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Red Dragon

A movie directed by Brett Ratner

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A Remake Prequel to a Sequel.

  • Oct 12, 2004
I have to be completely honest. As interesting a character Hannibal Lector is, I really haven't enjoyed the Hannibal Lector movies that much. This goes against the popular vein, but other than the acting and some interesting cinematographic effects, I wasn't impressed by SILENCE OF THE LAMBS; MANHUNTER (the original film based off of the novel Red Dragon) was a colorful piece of cinematic art quite creative in its use of lighting, sound, and color; and though I enjoyed HANNIBAL the most of Lector movies, it is very violent and unbelievable absurd. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to watching RED DRAGON, the prequel to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and remake of Michael Mann's MANHUNTER. With Anthony Hopkins back as Dr. Hannibal Lector, the brilliant Edward Norton playing detective Will Graham, and the mysterious Ralph Fiennes as Francis Dolarhyde (aka "The Tooth Fairy") I thought the movie would be the best of them all. I should be used to movie disappointments by now.

The movie begins with prologue illustrating how Will Graham was able to successfully capture Dr. Hannibal Lector. The movie then fast forwards in time three years. A new serial killer is loose killing entire families one an evening when there is a full moon. Graham's former boss at the FBI asks him to come out retirement to help track the madman down. After some internal conflict, soul searching, and weighing the risks Graham agrees. The case proves more difficult than anyone thought and even with the assistance of Dr. Lector, no major leads are discovered. But the killer, "The Tooth Fairy", like the legendary Frankenstein's monster, ends up falling in love with a blind girl. She is oblivious to his flaws. Touched by grace, the killer falls deeper and deeper into a confusing downward spiral of self-loathing and bittered anger.

On the surface, the movie is interesting and entertaing enough. The prologue at the beginning of the movie is brilliant and makes the movie watching solely for that. However, the deeper elements I was expected from the film just weren't there. Edward Norton is a great actor, but he's much too young to play Will Graham and just wasn't able to capture the internal epic struggle that Graham feels throughout. Anthony Hopkins is brilliant as always. However, Ralph Fiennes' talent wasn't used as the role of Francis Dolarhyde seemed to be cut down to a cardboard caricature more than a real life flesh and blood character. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Freddy Lounds), Emily Watson (Reba McClane), and Harvey Keitel (Jack Crawford) did wonderful jobs in their supporting roles, but it isn't enough to counter-balance Norton's miscasting and Fiennes' lack of a meaty role.

Also missing in this film were any elements that would lend it some credibility as a crime drama/thriller. I didn't enjoy MANHUNTER very much, but Michael Mann at least played around with light, color, and sound to produce an ode of moving art. RED DRAGON has none of that. There aren't any outstanding images and the movie's score and soundtrack are seriously lacking. Besides the prologue at the beginning, the pacing of the movie also seems slow, almost too slow for a thriller such as RED DRAGON. In fact, for all intense purposes, RED DRAGON is basically the same type of movie that Hollywood churns out all the time, only with a talented (but misused) cast and a very interesting prologue.

If you're a fan of the series, RED DRAGON is worth watching. Other than that, the film really isn't a must see, but is fun to watch on a weekend if you have nothing better to see.

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More Red Dragon (2002 movie) reviews
review by . February 25, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: The film quality is better than the original      Cons: Characters and actors playing them were dull, dull, dull      The Bottom Line: HO HUM. Maybe someone will remake Silence of the Lambs so they can keep making each of the Hannibal movies worse and worse.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.      What do you do with remakes? If they are scores of years apart, …
review by . October 24, 2007
I've seen "Red Dragon" years ago but couldn't recollect it from my thoughts. Last night it reappear to me that it's a great film. This of course is a remake of "Manhunter (Full Screen Edition)," the first in the series of films centering on FBI profilers, serial killers, and the infamous Hannibal Lecter, who I suppose is the modern day equivalent of "Jack the Ripper." I haven't read the novel by Thomas Harris so I can't say which is the more authentic, but they're both very good films.    As …
review by . April 04, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I really wanted to like this movie. In my opinion Brett Ratner and Ted Tally did a second rate job of bringing the story from print to screen. Everything in this movie is muffin top, with no actual muffin. The duo did a wonderful job of including practically every scene from book to film, but along the way lost everything that made these scenes make sense. Nothing is explained, no motivations are explored, and characters are so thin that they are barely recognizable beyond the basic Killer, FBI …
review by . August 07, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Previously produced in 1986 as MANHUNTER (by "Miami Vice" producer Michael Mann), RED DRAGON is the adaption of Thomas Harris' best-selling novel and the latest installment in the Hannibal Lecter series.Chronologically the first in the Hannibal series, Edward Norton plays retired FBI agent Will Graham, who is taken out of retirement by FBI Special Agent Jack Crawford (Keitel, taking over from Scott Glenn), because Graham has the psychic ability to see inside the mind of serial killers. Now he's …
review by . April 09, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
For the past several years we have been treated to the bizarre tales of Hannibal Lector. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (Part 2 of the Trilogy by Thomas Harris) surprised the public with a formidable tale well acted by Anthony Hopkins and Jody Foster. That film was excellent. The second installment HANNIBAL (Part 3 of the Trilogy) was a sequel to SILENCE and while it veered a bit to the excesses of Hollywood it was still a good film with Julianne Moore stepping in very well for the Jody Foster role of …
review by . October 01, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great cast, good story, well acted and written.     Cons: Gets a bit slow in some parts.      The Bottom Line: A well-acted and written thriller that will delight fans of Lecter old and new.     It has often been said that things in life have a way of coming full circle; I cite the change of seasons, the cycle of life, and relationships as an example. There is a starting point, and end, and a new beginning. Such is the case of the …
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About this movie


In this prequel to "The Silence of the Lambs," the story of former FBI agent Will Graham, who was nearly killed by Hannibal Lecter, is told, and it includes the initial capture of "The Cannibal."

A lot could've gone wrong inRed Dragon, but the movie exceeds expectations. Replacing the acclaimedManhunteras an "official" entry in the Hannibal Lecter trilogy, this topnotch thriller--the second adaptation of Thomas Harris's first Lecter novel--returns to the fertile soil ofThe Silence of the Lambs, serving as both prequel and heir to the legacy of Lecter as portrayed, with mischievous menace, by the great Anthony Hopkins. Familiar faces and locations reappear (along withLambsscreenwriter Ted Tally) as Lecter coaches FBI profiler Will Graham (Edward Norton) in tracking the horrific "Tooth Fairy" killer (Ralph Fiennes), whose transformative killing spree is inspired by a William Blake painting. By dutifully serving Harris's potent material, Tally and director Brett Ratner craft a suspenseful film worthy of its predecessors, bringing Hopkins full circle as one of the cinema's all-time greatest villains. With overtones ofPsychoand a superb supporting cast,Red Dragonsucceeds against considerable odds.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Brett Ratner
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: October 4, 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Thomas Harris, Ted Tally
DVD Release Date: April 1, 2003
Runtime: 2hrs 4min
Studio: Universal Studios
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