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The F*cking Black Sheep: Hannibal (2001)

04.11.2013by: Ryan Doom

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Hannibal (2001)
Directed by Ridley Scott

ďA bloody horror epic that spans countries, involves pigs, and has a lot of really, really really hurt feelings.Ē

You have to admit, it takes balls to make a sequel to some movies. While no one really cares if a Battleship sequel ever sees production, people did care when a decade after Silence of the Lambs, the good doctor returned for yet another playful romp about cannibalism, cooking, and the fine arts. If you create a sequel to a classic, it better be damn good. Hannibal isnít up to the quality of Silence of the Lambs, but hell, what is? Instead, Scott delivers a bloody horror epic that spans countries, involves pigs, and has a lot of really, really really hurt feelings (see Gary Oldmanís character).

When I first caught Hannibal in theaters way back when, I was just as much as a critical dick as the next guy. The Silence of the Lambs is one the greatest modern horror movies, one of the few flicks that somehow exceeded the normal constraints of the genre and was, well, just generally badass. It created poetic violence and had creates who were utterly fascinating. At first, the sequel didnít sound too hot when news broke that Jodie Foster and director Jonathan Demme would not return. However, the addition of Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta, Gary Oldman, and once again hot as balls director Ridley Scott (this was his follow up to Gladiator) seemed to make up for it. While I wasnít exactly wowed by it when back in í01, time has been kind to it. Hannibal is bloodier than just about any horror movie that I can recall, even though it takes about an hour and twenty to see the doctor finally get down to action and be himself.

Now to continual to compare Hannibal to Silence of the Lambs just isnít fair, and thankfully, Hannibal now has the advantage of being over a decade old flick. But then again, its obviously Hopkins still as the star. Dude brings elegance to such a nasty role. Oh, sure, Hopkins is older here, a little softer looking, but who the hell cares. He damn good even if one of the biggest bitches about the film was the fact that the monster had escaped, left free to roam the countryside to slaughter and boil up any poor sucker he could find. And thatís true. He was much more frightening behind the cage, wondering what sort shit heíd do if he got out. But shit. Who cares. Itís Hannibal Lecter played by Hopkins. Whatís not to enjoy?

With Jodie Foster ditching the role that defined her career, Julianne Moore more or less did a thankless gig, a no win situation. Itíd be like if Hopkins had decided against it but Foster returned. As much as I dig Tim Roth (who was rumored as a replacement), it would have never worked. Hell, maybe Iím wrong. The new dude on the NBC show is pretty good. Anyway, Moore does her best. She doesnít have the innocence of Foster, but then again, her character isnít a kid anymore. Heís gritty and tough, though the chemistry with Hopkins isnít as strong.

Then thereís everyone else. Gary Oldman, well, he doesnít do much really but speak from a wheelchair, but it really demonstrates his power as an actor. Heís damn fantastic in that voice he created. As for Ray Liotta, well, he plays an asshole. Heís good, but they could have given him a little more depth. His character is so unlikable that itís bad writing is so obvious. But if anything is off on Hannibal, itís Ridley Scott, who tried to carry over his Gladiator style to this film. His choices at times donít seem to fit the story and he uses hyper-slow-mo thing when moments get tense. Its annoying and dates the film.

In the end, things get a little silly with the whole brain sequence (minus the ďThat smells great!Ē line), but I always enjoyed the ending, giving yet another hope that the doctor is out there yet again. Hannibal ainít perfect, but itís a good time for everyoneÖminus poor Liotta.





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