Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Hannibal Special Edition" at
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 131 minutes
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta,
Frankie R. Faison, Giancarlo Gianni, Francesca Neri
Screenplay by David Mamet and Steve Zallian
Based on the book by Thomas Harris
Directed by Ridley Scott
Retail Price: $29.98
Disc 1 - Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Ridley
Scott, "The Silence Of The Lambs" DVD Trailer, Windtalkers
Disc 2 - "Breaking The Silence": The Making Of
Hannibal, Multi-Angle Vignettes, Deleted and Alternate
Scenes with Optional Commentary, Cast and Crew Bios,
Production Notes, Poster Concepts, Photo Gallery, TV Spots,
Theatrical Teaser, Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby
Digital, English 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish
5.1 Dolby Digital, English Closed Captions, English
Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene
Selections (32 Scenes), Two-Disc Set
Truly one of the most anticipated sequels (yes and no
according to Ridley Scott, more on that later) of all time,
"Hannibal" was put into limbo for a little bit before
smashing box office records when it was released during
February 2001. The anticipation began when the next
installment of the series of books by Thomas Harris that
involved Hannibal, also named "Hannibal" came out. The book
met with mixed and some disgusted reviews. The rights for
the film were quickly snapped up, and production was on its
way... sort-of. While Hopkins did want to return (and with a
payday for 20 million), Jodie Foster declined and instead,
Julianne Moore took the part of Clarice Starling. Ridley
Scott also took over directing duties from Jonathan Demme.
Filming began in Italy and soon enough, as I mentioned, it
became a big hit for MGM. But how does "Hannibal" stack up
when compared to the classic "The Silence Of The Lambs"?
The next installment finds Clarice Starling tens years
after the events in "The Silence Of The Lambs" as she is
caught in the middle of a lot as an FBI agent. Meanwhile, an
old victim of Hannibal's Mason Verger, is seeking revenge.
He hopes to trap Hannibal and do something hideous to him (I
won't reveal it here, but even if you haven't seen the movie
you most likely heard from somewhere else), but with this,
Hannibal, Verger and Starling all intertwine, not to mention
some other characters as well as our favorite cannibal comes
out of hiding.
"Hannibal" is no "The Silence Of The Lambs", and people
have and will continue to make their comparisons, but the
real fact is despite returning characters, they really are
different kind of movies. The underlying themes are
different as well as the whole styles. Ridley Scott, a great
director, helms this installment with a unique look and feel
to it. Sure the Harris novels always have a dark feel and
texture to them, but while Demme made "Silence" creepy and
Mann made "Manhunter" deathly, here Scott makes "Hannibal"
really dark and that I really liked. Yet the key difference
of "The Silence Of The Lambs" and "Hannibal" is how they are
set up and how things are conveyed. "Silence" was more
psychological here and mindset, while "Hannibal" tries to do
that, but overall comes off more like a Hollywood thriller.
Not that that's a bad thing, but people expected something
like "Silence" when it should have been clear to them they
weren't getting that. Nothing will live up to "Silence"
ever, but I was not expecting "Hannibal" too. As Ridley
Scott says himself, it's really a different kind of movie.
This movie is really technically polished, as you may
come to expect from Scott. His transistions are fantastic,
his visuals are deeply amazing and the camera shots are
glorious. He really gives this movie a dark edge and the
result soars. It really impressed me. Scott brings back long
time editor Pietro Scalia to edit the movie, and the editing
in this movie is really fantastic. We see what we're
supposed to see and get a good view of all the action. All
of it works nicely, especially the exchanges people have
with our favorite cannibal. On another note, Hans Zimmer
creates yet another mesmerizing and memorable score that
fits really well into the movie.
And now for the acting. It's pretty damn good, but it
lacks the psychological side and creepiness "The Silence Of
The Lambs" had. Hopkins is great once again as Hannibal, but
his performance seems a bit different. It lacks the
psyhcological creepiness "Silence" had, but it's a bit more
intense. While I prefer his performance in "Silence" better,
Hopkins does a fine job here once again, bringing Hannibal
to life. Still, keep in mind time has taken its toll. It's
just different as it is a different movie. Julianne Moore
takes over the role of Clarice Starling. I think Moore's a
great actress, and here she does a good job with the role.
However, I prefer Foster as Starling. Sure Moore gets a good
accent and mannerisims, but I felt Foster was a bit softer
and more vulnerable in the role. Still, Moore's performance
is very good and I'm not complaining. Besides, people see
this movie for Hannibal, not Starling. Though I can see
people feeling akward about the switch, no one really seemed
to mind or care when the movie came out. Ray Liotta is good
in his smaller role as well as Frankie Faison. I also
enjoyed Italian actor Giancarlo Gianni, but I think an
uncredited Gary Oldman takes the cake as Mason Verger. A bit
more creepier than Hannibal, if I say so myself.
My main problem with "Hannibal" was the script. While I
didn't read the novel itself, I've heard a lot about it and
how it compares to the movie. It seems some characters were
cut out and the interesting ending was changed. Zallian and
Mamet, two incredible writers, serve this adapation with
good dialogue and a nice flow that moves along, but the
scenes that occur are like blurs. It's like hit and miss.
Some of them work and serve the story, others come and don't
add so much. My main problem was how uneven the script is
and how it lacked key development in a lot of places.
Something just felt missing. Not much extra is added on to
the characters Hannibal and Starling, and I felt there could
have been more between them. There's not too much to Ray
Liotta's character, and while I liked Gary Oldman's Mason
Verger and felt he came into play nicely, I didn't see so
much of a point to a lot of the other supporting characters.
There just seemed to be a lack of tension and buildup
between the major characters. Also, the "new" ending is
rather lackluster. I felt the new ending also lacked the
tension and it just didn't feel right, it went too easily
and quickly. The ending has two parts, and they didn't go
well together or seperatley for that matter. Hannibal
confrontations could have been a bit more thoughtful, and
the confrontations lack the chills that "The Silence of The
Lambs" had. There really could have been more to Clarice and
Hannibal as well. Overall, I found this script very
disappointing considering Mamet and Zallian are great
writers. It feels like they were trying to search through
the material seperatley, not really knowing what was going
on and then merging their stuff together. Too bad Ted Tally
didn't want to do the adaption. Nothing is really memorable
out of this story.
"Hannibal" is different from "The Silence Of The Lambs",
and while it can be a considered a sequel, it should not be
compared to "Silence" in most areas since they both are
really different kinds of films from two different,
respected filmmakers. While people love Hannibal and
probably won't care about the story's overall dynamics, this
is a disappointment. The directing is good, the acting is
good but the adapation just doesn't add up and in the end,
that's what really kills "Hannibal" since it lacks mindset
and development. Still, if you liked "Silence", you'll
probably still see this one. You may like it, you may not.
To me, I think it could have been a bit better. And this
isn't the last we've heard of "Hannibal"... "Red Dragon" is
being remade into a movie and is to be helmed by Brett
Ratner. But Tally is adapating that one. Just pray it will
be good (I think "Manhunter" is a bit hard to beat myself).
"Hannibal" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen,
and the end result is really terrific. Colors and fleshtones
look accurate and are well saturated, while black levels are
right on target. Detail is very good too. The exterior shots
of Italy look lovely and the interior shots often have their
darker, grim look as that's how it's supposed to be. There
is some shimmering in the movie in some scenes, but overall,
not much. There is some grain, and blemishes as well as dirt
do pop up here and there. Overall, this is one sharp
transfer and one of MGM's best for sure.
MGM has given "Hannibal" some prime, beefed-up audio that
sounds incredible. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital
5.1 tracks are included, plus an English 5.1 DTS track. The
Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are really neck and neck with the
DTS, so it won't really matter which one you do choose and
each will provide one mesmerizing listening experience. This
movie features its fair share of surrounds and they sound
really crisp and clear. The fish market scene at the start
out of the film gives the speakers a good workout, plus the
boars toward the end of the movie. Also, a key scene with
Clarice and Hannibal builds a nice atmosphere, as does Italy
itself. Hans Zimmer's sounds wonderful on the tracks too.
Overall, the Dolby Digital and DTS really bring this film to
life and puts you right in it, it really makes you feel like
you're caught in the middle of things usually. It's quite
active too with great dynamic range and fidelity. In the end
though, DTS wins this battle as I felt it was a bit more
sharp in some areas. Still, MGM has created some amazing
mixes. English closed captions, English subtitles, French
subtitles and Spanish subtitles are also included.
Woohoo! MGM has delivered a sweet two-disc set for
"Hannibal", and it's a worthy special edition that fans of
the movie are going to love. Let's start with the first
disc. We have an Audio Commentary with
Director/Co-Producer Ridley Scott. I'm glad Scott is
always willing to provide a commentary and add more to the
supplements on DVD releases, as he is a big supporter of the
format. He has a big passion for his work, so I'm glad he's
willing to share his experiences and give more to the DVD
experience. This is another great and worthwhile track from
Scott as there are no real gaps in silences and he offers a
lot of insight about making the movie. He talks about
adapting the book, the cast, character motives, shooting
sequences to make them seem original and a whole lot of
other stuff. He has a nice voice and this is another fine
commentary from Scott that fans of the movie won't want to
miss it, or film lovers in general as it is one of the best
tracks I have heard in a long while. It's really interesting
and there's a lot of great stuff to absorb here, I liked it
a lot. He's never dull and offers a lot of insights. The
commentary is even chapter indexed for easy reference, a
nice touch from MGM if I say so myself.
Disc one ends with a full frame The Silence Of The
Lambs DVD Trailer (come on, you gotta promote that too)
as well as a Windtalkers Teaser Trailer in
non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound.
Disc two now... Breaking The Silence: The Making Of
Hannibal is a documentary divided into parts. However,
you can watch all of it together. The total comes to a
little over an hour and sixteen minutes. The parts include
clips from the movie, still photos, behind the scenes
footage and whole slew of stuff, not to mention the
extensive interviews on and off the set with Anthony
Hopkins, Dino and Martha De Laurentiis, Ridley Scott, Hans
Zimmer, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore and a whole lot more
from the production. This documentary pulls no punches and
isn't fluffy or promotional at all. What I liked so much
about it how honest it was, it really pulls no punches. It
covers so many aspects of the production, not to mention how
detailed it is. It's very even and all of it works together
well. It's really stylish and well done, so don't miss it.
Truly one of the best documentaries I've seen on DVD in
awhile, if not ever. The five parts of the documentary are
"Development", "Production" (which has some footage of the
famed Italy press conference), "Special Make-Up Effects",
"Music and "Reaction", so again, don't miss this.
There are three Multi-Angle Vignettes on the
second disc. The "Anatomy Of A Shoot-Out" has a text
introduction, and even offers some cinemaic terms to learn.
This vignette has the shoot-out scene in
non-anamorphic-widescreen, and you can switch between four
cameras to see the shot. Overall, it works really well and
is very cool if you ask me. There'a also an angle to see all
four at once, where each angle is divided into little boxes.
Very tasteful. The next vignette, "Ridleygrams", also has a
text intro which explains that "Ridleygrams" are his own
storybards. Seeing them, Scott does an impressive job.
Basically, you can check out "Ridleygrams" in three ways:
the Ridley Scott interview where little boxes pop up to show
the storyboards and the storyboard/shot comparison, just the
storyboards with the narration from the interview and the
narration from the interview with the storyboard/shot
comparison. Also nicely done. Finally, we have the "Title
Design" which has a slew of options to go through. There's
another text introduction, plus four angles to go through:
"Final Title Design", "Original Teaser Cut", "Shooting
Pigeons" and "Nick Livesey's Notebook", plus four audio
options: "Final Theatrical Mix", "Original Theatrical Mix",
a commentary with Nick Livesey and a commetary with Ridley
Scott. As you can see, there's a lot to hear and see with
the title design, and truly a load of insight to gain. You
may have to watch this more than once to get all the
information and take it all in. Have fun!
There is a whole section for Deleted and Alternate
Scenes, all of which last a bit over thirty-five minutes
and in non-anamorphic widescreen. There are fourteen of
these days, not to mention that they look really complete.
As expected, Ridley Scott offers optional commetary with
these and gives his thoughts. You can see why they were cut,
but he offers some good explanations. Also, the "alternate
ending" isn't a major deal. It's pretty similar to the one
in the theatrical cut, but there are a few extensions and
slight changes. Overall, I prefered the theatrical version.
Each scene, when highlighted, also offer a quick summary.
The Marketing Gallery section features a LOAD of
Still Photos from the production and the film. You
can view em all, or have them broken down in section for
you. There are "Cast Portraits", "Fish Market", "FBI",
"Flashbacks", "Barney's Apartment", "Florence - Part I', "La
Vita Nuova", "Florence - Part II", "Virginia", "Union
Station", "Verger Estate", "Krendler's Cottage", "Airplane",
"Deleted Scenes", "Behind The Scenes", "Special Make-Up
Effects" and "Florence Press Conference" PHEW!
Also in the Marketing Gallery there are quite a few
Poster Concepts, which you can also see together or
in their seperate sections: "New Wave Entertainment", "71
Design Team", "Nick Livesy" and "Final Key Art"
Finally in the Marketing Gallery, there is the
Theatrical Teaser in non-anamorphic widescreen and
two channel sound, the Theatrical Trailer in
non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound as well,
plus nineteen (!) TV Spots. Go nuts with those.
Finally, there are extensive Cast and Crew Bios
that have filmographies (and a lot of the crew too), plus a
load of Production Notes lifted from the theatrical
press kit. Also, something that I found puzzling is in the
DVD's insert. Ridley Scott writes some very good notes, but
what I found interesting is how he considers "Hannibal" a
stand alone film in the first paragraph, but in the third,
he talks about the challanges of making a sequel. Hmm, a
little contradicting there?
While in the end this movie is a bit of a disappointment
to me, MGM has served up a great edition of "Hannibal" with
a stunning anamorphic widescreen transfer, Dolby Digital 5.1
and DTS tracks as well as some in-depth extras that are
really great. Overall, this is a DVD set that should not be
missed and fans of the movie will love. Bon appetit...
(3/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)