Hannibal Blu-ray review

Ridley Scott's stint on the Hannibal Lecter franchise arrives on Blu-ray. Anyone fancy a chianti?

Anthony Hopkins is back for his second cinematic outing as Hannibal Lecter, this time in Florence, a fugitive from the law and hunted by Mason Verger (a heavily made up Gary Oldman). With Ridley Scott at the helm, Anthony Hopkins in place and Julianne Moore replacing Jodie Foster as Agent Starling, what could go wrong?  Let’s see.

Barney the orderly is selling bits of Lecter memorabilia – in this case it’s the mask – to people, including Verger who, disfigured and bitter, has a personal grievance against Lecter.

Starling is now a fully fledged, and forthright, FBI agent who ends up being involved in an operation that results in the death of a drug running mother carrying her baby.  All would have probably been okay, if a photographer hadn’t been on hand to report the whole, messed up affair.

Now, having to justify her position to her superiors, including Ray Liotta as lecherous Krendler, Starling finds herself at the beck and call of Verger in order to save her career. Verger, it turns out, had disfigured himself at the suggestion of Lecter and has held a grudge against the man ever since. Now, he wants Starling to bring him to justice and he’s happy to use his considerable wealth to buy his way to his own personal brand of justice.

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Lecter, posing as Dr Fell in Florence, is a prospective curator at the Capponi Library, under the investigation of the Inspector Pazzi as part of a case into the missing curator. Pazzi discovers that he can make more by handing over Lecter to Verger than he can by working with the FBI.

Verger, of course, has his own ideas of justice involving pigs specifically bred to eat the flesh of a screaming man. He’s manipulating Krendler to get what he wants and Krendler is more than happy to play along with money as the incentive. Sadly, this brings the lecherous Krendler to the attention of Lecter.

Of course, Lecter is smart. He’s not going to just walk blindly into the hands of his would be captors. Escaping from Florence in suitably vicious style, he returns to America, bringing all the pieces together in gloriously gruesome fashion.

With a suitably sophisticated soundtrack and a backdrop of, amongst other places, Florence, Hannibal is a very attractive film let down by a script that languishes in mediocrity for far too long. Hopkins, as Lecter, is still brilliant, though occasionally the dialogue he delivers is clumsy. There’s too much reminiscing in the script, with Clarice listening to tapes of her interviews with Lecter, thinking about Lecter and looking meaningful. Only upon Lecter’s return to America do things pick up and the themes of love, redemption and obsession begin to play out fully and quite violently.

All said and done, Hannibal isn’t a dreadful movie. It’s not as good as Silence or Red Dragon, but it still stands up relatively well. It’s definitely one of those where certain bits are far better than the book, whilst other bits are not. Taken on its own merits, however, it is interesting, if occasionally overly self-indulgent.

Extras Ridley Scott’s commentary on the film drifts from insightful to dull. He speaks with passion, covers many interesting topics but occasionally his anecdotes are just dull.

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There’s nearly 35 minutes of deleted scenes with a commentary by Ridley Scott. Some of the scenes would have worked in the film, but others were definitely worth leaving out.

The alternate ending, with commentary from Ridley Scott, works just as well as the one seen in the film but, as Scott points out, doesn’t have the sense of sacrifice between Lecter and Starling.

‘Breaking the Silence’ is one hour and fifteen minutes long and is a really in-depth making covering all aspects of production. There’s interesting points of view from the cast and crew which make it definitely worth watching. 

Somewhat disappointingly, we’re offered fewer extras than were featured on the original DVD release. Whilst ‘Breaking the Silence’ is a good feature, offering less features than previously released makes little sense, especially when you look at the calibre of ‘Breaking the Silence’. Whilst the picture quality that this Blu-ray release offers may be fantastic, there’s very little reason to buy this if you already have the two-disc DVD.


3 stars

Hannibal is available on Blu-ray now.

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3 out of 5