Review done by: Nightmare Child
Genres: Drama, Horror,
Thriller

Rated: Unrated

Country: USA

Year: 2007

Runtime: 117 minutes

Studio: Weinstein
Company

IMDB Page

Amazon Page
Online since: February 20th, 2006
Hosted by:  Yahoo!
Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Timothy Walker, Rhys Ifans, Richard Brake, Kevin
McKidd, Li Gong, Dominic West

Directed by: Peter Webber

Story: The young Hannibal Lecter escapes his war-torn home country for
France, where he uses his brutal skills to pursue war criminals.


Review:

In case you were wondering, this is in fact a review for the Unrated cut of
Hannibal Rising. I originally reviewed this film back when it was in theatres.
This review is for the Unrated Widescreen DVD. Basically this is the old review
with a couple of added paragraphs detailing the differences between both the
uncut and theatrical cuts of the film (which aren't much anyway) and the
bonus features on the DVD (which aren't much either). I hate it when horror
movies try to humanize monsters. It might be just me, but I don't think it's
something that should be done. Especially when they grow a heart out of
nowhere. I personally think it's insulting to the viewer. Let humans be
human, let monsters be monsters. Keep it simple and I'll be pleased. When it
comes to brutal thrillers and horror movies, Hannibal Lecter is no stranger.
He's what I like to call THE movie monster. He's one of my favorite movie
villains. I've seen every Hannibal related film, and I enjoy them all. Some more
than others, but I find the series to be entertaining.

Those of you who aren't familiar with "Hannibal the Cannibal", he's a sick
individual with a taste for human flesh. The last Hannibal film released was
'Red Dragon', which was basically a remake of 'Manhunter'. Only the movie
kept the title of the original book. This new film 'Hannibal Rising' is based on
the Thomas Harris book of the same name. Harris is also the author of the
Hannibal Lecter books in which all the films are based on. To make things
even better, Harris also wrote the screenplay for Rising. The movie takes
place in Eastern Europe at the end of World War II. We follow a young boy
named Hannibal Lecter as he watches his parents violently die. Leaving his
young sister in his care and in the face of danger. We then flash to 8 years
later, where Hannibal is left alone to live in a Soviet orphanage. The
orphanage itself is the same place where Hannibal and his family lived before.
Lecter has terrible dreams at night. His dreams pick up horrible memories
that were almost lost. In his dreams he sees the men who were responsible
for his little sister's death.

With nowhere else to go, Hannibal flees to Paris to find his uncle, only to
have learned that he has passed. His Japanese widow Lady Murasaki
welcomes Hannibal into her home. Showing a cunning aptitude for science he
is accepted into medical school, which serves to hone his skills and provide
the tools to exact justice on the war criminals that haunt him day and night. I
had my review thought out before I left the movie theatre. I had the idea of
including the entire history of the series in my review for this film. I wanted to
compare the stories and explain the time line. But the more I thought about
it the more I figured it was best to leave it for another time. I'll just believe
that most of you out there reading this review have seen all the other
Hannibal Lecter movies. Hannibal Rising serves as a prequel to the entire
series (including Red Dragon which was also a prequel). Rising is much like
the other movies when it comes to characters and content.

The story and focus however is different. Hannibal Rising is a story about
revenge. We follow young Hannibal as he searches for the men who killed his
family. In his early years Hannibal was a completely different person. That is
until he witnessed the death of his own sister. When he escaped, his heart
died. The man became a monster - the monster that we all know very well.
Previously portrayed by Brian Cox and Anthony Hopkins, the role of Hannibal
Lecter is played by French actor Gaspard Ulliel. Gabriel is a man with a lot of
talent, I believe he's the main reason why the movie works. He's obviously
filling in some big shoes, taking the role of a famous movie monster. Luckily
he did such a fantastic job. Gaspard Ulliel makes the character his own with
his devilish charms and looks. His performance as Hannibal Lecter is
memorable and rewarding. Hannibal Rising is a long movie with a simple plot.
The previous Hannibal films were brutal, relentless and shocking.

Rising continues this very tradition. Hannibal Rising is a graphic movie that
teases you with the blood and gore. If the story isn't satisfying enough for
you then the gore might bring a smile to your face. This is one of those
movies where you cheer for the bad guy. Hannibal Lecter almost feels like a
hero, in a sick and twisted sense. The story fits to where you actually feel
sorry for the monster. Humanizing Hannibal Lecter would have been a huge
mistake. Hannibal Lecter is and will always be a villain. Rising plays as the
"Batman Begins" of the series. They give you an explanation as to why and
how he came to be. They show Lecter snapping and turning into the
cannibalistic beast we know him as. Hannibal Lecter is a monster, especially
when he brutally murders other bad guys. The story doesn't portray him as a
good guy. Just a lunatic with a thirst for vengeance. I haven't read the book,
so I can't really compare plot or content. However, the death scenes in the
movie are brutal and may make you cringe if you're not used to that kind of
thing.

It will certainly turn some heads - Cannibalism is not a pretty sight. Much like
the previous films in the series, Hannibal Rising features strong grisly
violence. As much as I liked the movie (and the violence), it's not perfect.
There were some parts of the movie that I didn't find too pleasing. In fact
some scenes were a little over the top. Not to mention it was also
predictable. It's your basic revenge story. It's not like we haven't seen this
before. You'll predict what happens later. Just maybe not the ending, which
was surprisingly funny and more upbeat. The movie definitely could have
played out much better. I enjoyed it though, I walked out of the theatre very
pleased with what I saw. I don't understand the criticism that the movie is
getting. It's almost like the time I reviewed the Texas Chainsaw prequel. I
loved it, but everyone else bashed it. Sure the story isn't original but I found
it to be entertaining anyway. Not everyone will like it, especially if you haven't
seen the other films in the series. I've seen all the movies and I enjoyed this
new one very much.

Hannibal Rising fits in very well with the rest of the films, even though it's
completely different. Everyone's a critic, you can't help but have different
tastes (no pun intended). I personally enjoyed the movie. It got to the point
where I wanted to rush home and watch 'Silence of the Lambs'. I liked the
story and I loved the content. But most of all I loved the characters. This
movie made me appreciate the series even more. There isn't much of a
difference between the theatrical and unrated cuts of the movie. There isn't
any added gore that was deleted. The new scenes attached to this version
don't really do much to move the story. Just some dialog bits and stuff like
that. The bonus features are pretty basic; You've got your trailers menu, a
behind the scenes feature which doesn't really tell you anything new, a
commentary track (which is the best part) and that's about it.

I liked this movie a lot, so it would have been nice to see some more behind
the scenes stuff. Some interviews seem to be missing too, I wanted to get a
point of view from the entire cast. Most of the interview on the featurette are
from critics, the director and actor Gaspard Ulliel who gives his view on the
character of Hannibal Lecter. If you're a fan of the movie then you may want
to think about picking up this DVD. Then again, if you really are a fan then I
would think twice because the special features on this are basic. So there's a
possibility that the movie would get a re-release in the near future (a new
box set with all the movies would be nice). There's so much that they could
have added to this DVD. Still, it's something you should check out. I loved
the film when I saw it in theatres; I love it even more knowing that it's apart
of my DVD collection.


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Overall: 8/10
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