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Hannibal (DVD, 2007, 2-Disc Set, Collector's Edition; Steelbook)
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Hannibal - book and film
Aug 13, 2001 (Updated Aug 19, 2001)
Review by Petra
Rated a Very Helpful Review
The Bottom Line: Not as great as I'd have expected a follow-up to Silence of the Lambs could be, but definitely better than the book.
Hmmm... I thought I'd be the first in this category, since the film hasn't come out yet on video, but I guess a few others put their theater reviews here already. Dang. There goes my fame. :-)
Recommend this product?
Hannibal comes out August 21st, but we received a screener tape from MGM, so we carried it home and threw it in last night. Late at night. And yes, I fell asleep, but let's not judge that as necessarily a judgement of the film ... he he.
The only difference between a screener tape and the regular VHS cassette is the annoying "Property of MGM" and "If you rented or purchased this copy, call 1-800-nocopys" lines running at the bottom all the time. Somewhat distracting and frankly, I want to call them just to tell them that no copys is a sad way of spelling things, even IF they had to make the numbers match.
I have to admit I wasn't too excited about getting the film, but my room mate dragged it home and heck, it's there, I'll watch it. The reason for the apprehension was, (here we go again ... book vs. film) that I had read the book first and frankly, the book was lousy.
In Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Lecter, Hannibal, whatever you want to call him, escaped. In Hannibal, he found a new home in Florence, Italy, where he's taken a job at a museum after his predecessor suddenly commited "suicide". This is 10 years after his escape. (He wasn't the youngest when he skipped in Silence of the Lambs, but he seems to regain that youthful killer energy quite well.)
Agent Starling in the meantime has elevated herself to the title of Female FBI Agent who Shot and Killed the Most People, according to the Guiness Book of Records. During a raid to catch a notorious drug dealer - hm. It's a woman. Would that make her a drug dealeress? Wouldn't want to be politically incorrect here... anyway, Starling shoots the woman while holding a baby in her arms and it brings much unwanted publicity to her and the department.
It wasn't Starling's fault, but it gets construed that way, and she's pretty much put out of commission which attracts Lecter back into writing her as he observes the news about her over in Europe.
On these parts, the book offers more. It explains that Starling has been thrown into these third grade assigments for a long time - ever since she rejected the advances of her new boss played by Ray Liotta.
In the book, Starling has her room mate, her friend from the academy during Silence of the Lambs (book also, and dropped completely from the film), and the conversations between the two and the other narrative of the book gives a much deeper insight of the game playing within the FBI and their intentions of serving Starling as a sacrificial lamb for everybody's convenience. The movie doesn't answer a lot of questions there.
In the book, the old boss from the academy who had originally sent Starling to Lecter is still around and tries to assist Starling and tries to help her fight her internal affairs battles. Leaving out all the characters here gives Starling more of an "alone against the world" touch, but it also cuts down on the "glass ceiling" and "good old boys" connection that's obvious in the book.
Speaking of Starling, while I still haven't learned WHY Jodie Foster didn't take the part again, her replacement Julianne Moore didn't do Starling justice. Her slight country twang is annoying to say the least and at times she seemed to try and pick up on Foster's mannerisms or speech a little too desperately. Moore isnt' Foster's Starling, it's obvious enough, she could have just gone ahead and played it any way she wanted rather than trying to copy.
There's a ton of parts left out about Lecter's life and quirks in Italy. Details about him shopping only at certain places, etc. In the film, Pazzi, the local police chief, ends up discovering Lecter in a quick way, naturally, due to the constraint of time in the film, and here, too, the book delivered so much more. Pazzi has been shamed by some other investigation, his wife is young, pretty, and pretty expensive, and the reward for Lecter is what he needs to keep her happy.
Pazzi sells Lecter out to Mason Verger, the only surviving victim of Dr. Lecter. Conveniently, the only surviving victim is filthy rich. Money has it's prviledges - it gets you into the sequel. The book has a whole annoying side story here, the first turnoff of the book. In it, Verger has a lesbian sister who despises him. She wants her girlfriend to be impregnated, but only a child from the Verger blood line is entitled to the money.
Since Mason himself is pretty much out of the dating scene, seeing as he sliced off his face under Lecter's care long time ago, the only way to get a child from this blood line would be Mason's sperm being used. The sister wants some operation, Mason insists her girlfriend should get it from him in a more manual way. Let's spare ourselves the details, it was trailer trash through and through and thank the writers of the film for leaving it out.
Left out of the film is also the ongoing ladida about the pigs. Yes, Mason has bred a special type of pigs that attack humans and eat them. In the film those pigs are just there. It doesn't go into the endless rants about how they were bred and what all was crossed and blah, blah, so that was another point to thank the writers for.
Frankly, those pigs don't look so special bred in the film. Look like good old Black Forest bores to me. Don't ever let one of them catch you in the woods while going to the bathroom ... many a lonely soldier on night time training can tell you a story about those rowdy pigs in the German woods...
Verger's men get a hold of Lecter, they try to feed him to the pigs and, alas, things don't always work out the way we plan, eh? Not to spoil the end is difficult here, but who thinks that Hannibal will NOT get away for an eventual third sequel? I thought so.
The end of the film was better than the book. In the book, Hannibal kept Starling doped up like a pet for a while and suddenly she was a willing bride and co-cannibal. In the film, she tries to capture him until the end. The book ending was unbelievable and plain stupid. The film leaves room for another sequel.
Hannibal certainly has stooped to more blood, guts and open skulls to scoop out brain close-ups than Silence of the Lambs did. It is much heavier on shock value, maybe to make up for the Hopkins/Foster interaction that carried Silence of the Lambs.
Annoyingly redundant at times, Moore as Starling keeps listening to the recordings of her and Lecter, the same part over and over again while trying to figure out Lecter.
Overall it was an okay movie, but couldn't quite stand up to Silence of the Lambs.
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