directed by Peter Webber
USA 2007

 

Nobody took much notice of Michael Mann’s Manhunter, which was released in 1986--before William Petersen, Joan Allen, and Brian Cox made regular appearances in front of mass audiences. However, 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs was a box-office hit and won the Big Five Oscars for its year. These days, everything is franchised as long as moviegoers pay money to see the same characters over and over again, so we saw Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter again in 2001’s Hannibal and 2002’s Red Dragon. While both Hannibal and Red Dragon were hits, people had mostly unkind words for both.

Still, you don’t stop flogging a dead horse until it’s really, really dead, right? Thus, we were treated to Hannibal Rising in 2007. This time, Thomas Harris, the author of the Hannibal-Lecter books, would handle screenwriting duties in addition to writing the source novel. While the Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs novels were compact procedurals, Hannibal was a silly, overwrought mess. I have not read Hannibal Rising the book, though I imagine it repeats Hannibal’s excesses given what we are shown in Hannibal Rising the movie.

Like most ill-conceiver prequels, Hannibal Rising explains everything without adding anything to an audience’s appreciation of its fictional universe. This outing turns Lecter into a Euro-trash punk whose cannibalism is apparently justifiable because...the Nazis gave him bad nightmares. Undoubtedly, World War II and the Holocaust did irreparable damage to originally decent people, but now we are asked to think of Lecter as a hero rather than as a villain. This reversal is an unnecessary slap in the face.

Meanwhile, Gong Li plays yet another dragon lady after playing dragon ladies in Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice, and Curse of the Golden Flower. Perhaps Gong should’ve stayed in retirement and left us with nothing but beautiful memories of her early collaboration with Zhang Yimou?

Yunda Eddie Feng

Posters

Theatrical Release: 7 February 2007 (France)

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DVD Review: Genius Products (Unrated) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 131 min
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles Optional English and Spanish
Features Release Information:
Studio: Genius Products

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• audio commentary by director Peter Webber and producer Martha De Laurentiis
• deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by Peter Webber
• Hannibal Lecter: The Origin of Evil
• Allan Starski: Designing Horror and Elegance
• Hannibal Rising trailers
• previews for other movies

DVD Release Date: 29 May 2007
keepcase

Chapters 16

 

Comments:

Video:
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image features mostly baroque, dark hues. Some sequences, such as flashbacks, have heavily filtered or distorted colors, though this is intentional. This is a strong transfer of tricky material.

Audio:
The only audio selection is the original Dolby Digital 5.1 English track. This is basically a slasher gore fest rather than a psychological drama like The Silence of the Lambs, so there are several sudden peaks in volume as the sound design is intended to startle (i.e. assault) viewers when the script is unable to provide genuine scares. While energetic and robust, the audio does not have a lot of nuances.

Optional English and Spanish subtitles support the audio.

Extras:
Upon loading, the DVD plays previews for other movies from companies related to Genius Products.

Director Peter Webber and producer Martha De Laurentiis contributed an audio commentary that is mostly filled with gas about how great this chapter in the Hannibal-Lecter saga is. There is a lot of back-slapping and “We shot this scene at such-and-such place” talk that isn’t really informative.

Next up are some deleted scenes with optional commentary by Peter Webber. “Hannibal Lecter: The Origin of Evil” is a promotional featurette that is basically useless if you’ve already seen the movie. “Allan Starski: Designing Horror and Elegance” takes a look at the production design. Starski won an Oscar for Schindler’s List, and now he’s working on slasher movies. Oy.

Finally, you get two trailers for Hannibal Rising.

--Miscellaneous--
An insert advertises Hannibal Rising the novel. You also get a cardboard slipcover.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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