One of my friends recommended this series, saying that it was brilliant. High praise indeed, meaning high expectations. When I found it for a good price, I decided to buy it. I have now nearly finished season 1, and overall, I can see why she was raving about it. However, I do have some reservations about it.
Each episode features a gruesome killing, although the most gruesome parts are left to your imagination. My reservations with the series is that they seem to find the serial killers very quickly - they seem to go from finding the crime scene to getting their man within almost a breath. Some of the scenarios are also very implausible - as another reviewer has stated, some of the crimes and method of killing/ arranging the bodies just doesn't make any sense. Also, I find the character of Will Graham, the profiler who is able to feel empathy for the killers quite irritating. Perhaps it is just the actor's style, but it feels as though his social awkwardness is hammed up too much. His delivery of lines also gets quite repetitive, as he says everything with a great deal of tension and earnestness. My other gripe was with the quality of the sound. There are times I struggle to understand what has been said, especially by Hannibal.
However, despite these gripes, the series is ok. Rather than the serial killers Will is trying to find, the story is really about the characters themselves and the relationship that they have - Will is obviously unaware that he is working alongside one of the most successful serial killers out there. It will be interesting to see how the series ends and how they develop it in the future.
on 16 March 2014
Being a lover of the movies, and the books by Thomas Harris (particularly Silence of the Lambs, and Red Dragon), I wasn't too sure of this when I first heard about it. I decided to give it a go, however, because of the sheer number of recommendations of it from people who have similar interests to me. I was initially worried that Hannibal would be similar to the string of American series that seem to be hitting the screens at the moment, all seemingly aimed at the Twilight generation, all visually interesting but lacking substance.. I find those types of work difficult to digest, as many still desperately clamber to portray the everybody-is-rich-and-beautiful 'American dream' which just makes for more falsity than any of the dramatic fantasy/horror undertones they can conjure.
It borrows certain characters and events from Red Dragon, but I wouldn't call this a prequel as such - if at all, and I see it as an almost 'alternate universe' using the same characters. It goes into a completely different direction from the books and movies, and flips everything over. You are seeing the exact same relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, but scrutinised, and in an entirely different light because of the circumstances they find themselves in within the story.
I think that if you are watching this in the hopes of watching another crime investigatory series, such as CSI etc (and the movies did have such a pattern) then you might be disappointed. This is a series that focuses on Hannibal, on Will, their relationship, and the dynamics of that relationship. Everything else is only a secondary enjoyment. I do particularly LOVE the relationship between Hannibal and Bedalia Du Maurier, his psychotherapist, as well, but I won't say much more on that... I have a feeling that her arcs in the story will be revealing much more about Hannibal, himself, in time.
Hannibal is visually interesting, and stunning... but there is much more meat on the bones, and if you can't see where it is already then you probably won't. It seems to me, that those in the audience who have gotten the most from this, tend to have an empathic thinking pattern already similar to that of Will Graham.. so, we can understand and sympathise with his predicament fully, as well as that of Hannibal (though it is hard, as even though we do get more glimpses of him than Will, he is very much locked away from us as well - for now), and the characters (both 'good' and 'villainous') that surround and intertwine with them. Here, we have two desperately lonely individuals, on two extreme and opposite ends of the spectrum, both over thinking the details, and harbouring the desire to connect with another. Some of the most beautiful scenes involve Will when he is alone and reflective, much symbolism is used, and is almost breathtaking during his moments of breakdown.
It is a slow burner, initially, and I have to admit that I wasn't fully locked onto this until around the seventh or eighth episode. Now, I am glued to it, and am currently having to deal with waiting a week for each episode of season 2 just like everybody else!!
I was worried that Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Lecter could not be topped, it was perfect to me, but Mads Mikkelsen has eclipsed him. His portrayal is different, obscured, and much more subtle in some ways whilst being more outlandish in others. His version really is just as good, if not better. His portrayal is much more closed off, sociopathic, and left to the imagination, even as we witness his brutalities, but then I guess we are dealing with Hannibal under a much different set of circumstances here. I wonder if he will be as colourful and as outspoken when (and if) he is caught in the continuing series, as Anthony Hopkins was in Silence of the Lambs. What is beneath the stitching of his 'person suit'?
on 9 February 2014
....I'm breaking the habit of a lifetime with this series.
The two aspects of these episodes that I like are:
1. The superb production values. The cinematographer is James Hawkinson, who has a background in rock videos, and he does a great job. The overall "feel" is of a David Lynch film (a lot of series 1 reminded me of Twin Peaks), particularly the interiors. The overall quality is of the same standard as an expensive Hollywood production. It's filmed in Canada and it looks beautiful.
2. Mads Mikkelsen's performance. I've always been a fan of this fine actor, and he brings a strength and dignity to the character of Lector. Over the years, several actors have tried to get to grips with the nuances of this serial killer, and my favourite has always been Brian Cox in Manhunter. (The use of this Scottish actor was a brilliant piece of casting). Anthony Hopkins was dreadful; over the top and hammy. Mikkelsen brings a new dimension to the character - he is best in the scenes with Will Graham, played by a fine British actor Hugh Dancy, who will go onto greater things. Laurence Fishburne - I remember when he was "Larry" - adds additional gravitas to some ludicrous scripts.
The series can only get better, if the scripts improve. The producers don't have to generate yet another appalling crime scene in every episode. The body count is ridiculous; pretty soon most of Canada will be spliced and diced at this rate.
Is there a Lector cookbook based on the series? It would sell very well.