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Anthony Hopkins can be proud of having created one of the first
original horror characters of the postwar era. His Dr. Hannibal "The
Cannibal" Lecter has rightfully earned a place in the pantheon of
legendary monsters. Hopkins was only the second actor to have won an
Academy Award for playing a villain, the first being Fredric March for
his remarkable performance in the rarely-seen "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
(1931). The American Film Institute lists Hopkins' Lecter as the #1
screen villain in movie history.
When I first heard about "Hannibal" the TV series, I cringed. Each installment in the film franchise had been exponentially worse than the one before. After Ridley Scott, Brett Ratner, Peter Webber--and even Thomas Harris himself--had tortured Hannibal near to death with their increasingly idiotic sequels to "Silence of the Lambs," a TV series seemed like the sad, humiliating final nail in the doctor's coffin. Would this be "Dexter" redux, or another numbingly unoriginal CSI ripoff? Or worse, a tedious 5-season story arc following the personal trials of a young, idealistic, ruggedly handsome, perfectly stubbled Lecter as he spends 65 television hours' worth of time that I will never get back transitioning from noble psychiatrist to vengeful but justified killer? (Note to self: cock hammer, place barrel against temple, pull trigger.) Thankfully, "Hannibal" is everything I expected it not to be.
I wasn't sure Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen--or any actor, for that matter--could play such an iconic character without being overshadowed by its grand progenitor (i.e., Hopkins), however "Hannibal" is so beautifully written, acted and directed that it transcends the inevitable comparisons. Hopkins played Lecter with hellish glee. He was the serial killer as prankster, a thinking man's Joker without the facial scars. Mikkelsen's Lecter is quieter and deadlier. He's almost like an alien predator, or a velociraptor in human form. When he smiles, you're probably about to die. Mikkelsen is chilling, funny, and blazingly brilliant. He totally makes the role his own, but that's not to take anything away from Anthony Hopkins. Asking who makes the better Lecter is like asking who's the best Dracula, Lugosi or Lee. They're both great, they're just different.
I dislike police procedurals. They bore me. But "Hannibal" is different. There's something special about it. Bryan Fuller respects the characters and he understands the fans. He's given Lecter his first legitimate resurrection since "Silence of the Lambs," and I am completely hooked. (And to think that we still have Eddie Izzard and Gillian Anderson to look forward to!)
Fantastic show. High kudos to NBC for having the courage to air it.
If you're wondering, this drama does not follow the story line of the
previous Hannibal film franchise. However, it does not mean that the
series doesn't pack its own punch in terms of tension and suspense.
(I'm in such awe, I feel inadequate trying to leave a review for this
show. I won't reveal any more than what is available on the wikipedia
Following protagonist Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) into his mind and peering into the distorted lives and actions of serial killers, he comes across as a highly intelligent but often conflicted man, tormented by his own imagination and yet has to live it each day for the greater good.
This sense of vulnerability and instability caused by his personality (largely introverted and antisocial) is preyed upon by his psychiatrist, famed Hannibal Lecter, excellently portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, and as all this is played out, the audience, privy to this knowledge will be gripped by suspense, and the never ending tension, even on scenes where nothing appears to be happening, the mood takes on a somber and tense tone.
For those who are concerned with the relative 'low level of gore', be patient. It takes its time to build and slowly escalate, bringing Graham deeper into the shadows and mental torment.
I can't emphasize how good the acting is, how vivid and artistic the abstract dream and killing sequences are. the fact that the soundtracks are well selected and not obnoxious all plays a part in creating one of the best viewing experiences ever. As a fan of psychological horror, I feel privileged to be able to take a small peek at this show ahead of broadcast.
Having seen the films based on Thomas Harris' novels, I couldn't for
the life of me imagine an actor other than Anthony Hopkins for the role
of Hannibal Lecter (although I had seen - and liked - Brian Cox' take
on the character in Michael Mann's 'Manhunter' which was released
before 'The Silence of the Lambs'). Apart from that, I didn't see the
point in retelling a story that had already been told very well on film
and with outstanding actors. For those reasons, I deprived myself of
the pleasure of watching 'Hannibal' until the second season of the show
started - but boy: am I glad I finally got over myself and did start!
To those who haven't watched it for the same reasons I didn't I can only say: knowing the storyline from the films (or the books) doesn't spoil this in the least; the writers cleverly play with your expectations and they have taken enough liberties that you can never tell what is going to happen. And Mads Mikkelsen makes for a terrific Hannibal. The cat and mouse play between him and Hugh Dancy's Will Graham is a thrilling joy to watch; the conversations between the two are an example of surgically precise writing where every word counts and could - literally be a concealed weapon (the writing in general is top notch, especially the dialogues).
Visually, this series is unlike anything I've ever seen; the opulence of the images seems to be directly inspired by the aesthetic of oil paintings; whenever food is served or you see the interior of Hannibal's mansion you're reminded of still lives from the Dutch Baroque; certain dreams, visions and hallucinations even recall the works of Hieronymus Bosch. Don't get me wrong: first and foremost this is a gory crime show about an exceptionally well educated and highly intelligent serial killer (and not some "art show") albeit one with a very unique look.
My verdict: 'Hannibal' offers gory thrills along with amazing images, fascinating characters and an outstanding cast. Perhaps the most visual and visually daring crime show ever. 9 stars out of 10.
Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/
Favorite Low-Budget and B-movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
If you are a bit skeptical about this show like me, do not worry. With all the sequels and prequels we've seen regarding Hannibal Lecter, it's an understatement to say there are lots of areas where the creators, directors and actors to over play the gore and story arcs. However, they've managed to balance all these superbly. The title may be Hannibal, right from the start this show is very much a vehicle for Hugh Dancy. Who as Will Graham gives an excellent perspective on his character and i dare say he does a better job than Edward Norton. Mads Mikkelsen with his subtle approach on Dr.Hannibal Lecter is a revelation. His sophisticated and stylish portrayal is captivating and very unpredictable. The show delivers on every front- the writing, editing etc is as good as it gets. Can't wait to see the next episode. Highly recommended it you're looking for a clever and engaging physiological thriller.
If one can put away all the movies aside, store you're memories of them
some far off vast empty place in your mind, and watch Hannibal without
any recollection of the previous films, Hannibal will blow your mind!
This show goes where no one has ever gone before...deep into the mind
of Thomas Harris. Deep into the minds of all his characters from Red
Will Graham is a memorable character, as well as Hannibal Lector. However, I am most in awe of the Francis Dollarhyde character (which was beautifully depicted in Red Dragon novel) and can't to see the show when he comes into play. I'm curious to see who is going to play Dollarhyde.
My only fear is that I hope the show doesn't get pulled. I hope NBC can continue the show and keep it afresh for each endless season. I know, it's asking a lot. I don't normally what any a lot of shows, but this one's got my undivided attention. Kudos to it's creators and cast. Brilliant work!
My favorite three shows right now are Mad Men, Game of Thrones and
Hannibal, and while they are vastly different in subject and style,
they share several traits that make them a cut above the rest. The
writing is excellent, the acting well played and the actors perfectly
cast, and all three have a production value and aesthetic that elevates
them above your average show. There is a sense of perfectionism and
obsessive dedication to quality by their creators, which I think is
what makes their fan bases as loyal as they are. There is a sense that
the authors are writing to an audience they respect. There is no spoon
feeding of plot or dumbing down of dialog. Intelligent characters are
consistent in their decision making; things play out in a manner that
makes sense, allowing one to relax into the suspension of disbelief
that is so addictive about good storytelling. Every detail is
delicately handled and placed just so.
Hannibal beings long before the events already so well known in pop culture due to the popularity of the films and books, so there is no rehashing of material (so far). It is delightful to watch as the characters unfold, giving tiny, succulent tastes of what is to come. The chemistry in the cast is electric, yet you can feel the camaraderie as well. The acting is of a caliber rarely seen on television, where nothing is exaggerated unnecessarily, and words are not used when a twitch of a lip or an eye flicker will do. The writing supports this, trusting the players to transmit their layered characterization and inner workings without too-obvious statements and unnecessary melodrama. While the subject matter is gruesome and intense in nature, it is surprising how beautiful everything is. In contrast to the turmoil and savagery of the proceedings, there are long shots of stunning locations and meticulously crafted sets gorgeously, perfectly lit, masterfully composed to speak as loudly as any dialog. It is the silences in Hannibal that are the most powerful to me, the long stretches of music and sounds which emote so strongly. It is a sign of great writing that I am not disappointed that when they are broken by speaking, it is to add to the tension, not break it.
It is clear that this show is a labor of love produced by talents enamored of the material. With the first season half way through, there is no sign of the quality dropping and the show is seeming to hit its stride. If the ratings can keep up (it's recent acquisition by Amazon will no doubt help things along) I look forward to the show having many (7 or more, by the producer's plans) more seasons to flesh itself out. After all, the best dishes take their time to prepare, and these people take their palates deadly seriously.
Even if serial killer horror shows aren't your thing, it's worth trying everything at least once. ;)
The story is so packed with different things happening. It is forty
minutes long, yet it feels closer to an entire film. It is quite
fascinating and highly entertaining. It is not filled with eye candy,
but with deeper dialog with some special effects. It gives the viewer a
deeper insight into the borderline delusions of the main character.
The dialog is fantastically written. It is a combination of imagination and horror. This blend creates a psychological horror that grips you to you very soul. The only possible bad thing that I could say about it is Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) accent. It should be a higher class a more aristocratic richness instead of the thick coarse German accent, but that is merely semantics.
The series has a strong mentor-ship like connection between Graham and Hannibal Lecter that is improved by the clear mental instability of both. It makes you wonder what Hannibal Lecter sees for the future.
The Graham character is not much like the one of red dragon, yet it is a great improvement with the modernization of him. This is a rather exceptional series and I hope to see plenty of it in the future.
I wasn't sure what to expect of this, and the preview/promo that I had
seen didn't make me much excited about it. But honestly, I kinda loved
the pilot and see a lot of potential here. Hugh Dancy is superb as
Special Agent Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen does justice to the role
of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Exceptional acting all around...
I've read a few people complaining of the series moving a bit too fast, but I found that not to be the case. The pace so far has been perfect and I certainly hope that it doesn't slow it down much.
For a moment, the first dream/killing sequence reminded me of another series (unforgettable) but Hannibal does these scenes in an extremely vivid and artistic manner that you just can't not love. The score is well selected and goes well with all the scenes.
Looking forward to seeing how the story pans out with time. And judging by the preview that they gave at the end of the first episode, I'm expecting I'll love it a lot more!
A must-watch for anyone who likes psychological thrillers.
Two episodes in and I'm admiring this curiously crafted, visually
stunning (and very risky) program. I entered into this show as a fan of
the novels and films (with the exception of 'Hannibal' 2001). Last
week's pilot was considerably rushed (I felt an extra 30 mins to flesh
out the crime would have evened the pacing) however this 2nd episode
really nailed me with the tone, and development of the characters.
Hannibal and Will Graham, predator and prey (one character
unwittingly). Sure there are some cheap moves for shock value and and
certainly the investigations are rushed to make room for the greater
psychological thriller, yet the time and craft spent on creating
haunting atmosphere and imagery really help to dispel the smaller
annoyances. This show is as sophisticated as the sauce being served
with Hannibal's loin of pork.
Even though this show seems intent on the trappings of a police procedural I am very seduced by the bonding (and manipulation) between Hannibal and Graham. Intellectual peers although one is weak and the other exuding strength. I thought this week was terrific in terms of setting up the trust between patient and doctor. Moreover, Mikkelson, who I found wooded and sterile in the pilot really begins to flex his characters charisma and control. Hannibal is a monster and Mads is perfectly cast. The show expertly sets the tension that he is already 5 plays ahead of everyone. Dancy impressed me as well. Two episodes in and your already experiencing the brilliantly frail and dark mind of Will Graham. The labels of 'finest china', 'broken pony' are perfect labels for his embodied genius who is also a tortured soul. Someone who suppresses the impulse to kill like a recovering alcoholic avoids mouthwash. I know many will knock the casting but after watching a decade of stale, wooden acting of 'Criminal Minds, CSI:Everywhere, NCIS's casting... and so on it's gratifying to see actors with depth and a script that allows them to emote pain and fear. And Larry Fishburne even elevates himself from CSI land (not a bad show, however this is a step up).
I'm admittedly a pretty picky viewer. Since HBO's The Sopranos graced the screen there have been very little network TV that I've been inclined to tune into. Aside from LOST, The Good Wife and a few other programs that have been here and gone (cancellation) I've had a steady diet of serial based cable dramas to fill my TV time. BREAKING BAD, THE WIRE, JUSTIFIED, SOA, THE WALKING DEAD, THE KILLING, MAD MEN, DEADWOOD, THE SHIELD, HOMELAND, BOARDWALK EMPIRE... I could go on but the message here is that the networks offer me little to invest in. Kudos NBC and Bryan Fuller here. I could see myself watching this for 13 episodes (the series run). I don't shake my head at the screen and feel my intelligence is being cheated here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I checked IMDb for a TV series to watch and to my joy one of my
favourite film series of all time had been serialised and received a
I was willing this to be a great TV series. The truth is its not.
If you have a brain, you will begin to notice that Hannibal is one of the most ridiculous TV programmes you have ever seen. It is a thriller designed for people who are so stupid they don't actually care how a man cuts open his own chest and then pins his own lungs to his back and then proceeds to crucify himself 30 feet in the air on the rafters of a barn, alone and without the aid of a ladder and for the brightest murder investigators in the FBI to accept this as a plausible suicide.
The people this was written for stopped thinking after being told a guy kills people and pins their lungs in a 45 degree angle from their shoulders so they look like angel wings, because somehow this is cool so we don't really care if the writers then proceed to make the rest of the story impossible and verging on being supernatural. The Hannibal Lecter series has nothing to do with the supernatural.
Hannibal Lecter is a hard act to follow, so I forgive the casting of some emotionless European guy who can't act, however the Anthony Hopkins version got inside not only the FBI investigators and serial killers he conversed with heads, but he got inside ours, the viewers head. This guy couldn't get into a prostitutes underwear with $100, such is his screen presence and charisma in this show.
Think about Lecters iconic scenes in the films, how he escapes from that cage through sheer genius, guts, insanity and a fountain pen. However implausible it seems it was explained and every detail this mastermind escape was delivered to the audience. You could see how the FBI were fooled by a genius psychopath. Even you were fooled, as if you had seen a magic trick! It makes sense once you knew how he did it, sheer magic. The writers in this serialisation make no attempt to be even a tenth as intelligent.
They don't explain anything. Like why is a psychologist cannibal almost immediately invited to every crime scene after one meeting where he does nothing? How does said psychologist manage to slip off, murder and then impale teenage girl at the crime scene they are travelling to before they get there? Why is a stupid online journalist considered to be as powerful as the FBI? Why does said journalist not get arrested even though she has literally broken 10 laws per episode (that they know about) and impedes the course of justice constantly. Why do the FBI seem powerless to stop her? Why do apparently worldly and intelligent people not know the difference in taste between human insides and pork? WHY ALL THE IMAGERY OF STAGS AND ANTLERS!!!
I could literally go on forever, this TV series is so bad. If anyone else performed this badly in their jobs they would be fired and a note put on their permanent record advising that they never work in their business again, yet the writers of Hannibal got a second series.... I have heard of dumbing down but surely no one would watch this and actually think it's remotely thrilling, psychological or intelligent in anyway.
The reviews that call this a 'Psychological thriller at its finest' or 'The thriller you've been waiting for on T.V', are written by people who wouldn't know a thriller if it called them on their mobile and said 'Hello Agent Starling'.
It stinks so bad I am literally amazed by the reviews written here, this is half the reason I have decided to offer an alternative critique such is the level of unintelligence I see amongst the user reviews for this TV series.
The writing is so bad there are parts I am sure are completely improvised. Like the writers didn't write enough content to fill an entire 50 minutes so they pay Laurence Fishburne extra to improvise scenes with different members of the cast for the last 15-20 minutes. Seriously, there is an episode where they spend 20 minutes of different people reacting to news a completely unimportant unseen to this point character has cancer, and then jump to the killer of the episode having killed himself in the stupidest way possible. Out of no where.
I have not even gone over the terrible acting, the awful attempts to build character relationships overusing the phrase 'are you OK?', bad casting, lazy thoughtless writing, total lack of research in every possible area and sheer stupidity at every level. From police, to FBI, to doctors, to forensic scientists, to serial killers.. Everyone in this show is stupid.
This show is so unrealistic it is possible that in a future series finale it turns out that the whole show is Jack Shephard from Lost's dream.
I am worn out from thinking about this shows flaws so I am gonna stop and I will summarise like this. If you like Lost, or you're being paid five dorrah by the producers of Hannibal to vote this as 10, then this is the TV thriller for you. If you have a brain then I would suggest you re watch the films as this TV show is as stupid as Paris Hilton. In fact Paris Hiltons 'My new BFF' is more realistic and her most recent work 'The world according to Paris' is both more intelligent and more thrilling then Hannibal the TV show.
The only reason I haven't given this a 1 is because Laurence Fishburne is in it.
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