'Hannibal Rising' disappointing in the movie's series
February 15, 2007
As an audience, we are privileged to view the mega milestones of Hannibal’s childhood. From his first taste of blood (literally) to his first home-cooked meal, Hannibal proves he is a blossoming, young monster. “Monster” was a popular name for him, as “evil” or “sick” were understatements.
The movie begins in 1944 with a beautiful landscape and two small children. Hannibal and Mischa Lecter of Lithuania are tragically held against their will by angry war criminals after their parents are killed in front of them. If that wasn’t enough trauma for a child, the angry war criminals later kill the young child, Hannibal’s sister, to subside their hunger. Ten years later, Hannibal (Gaspard Ulliel) is grown into his twenties and is ready for revenge.
One swift montage of Hannibal riding in the backs of open truck beds and running as a fugitive from his boarding school also included an occasional fun map of Europe with a bold red line following his path. Finally, he stopped in France to stay with his beautiful, Japanese aunt (Gong Li). Lady Murasaki, the heroine and love interest, teaches Hannibal the ways of her Eastern religion which includes heads on platters and scented oils on swords.
Hannibal mimics the new found religion into his revenge and goes to great lengths to find the men who brutally murdered -- and ate -- his sister.
Among the angry war criminals, Rhys Ifans is the leader. As a fan of Ifans, this is the first film I have seen him play the ultimate villain and, again, speaking as a fan, he should stick to his comedic roles. He has the look of a mean guy, but has too much silly charm.
As for Ulliel, the viewer could tell he has obviously watched a lot of “Silence of the Lambs.” He gradually became more and more sinister as the movie progressed. He used the glares and smirks that are all so familiar from Anthony Hopkins. Even the awkward walk with the stiff legs was nailed.
Later, I realized that I never really thought Hannibal was such a bad guy. He was only getting revenge in the only way he felt was right. He even went to medical school to learn all about the human anatomy. He’s got goals and a girlfriend!
Overall, this prequel made me want to travel Europe, but not Eastern Europe because they are dangerous cannibals. It also made me wish Lecter was still a mystery.
I felt like I had already seen this movie before. It fit the generic plot that one is given if they need to make a few bucks. Guy is repressed; guy meets girl; guy goes crazy and kills a bunch of people; girl thinks guy is crazy but still loves him; girl gets held hostage by villain; guy goes to save girl and goes one-on-one with villain, etc., etc.
There are some fun, gory, slasher parts of the film though. A recurring scene that Hannibal adopts is a cooking method that includes the cheeks of people’s faces. I couldn’t help but think that Hannibal might really like my cheeks.
Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.