HANNIBAL RISING may not be in the same league with its predecessors, especially SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, but it was written by the same author - both the novel and the screenplay - and so we must accept that the arc of the story of the murderous cannibal is intact. Where this version of how the child Hannibal became the crazed and bizarre man due to his witnessing the loss of his young sister to the appetites of hungry soldiers is less successful than the studies of the grown man is the lack of including the genius mind, epicurean stance, highly sophisticated art lover, and macabre sense of human relationships as shown in the boy to young man period.
Filmed in beautiful color and atmosphere the story begins in WW II as stated above and as Hannibal the lad escapes the carnivorous appetites of the Nazi solders (including the evil Grutas as portrayed with gusto by Rhys Ifans!) and becomes Hannibal the young man (Gaspard Ulliel) who with the aid of his aunt Lady Murasaki Shikibu (Gong Li) continues to search out all of the soldiers who ate his sister. And in the end we do discover some hidden secrets about the now mature Hannibal Lecter.
Director Peter Webber keeps the pace and the gore going and has at his side a fine supporting cast (Richard Brake, Kevin McKidd, Stephen Walters, Ivan Marevich, and Goran Kostic among others). Ulliel is credible in the minimal dialog is given and it probably is the fault of Thomas Harris that this young Hannibal doesn't show all the key characteristics he will eventually flaunt. It is not a bad film, just not one that will be remembered as well as the originals. Grady Harp, August 07
Pros: Good premise. Cons: No Sir Anthony Hopkins, ending is very Hollwood. The Bottom Line: While it is not Silence, there is enough here to garner a look for fans. Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. After three books and films featuring the enigmatic and deadly Hannibal Lecter, author Thomas Harris has decided to lift the lid on the murky past of perhaps the most known killer in fiction. … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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ThoughHannibal Rising'sLecter (Gaspard Ulliel) is a pussycat compared to Anthony Hopkins inSilence of the Lambs, this sequel's story of revenge is grizzly enough to satisfy lovers of Thomas Harris's epic tale. After young Hannibal (Aaron Thomas) is forced to watch his little sister, Mischa (Helena Lia Tachovska), devoured by starving soldiers in his homeland Lithuania, Hannibal vows to avenge his sister's death by slaying those who committed not only war crimes against the Lecters, but also against other families during WW II. In detailing Hannibal's revenge plan, the film investigates the psychological implications of witnessing cannibalism to justify Hannibal's insatiable appetite for human flesh. The most interesting aspect ofHannibal Rising—its analytical connections drawn between Hannibal's childhood traumas and his murderous adult obsessions—is also the film's weak point. The links oversimplify Lecter's complex character. For example, though titillating to see flashbacks of Lecter's sister hacked up and boiled while Lecter visits a Parisian meat market, the reference is too obvious. One learns why he excels in his medical school classes dissecting cadavers, and we're given explicit explanation for why he slices off and eats his victims' cheeks. The story only complicates when Hannibal interacts with his sexy Aunt, Lady Murasaki (Gong Li). When Murasaki educates him in the art of beheading, the viewer sees ...