewing at home but I am not sure about buying it. Plus the VHS version we watched had an 'alternative ending' too... even though it doesn't say explicitly so on the box. It comes after the final credits so you could miss it. Not that it makes much sense. See for yourself, I won't spoil it. Plus for those of you like me who read the book first, it's not the same... nuff said. It provides us with further speculation as to the intentions of the author versus the film-makers v-a-v its continuation. You don't have to have seen the earlier ones but it helps.
I could simply put off the question by saying that it is the latest from a director I have liked the films of in the past - Ridley Scott... but maybe that's not enough. This film, like the book, is not all that frightening, it's not a horror film but it is horrible. Maybe he should be called 'Horrible Hannibal'? The things he does are repellent. He is also too clever... most of the time.
But unlike previous outings, HL is not alone in awfulness. This episode has two Brits as the bad guys, Liotta is also horrid but for different reasons. Starling is neither one extreme nor another, I did not finding myself really liking her by the end of the film enough to care what happened to her. You never really get under the skin of any of them really.
I can see now why Hopkins et al., may have baulked at participating in the film. They got him but lost JF - her absence is not a drawback.
I still ask why such seemingly nice man as Taffy Hopkins wants to be HL. Oldman has been Dracula and tends to be a bit typecast as a baddie. Not that you'd recognise him under all that loathsome makeup as Verger. It's also weird seeing Ray 'Goodfellas' Liotta as a fed too. Maybe AH got paid so much he can retire to tread the boards for some 'serious' acting and not worry about paying the bills....
Funnily enough I had thought that the book read a bit like a film script padded out with recipes and gore but RS has done a good job with the film version. A couple of characters short, notably the girl in Verger's entourage. So apart from CS it's all blokes tripping over themselves. Shame that the likeable Barney got such short shrift.
Stars of the show have got to be the piggies but they are not on screen long enough to see their Oscar quality performances... and where were the elephants?
on 7 July 2007
Reprising his role as the charming cannibal Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins dazzles yet again as he brilliantly and charismatically makes his way back into the limelight. On his trail is the brilliant but flawed FBI agent, Clarice Starling, played this time around by Julianne Moore.
What is striking about this admirable sequel is the beauty of it's locations, from Florence, to New England, to Sicily and a few in between. Moore proves her acting ability as Starling, and Ray Liotta plays the truly vile Paul Krendler, who is out to destroy Starling's stellar career. Whilst this film lacks the incredible suspense and shock value of 'Silence Of The Lambs', it does contain a memorably twisted performance from Gary Oldman as Mason Verger, one of Lecter's victims. Hatching a plot to capture Lecter and feed him to violent wild boars, the plot takes various interesting twists and turns until Lecter and Starling are ultimately reunited.
Hopkins' performance is as charming yet chilling as we have come to expect from him, and the chemistry between him and Moore as Starling is captivating to watch. Watching Lecter's excessive revenge on one of Starling's adversaries is also truly memorable. Overall, the film is beautifully shot, well-acted, though lacking in the same iconic dialogue as the original. Undoubtedly though, this film is beautiful to look at, and a fantastic soundtrack makes it beautiful to listen to, as well.
on 18 September 2001
This movie is very good. Much of the film is successfully addapted from the noval. Although it was a relief that Anthony Hopkins came back to revive Hannibal Lecter the character doesn't have the same impact as he did in the first one. A good buy all the same. So go and buy it ... NOW!
on 2 June 2010
This is an awesome sequel to Silence of the Lambs. I didn't think Julianne Moore could pull it off but she did it with great success. The film transfer wasn't to good but this could be due to poor source material.
on 2 September 2001
Well, it was directed by Ridley Scott so it couldn't be all bad could it? No, it's not. It's actually rather good, despite the fact it's not as effective or scary as Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal is still an entertaining watch. Anthony Hopkins now reprising his Hannibal is still terrific although Hannibal no longer seems as terrifying as he once did, more an old twisted romantic than a vicious psychotic. Julianne Moore fills Clarice Starling's role perfectly and Ray Liotta is also equally good as the sleazy FBI director. But Gary Oldman threatens to steal the film with his twisted and yet sympathetic disfigured Mason Verger. Ridley Scott on the whole does a good job here and provides another excellent commentary on the DVD, although the ending does leave a bit of bad taste in your mouth. As for the rest of the DVD the extras are indispensable and very informative and make this a very worthy collectable.
on 2 September 2015
Hannibal is a very good movie, beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, although as a sequel to the silence of the lambs which it isn't it is a little inferior, firstly for a 2 hour movie you have to condense the novel but getting rid of a few characters Margot Verger (who reminds us of what Verger is capable of) and Ardelia Mapp and Jack Crawford ( v important to the Starling character ) does take a lot away from the film, the casting is very good although Julianne Moore lacks the chemistry with Lector, the script is OK but with the Verger character who is the most intriguing in the movie who you are supposed to hate unlike the book he is a sadistic paedophile Luther movie you actually have sympathy for the character!! Like I said this is a great movie but if you watch season 3 of the series they did the novel more justice!!