Hey folks, Harry here with a couple of treats for you. First up we have the super duper ultra crystal visuals and audios... HANNIBAL trailer... and next a review of the early San Diego test screening of HANNIBAL. This review is not spoiler filled... in fact there are nearly no spoilers in it at all. Now, I've seen in some talkbacks some folks asking why noone seems to be giving credit to David Mamet for the HANNIBAL script... and how come we all seem to be praising Steve Zaillian... I'll tell you. Mamet's script was terrible. Awful. A complete waste. I LOVE MAMET, but he was... COMPLETELY WRONG for the script. Zaillian came in... throughout that draft all together, grabbed hold of Thomas Harris' HANNIBAL and crafted a fantastic script. The film you will see comes from Zaillian's keyboard... not Mamet's. Second off... we have this review of HANNIBAL from Easy Rider, and while he seems to have liked the film quite a bit... he prefers SILENCE OF THE LAMBS... citing that Clarice's character was more fully developed there. HELLOOOOO? Knock Knock Knock? Since when has Harris' novels been Clarice's books? Ummm... was she in RED DRAGON? Ummm... Nooooooo. Clarice was a toy for Lecter, he is the central character about whom Harris has written. Pure delicious, lip smacking evil and this is his film. Clarice is here... but this is HANNIBAL's film... you might take a hint from the title. When you walk into the theater be prepared for it to be Hannibal's story. At last. Here's the trailer and the review... enjoy...
I am sending you my review of Ridley Scott's HANNIBAL, based on my reactions to it from the San Diego screening. (Yes, it DID happen. It's no B.S. story. Why MGM and Universal feel that there's a need to test this film is waaaay beyond me, as it risks letting the finale and all the film's secrets loose. I will not spoil those secrets for everyone here, but I will mention what I feel about them.)
The premise of the movie has already been elaborately revealed on your site, and I see no reason to go on elaborating when it's unnecessary. It follows the basic storyline of the book, though it's a remarkable improvement in how it cuts out the various, uber-weird subplots within Thomas Harris' work, and manages to put more emphasis on the Clarice-Lecter relationship. Credit Steve Zaillian for condensing it all into a watchable 2 hour movie. HANNIBAL is many things: it is a Ridley Scott film, beautiful to behold and gripping in its intensity. It moves fast, even though I clocked it in at 2 hours. It is well crafted and fascinating.
But HELL, I'll just be the first one to come out and say it: HANNIBAL is not a great film, and it certainly doesn't match the original Jonathan Demme masterpiece. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS had a story marked with a sense of emergency, as Buffalo Bill was on the prowl, and Clarice Starling was in a race to the death to save the next victim. It was also a psychological war between two great minds: Clarice, whose vulnerabilities somehow became her greatest strength, and Hannibal Lecter, the man who needs no explanation. HANNIBAL, however, has neither the immediate focus of the first film's storyline, nor the intense psychological love/hate buildup between the two leads. This isn't particularly Ridley Scott's fault, as the book source material was SO out there, that this is indeed perhaps the best movie they could have made. Don't get me wrong. It's good. But somehow there's something missing from all this. Whether it's from the story, the acting, the direction, I don't know, but the film just doesn't have THE SOUL that the first film did.
And perhaps the reason might be with Julianne Moore. But it may not, either. Moore is an exceptional actress, and she aquits herself well. Like a well trained stage actress doing Shakespeare, she has the right look, the right accent (sounds just like Jodie Foster did), and the right moves. But she's not really given that much to do, and her character isn't as well developed or as fascinating as what Jodie Foster had to work with. Though Clarice is hardly a minor character in HANNIBAL, she seems pushed back to the second billing, and Moore's interpretation of Clarice just isn't as edgy or as vulnerable as Foster's. Now this is not to put any blame on Moore's shoulders. Make no mistake. She's good. Very, very good. If she's not Foster, than she really is the next best thing. But the story doesn't let her reach the full emotional spectrum that Clarice was given in the original. I love Julianne Moore, but I love Jodie Foster too, and if it HAD to be a choice between them, I'd put my money on Foster.
Now on the flip side, there's Tony Hopkins. He's really the whole movie, and he seems to love doing it. Whatever he was paid ($10 million? 15? 20?) he's worth it. But even Lecter doesn't seem to be as dangerous or menacing as he used to be. I'll tell you, watching him in SLIENCE behind those bars, staring out at Clarice, at US, without blinking. DAMN FUCKING CREEPY! But in HANNIBAL, Lecter's more relaxed, less intimidating, and less frightening. (If Hopkins had lost another 20 pounds, it might have helped a bit.) But at those moments where he does his stuff, he's in grand form.
Now, there's been some production makeup drawings of Gary Oldman's character posted in the past. (HARRY NOTE: Click Here to visit FetalFilms.Com that had them sketches!!!) What has ended up in the film isn't as garish, but still REALLY FREAKY AS SHIT!!!!!!!!!! The skin is SOOOOOO leathery, a brilliant makeup job likely to give me the shivers long after the movie's over. AGHHHH!!!!!!!!!
And how is the direction? Well, c'mon asshole, it's Ridley friggin' SCOTT. It's gorgeous. The lighting is harshly contrasted, stark, with brilliant colors, unlike the subdued look of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. These ARE different films, and as most of the sequel takes place in Florence, the deliberate change of the look is understandable.
Scott has used a lot of Italian opera within the film. Even if it is just temp music, it somehow works with the Florentine setting. But I think that the film actually needs a few more quiet, personal moments like SILENCE had. It's as though everyone is trying to make the film move as quickly as possible, they have decided to cut the scenes very quickly. Perhaps to add a few longer, quieter moments would make the buildup of tension more effective when it comes.
HANNIBAL's gonna make a shitload of money. Will it win everyone Oscars like the first film did? Likely not, but it will give us a great ride
I have to hit the road myself,