Hannibal (DVD, 2007, 2-Disc Set, Collector's Edition; Steelbook) Reviews
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Hannibal (DVD, 2007, 2-Disc Set, Collector's Edition; Steelbook)

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Put Aside Your Preconceived Notions and Watch: Hannibal

Feb 6, 2006 (Updated Feb 6, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Premium everything

Cons:Did not meet expectations of some, but judged on its own merits it's tops

The Bottom Line: I know there are over 300 reviews here but I urge you to give this movie a chance. If you like well done horror, you will be pleasantly surprised!

Hannibal (2001)

“When the fox hears the rabbit scream, he comes a-running; but not to help.” Mason Verger

Ridley Scott‘s Hannibal evokes strong emotions in most people that have seen it, negative or positive. Judging from the reviews here on Epinions, this is one movie people seem either to LOVE or HATE. There is not much middle ground.

Why the people hate this film, well, there are lots of reasons, I’m sure if you read their reviews you’ll get plenty of reasons why this movie just ain’t no good, most of them because of preconceived notions they had going in that were not met. But I’m not here to tell you why you shouldn’t like Hannibal. I’m here to tell you why I LIKE this movie, in fact LOVE it, and why you should see it.

I know I’m probably going to catch some flak for stating this, but, of the filmmakers working today, Ridley Scott has the best track record as a director. For every 1492 “flop” he puts out, he puts out about five good ones - Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, you get the idea. Spielberg, Scorsese, and those other guys would be thrilled to have a batting average that good. Scott’s vision is larger than life, AND he knows how to tell a story. None of that bloated, 45 minutes of chaff in the middle that most “modern” directors leave in. Ridley’s stories keep moving and keep you interested.

The same is true of Hannibal. I know there have been lots of whiny complaints about Jodie Foster not showing up, ditto Jonathan Demme, both from Silence of the Lambs, but it’s really not important. What some people fail to realize is that Silence of the Lambs was about Clarice Starling. Hannibal is about, well, Hannibal. Clarice Starling is only a foil for the piece de resistance which is Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lector. And Anthony Hopkins, as hammy and obnoxious as he is in most roles, has found his niche here. Hopkins is just perfect in this baroque horror thriller, playing the snotty little epicure/mad genius right down to his toenails.

Now you can figure when Jodie Foster found she was not going to get the screen time or emphasis that she did in Silence of the Lambs - because this film belongs to Hannibal - no wonder she wasn‘t interested. No matter, Julianne Moore filled in as Clarice Starling and was an admirable foil for Hopkins, playing every bit as believably as Foster did in her gig.

And the story is quite involved, with a large cast of characters, spanning from DC to Venice to North Carolina. This is a horror movie, and quite frankly I’m shocked that people are disgusted that they are horrified by it. That’s the idea! I wish I had a dime for every cheesy slasher flick review I’ve read extolling its virtues to the sky. You know the kind, with teenage girls that always seem to lose their tops. Then we come to Hannibal, a quality slasher flick that is truly horrifying, and people are unhappy with it. Anyone see a problem with this?

The long and short of it is, fugitive Hannibal is hiding in Europe; FBI Agent Clarice Starling is disgraced after a botched drug bust; an old victim of Hannibal’s resurfaces; and Clarice is stalked by a Justice Department crumb who wants to trade her reinstatement for her drawers. All of these roads lead to Hannibal and Ridley Scott keeps the suspense and horror perking right along, the full running time.

The show is basically structured like an opera, and an operatic score accompanies the Hannibal scenes. Oddly, the film I most think about when I see Hannibal is The Godfather, Part 3. Fans of that movie will know what I mean.

There are some pretty elaborate but well-executed subplots along the way, with Gary Oldman playing an earlier victim of Hannibal’s who has somehow survived and now seeks revenge There are Sardinian Mafiosi and a Venetian detective (Giancarlo Giannini) who try to trip up Hannibal, but get a lesson instead. Ray Liotta plays Clarice’s nemesis, Paul Krendler, who figures in one of the most controversial scenes in the movie. The players all do their parts well. The film is as slickly packaged as any movie I’ve ever seen, with lush John Mathieson cinematography, sets, costuming, and Hans Zimmer score, with classical pieces inserted. Direction and editing is very well done, also.

The MGM DVD is presented in color, in 1.85:1 theatrical format and clocks in at 131 minutes. For once, MGM has included significant additional features that make the experience truly exceptional. Included are a very informative full length commentary by Ridley Scott,; five featurettes; an alternate ending; a bunch of deleted scenes; multi angle treatments of the fish market shootout, subtitles, and more.

If you are in the market for a horror thriller that will knock your socks off, this is the one.

Thank you for reading!

Recommend this product? Yes

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