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276 out of 406 people found the following review useful:

Why is this movie getting such bad reviews?

Author: egodominustuus from United States
11 February 2007

I've heard a lot of reviews saying this was a bad movie. I disagree! I don't know if any of these people have read any of the books, let alone Hannibal Rising, but I loved the movie. Given, it seemed like Thomas Harris wrote the book strictly for the movie, but I felt this movie was made to have people understand how Lecter, "the monster" was created.

Yes, Lecter is irrational and that's the point. Hannibal Lecter is suppose to be distant because he's a psychopath. He's suppose to be apathetic. Some people mistook that for bad acting.

Comparing the movie to the book...they were about 85% compatible. Minor changes were made, but nothing too critical.

I think some people are quick to make this movie out to be horrible because they really are milking the Hannibal Lecter story, but I felt it to be a decent movie.

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352 out of 597 people found the following review useful:

could it be better than Red Dragon and Hannibal?

Author: kidsparkle from United States
14 December 2006

I went to a free screening of this movie tonight, Thursday December 12, 2006 at the mall cause they gave out free passes at my work across the street.

I wont give really much away...but the movie itself was great. Great locations, great acting--especially by Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal. I swear his acting was so good that it was scary and near perfect as the demented Hannibal Lechter.

The story about how he came to be was great also starting with his youth during WW2 in 1944. And 8 years later, the main plot line unfolds showing him becoming a medical school student in France where he begins to learn of the many body parts that make a human work.

All in All this movie is a delectable revenge type movie with scary, dark bad guys and many gruesome deaths.

*two thumbs up*

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135 out of 204 people found the following review useful:

Tasty Flick

Author: ecoli8 from United States
13 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Isn't it interesting that most critics of this film whine that it didn't measure up to "The Silence of the Lambs"? If you merely want a reworking of Lambs, go rent Lambs and watch it again. Frankly, anyone who goes to see "Hannibal Rising" hoping to have the same response and emotions engendered by "Lambs" is a boob of the first magnitude.

The fact is, "Red Dragon" and "Lambs" are psychological thrillers, "Hannibal" is an action flick and "Hannibal Rising" is a biopic/action flick. Of the four Lecter films, "Hannibal Rising" is second only to "Lambs" in overall quality. ("Red Dragon" was spoiled by Ed Norton's astoundingly robotic performance; "Hannibal" was a visual masterpiece but was ultimately tainted by the the screenwriters' obvious desperation to concoct an ending that bore no resemblance to the novel's very cool conclusion.) "Hannibal Rising" has it all. 1) Superb direction (Lecter's riverside encounter with Paul Momund is stunning in its ballet-like choreography); 2) a perfectly paced screenplay; 3) beautiful art direction and design; and 4) powerful performances.

Li Gong's Lady Murasaki is actually as I pictured her in the novel: beautiful, mysterious and not-to-be-trifled with. But it's Gaspard Ulliel who steals the show. It amazes me that he successfully played someone who's simultaneously a sweet, vulnerable youth victimized by the Nazis and the Soviets and a calculating, coldblooded murderer. Ulliel's finest moment is when Lecter unleashes his unhinged wrath in the climatic scene aboard the river barge; it was thoroughly disturbing.

Don't listen to the critics. Go see this movie.

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192 out of 327 people found the following review useful:

I loved it

Author: alkinsey1982 from United Kingdom
9 February 2007

Contrary to a lot of other comments on this board I thought this was a great film. And having just finished the book beforehand it met all my expectations no problem. Ulliel looked very menacing as the anti-hero Lecter but charming at times as well, just as Hannibal should be and he is backed up by a strong supporting cast (Rhys Ifans in particular).

There are nice references to The Silence of the Lambs the Samurai's face mask that Hannibal tries on resembling the mask worn in SOTL and the music that he listens to in his room at the medical school which is the same as he has playing in his cell in Baltimore.

I was hooked from start to finish and would recommend this film to anyone.

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73 out of 105 people found the following review useful:


Author: A_Roode from Halifax, Nova Scotia
8 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Hannibal Rising' faces many of the problems that will beset any prequel. When the audience already knows how the larger story arc is going to resolve itself, how do you make the new prequel engaging? With a charismatic enigma like Hannibal, there is also great risk of the new young version seeming like a hollow parody of the older more familiar version played by Anthony Hopkins. I believe that 'Hannibal Rising' is largely successful. It didn't strike me as a stand out film but I was satisfied with it overall and do think that it has more value than just to enthusiasts of the Thomas Harris books. I'd rate it a comfortable second place out of the five films with Hannibal as a character (I count 'Manhunter').

'Hannibal Rising' does seem a bit choppy and for a plot that explores what drives a character into psychosis and lust for revenge, it didn't really spend much time trying to flesh out the Hannibal character. You get the brush strokes and the gist of things but a lot of the minutiae seems glossed over. I guess my point is that the audience curiosity for this film would be, I suspect, about what things turn Hannibal INTO Hannibal -- the internal process-- and not just solely about watching him hunt down and destroy those who have crossed him. A minor point perhaps but it struck me as odd in watching this that a series of films devoted to one of cinema's richest characters wouldn't really get in depth character exploration in the prequel for the series.

This is not intended to criticize what I thought was a well directed and tensely executed film. It is a violent film -- no kidding, right? -- but a lot of the violence is implied, in the background or off-camera. I really commend this decision as my imagination is much more vivid when things are suggested and not shown. 'Hannibal' worked not through terrorizing the audience but more through horrifying. I was balanced on the edge of trepidation and distaste as Hannibal entered each show down with characters he wanted to extract vengeance from. I love sitting through a tense thriller that offers no relief and this was almost the case here. My fellow Canadians and I were in tears of laughter when it was announced that a character had fled 'to a village outside of Saskatoon.' Surely unintended humour, and almost certainly audience specific.

What interested me most was the discussion I had with friends after we finished watching the film. I asked them when they felt sympathy for Hannibal was lost in the film -- and make no mistake, the events in the opening act are very much designed to put you behind Hannibal. Some said after the first killing. Some said the moment he transforms from child to youth. I think it comes later. Hannibal is rooted for almost out of default initially. His antagonists are just that much more evil and repellent that you throw your sympathy to him. This changes when a policeman asks Hannibal to help him track down these same antagonists. Hannibal has the choice of doing or not doing this. His response and subsequent actions for the remainder of the film decided my sympathies for me. Lesser acts of evil, might be used to purify and cleanse greater acts of evil, but are still evil in themselves when the motivation and the cost are the substitution of salvation and justice for corruption and revenge.

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88 out of 151 people found the following review useful:

Great Surprise

Author: patrickx9 from United States
10 February 2007

Well, no Anthony Hopkins so I didn't expect greatness, but was pleasantly surprised. Gaspard Ulliel did a very good job and has a wonderful look about him. I was caught up in the story about how Hannibal got started. To give an idea of my opinion so you know where I'm coming from, I think Anthony Hopkins is one of the greatest actors of our time and he was brilliant as Hannibal. That being said, I was reluctant to see this. However I can now say I'm hoping for more. The movie was done very professionally. They are saying this is the best since Silence of the Lambs. I now believe them although I did like Hannibal better than most. I don't want to give too much away, just believe me it's worth the time to see it. Just don't expect Anthony Hopkins. Keep in mind this is Hannibal at a much younger age. Go into it with an open mind.

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70 out of 119 people found the following review useful:

No need for this movie

Author: Antonio (noodles-13) from Italy
12 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Presented as a prequel of the well known "Manhunter" and "The silence of the lambs", this movie pays apparently no care for verisimilitude. Lecter - we learn - is a victim of brutal violence suffered when he was 8 years old. He survives bombing, war criminals, a Soviet orphanage, a travel from USSR to France in the 50es (with also a jump through the Berlin Wall), where he finds a beautiful Japanese (!) aunt (Gong Li). He already speaks a perfect French and is able to study medicine without apparently having had any education (in the orphanage scenes he cannot even speak due to the war trauma). Since he is Lithuanian, he probably could speak German (very common in those countries before WW2). Weird enough, the Japanese aunt is a survivor of the Hiroshima nuclear bombing and she is a sort of Super Geisha Samurai who can fight under the ancient rules of Kendo (something a woman of the 40es or 50es could not even dream to do in Japan). Lecter himself shows to be able to cut a man's head off in one single hit of sword, in a scene so silly that I could not keep from laughing. In the end, this movie is simply an example of commercial exploitation of a once good idea, just like "Red Dragon" (a completely useless remake of the masterpiece "Manhunter" by Michael Mann) and "Hannibal". Stick to the original ones and let this movies out of your "to see" list.

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78 out of 135 people found the following review useful:

Offensively bad

Author: msamet from United States
11 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love this site, and haven't yet commented on any movies, but I feel Hannibal Rising in all its bloody, spectacular awfulness, merits a pass. Don't bother with this one -- that's two hours of my life and $6 I'll never get back.

From the cookie-cutter dialogue to the put-on accents to the cliché-ridden plot devices (a rich Asian aunt who just happens to live in a giant château in France -- c'mon) to murder after pointless murder after pointless murder, with no element of suspense or plot tension, Hannibal Rising comes off like Final Destination 3 but with a thinly realized pseudo-sophisticate veneer that strives, unsuccessfully, to "connect" it to the stark, intellectual landscapes of Silence of the Lambs.

I left the theater with friends debating over who, exactly, had been Lecter's first victim, because none of us could remember (turns out it was the fat French butcher, killed for making one off-color comment at the market to Lecter's aunt, who looks to be exactly his age) who was killed when, or how, in the pointless bloodbath that comprises the latter 2/3 of the film. Yes, some bad men killed and ate Hannibal's sister, and yes they are still bad men, involved, apparently, in the slave trade and other evil doings, but the characters are so flimsy, so two-dimensional, that we grieve not when they meet their maker in the form of a vengeful Hannibal.

Production is sloppy, sets are claustrophobic, there is no back story to how or why the Lecters reign from a mammoth castle in Lithuania (Are they longtime royalty? What's going on here?), and Hannibal's transformation into a monster is barely believable. Plenty of children survived similar horrors during WWII (read The Painted Bird, if you're interested in a deeper look at eastern European WWII orphans) and didn't go on to become serial killers. So, why Hannibal? This film certainly doesn't have the answer. It, in fact, barely raises the question.

I left Hannibal Rising feeling like I had been both raped and lobotomized. Maybe that was the filmmaker's intention, but I'm wishing I'd spent that same $6 for a second viewing of Pan's Labyrinth, one theater over.

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44 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

No, it's not that bad...

Author: theshadow908 from London, Ontario
13 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hannibal Rising tells the story of Hannibal Lecter from age 8 to his early 20s. After his parents are killed during World War II, only he and his sister are left alive in their family lodge. A group of Nazi soldiers stumble upon the lodge and take shelter, but as they begin to starve they decide to use Hannibal's sister for food. Hannibal ends up escaping and ends up in an orphanage where he has gone mute due to his traumatic experience. He escapes the orphanage and goes to live with his late uncle's widow. When he finds the names of all those responsible for his sister's death, he goes on a murderous revenge spree, and he begins to cannibalize his victims. Not even he can see the monster that he is becoming. The fifth entry into the Hannibal Lecter series is entertaining, but could have been better.

Lets start off with what's good about this movie. As a revenge story, it's very good and very entertaining. It's about a young boy that watched the person he loved most brutally murdered and used for food. As soon as he's old enough, he makes a promise to his sister to do something about it, and he does. This movie would have been even better if it was a standalone film, but instead it's an origin story of the greatest movie villain ever. As a Hannibal Lecter movie, there are a few problems. They show some of the more important aspects of Hannibal Lecter beginning to shine through, such as his interest in medicine, and his loathing for rudeness. It even shows him beginning to taunt people who are interviewing him ("Now tell me inspector, did you choose war crimes?"). Hannibal Lecter shows more emotion in this movie than all the others combined, but that makes sense since he's not a monster quite yet. The only thing I really had a problem with was that they way the script was written, it seems that Hannibal would get his revenge and then stop. The movie doesn't really explain why Lecter would turn into a serial killer.

The acting is pretty good. Not one big name American actor appears in this film, which is kind of cool because we're not distracted by any big names, which leaves more focus on the characters. Gaspard Ulliel does a really good job as Lecter. Taking over for Anthony Hopkins isn't the easiest thing to do. He does the Lecter tone of voice pretty good. I didn't really feel like Dominic West was as involved with the plot as he could have been.

Overall, this is an entertaining movie, and it's nice for Hannibal fans to see him in a movie again, but they missed some opportunities to make connections to the other movies.


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38 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Certainly not a masterpiece, but still a worthy prequel to the Lecter saga

Author: Max_cinefilo89 from Italy
12 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Back in 2002, Anthony Hopkins announced he wouldn't play Hannibal Lecter again. However, producer Dino De Laurentiis, refusing to put his lucrative franchise (ironically, the Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs was the only Lecter film he had nothing to do with) to rest, decided to bring the character back, with or without Hopkins. And since novelist Thomas Harris had already mentioned a small but significant part of the famous cannibal's past in one of the books, the solution was pretty simple.

Following the example of Batman Begins and Casino Royale, Hannibal Rising revolves around the protagonist's early years, trying to convincingly explain why such a brilliant man became a cannibal. Apparently, the answer is to be found in a tragedy that marked young Hannibal for the rest of his life.

It's 1944, and the Lecter mansion in Lituania is under attack from the Nazis. The family runs off to a cabin in the woods, only to be killed, leaving only Hannibal and his little sister Mischa alive. Just to make things worse, the two are taken hostage by a bunch of local SS employees, lead by the psychotic Grutas (Rhys Ifans). Within a few days Mischa is killed, and her death has such a devastating effect on her brother he doesn't speak for eight years. He only starts connecting with the real world again once he moves to France and lives under the protective wing of his uncle's widow, Lady Murasaki (Gong Li). As their relationship moves to more complex and dangerous levels, the tormented youngster (Gaspard Ulliel) also becomes fascinated with the study of the human body, and the various tools he learns to use in medical school will come in handy once he discovers Grutas and his men are still alive and decides it's payback time.

Many bad things have been said of Hannibal Rising. Some found the idea of justifying Lecter's insanity useless, while others complained about the book being a mere commercial gimmick to promote the film. The latter theory may be true (after all, the novel preceded the movie by just six weeks), but I actually think Thomas Harris and director Peter Webber (whose previous work, Girl with a Pearl Earring, also dealt with an origin story, though obviously in a different way) have done an admirable job: the mood is kept suitably creepy for the entire duration, and while there's plenty of gore (the on-screen murders are less gratuitously bloody than in Ridley Scott's Hannibal, but more imaginative and shocking), the focus is constantly on the characters, particularly Lecter and Lady Murasaki, and their evolution. The weak link in the film is Inspector Popil (Dominic West), a police officer whose presence has the sole purpose of reminding long-time fans of Will Graham and Clarice Starling. Pity the lack of any convincing back-story robs him of their charm.

Another inappropriate element is a scene where young Hannibal wears a samurai mask which is identical to the one he's forced to use in the original trilogy. The shot itself is great, no doubt, but it's absolutely clear its only reason to exist is to evoke Anthony Hopkins.

Luckily, that one moment doesn't take anything away from Ulliel's sublime performance: he obviously borrows a few things (the sly food-related witticisms, the spooky stare) from Hopkins, but adds more elegance and charisma, making the character more similar to a vampire than a cannibal. Also notable is the supporting cast, the strongest contributions coming from Li (the sexual tension between her and Ulliel is palpable and conveniently unsettling) and an almost unrecognizable Ifans (most moviegoers probably remember him as Hugh Grant's moronic roommate in Notting Hill).

So, in the end, Hannibal Rising is not a perfect film, but it is sufficiently interesting and scary to satisfy fans of the franchise.


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