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Here's Brett and Robert's movie review of HANNIBAL RISING
Set in Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, HANNIBAL RISING begins with young Hannibal Lecter watching as his parents are violently killed by soldiers fighting near their house, leaving his young sister Mischa in his care. Later, more soldiers came and took over his house and without much food around the soldiers were soon on the verge of starvation. They had to eat something orů someone. Hannibal then witnessed the most barbaric and gruesome eventů Mischa was taken away from himů and he was alone in the world. This event changed Hannibal forever. Growing up, he was forced to live in a military-ran barracks, where bullies liked to mess with him because he acted so strange, but Hannibal didn't worry. In fact, he hurt the bullies whenever they bothered him, sometimes quite severely. He later escaped from the barracks and sought out his Uncle. However, his Uncle had passed away, so his Aunt, the beautiful Japanese Lady Murasaki (Gong Li), takes him in, letting him live there with her as she tries to calm his nightmares and sorrows. Hannibal soon decides to track down the men took his sister and exacts bloody revenge upon them. About that same time, he's also accepted into medical school, where he hones his killing skills. Then, as he's killing these men, one by one, Hannibal has several encounters with Inspector Popil, who wants find proof that Hannibal is behind these killings...
HANNIBAL RISING is bland, unimaginative and at times, quite stupid. The new Hannibal (Gaspard Ulliel) doesn't have the acting ability that the real Hannibal (Anthony Hopkins) has. In fact, there's no possible way (in my mind) that this Hannibal could become the real Hannibal. It's not just acting that blocks that transition, it has a lot to do with the plot and script as well. Aside from the name of the movie and loosely tied plot, this new Hannibal is someone completely different from the Hannibal we all know and fear from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. What's worse is that this movie can't really even hold up on its own merits because the content is so bland. We've seen it all before, so there's not much to look forward to in HANNIBAL RISING. Another thing that really bothered me is that fact that Lady Murasaki began training Hannibal in the ways of the Samurai. This, to me, was just ridiculous. The facemask that Hannibal wears on the movie posterů yep, it's a Samurai mask! How does Hannibal kill most of his victims? Yep, you guessed itů with a Samurai sword! It became so ridiculous that it should have been called "The Last Samurai 2: Honor and Cannibalism."
All in all, I'd give this movie 2 STARS (out of 5). Re-watch value: NONE (once is more than enough).
Brett's review of HANNIBAL RISING
The fourth installment to the Hannibal Lecter franchise, although kinda creepy, really didn't have much of a plot or story. It's the supposed story of the monster Hannibal Lecter's formative years, and the experiences as a child and young adult that lead to his remarkable contributions to the fields of medicine, music, painting and forensics. The story begins in World War II at the medieval castle in Lithuania built by Dr. Lecter's forebear, Hannibal the Grim. The child Hannibal survives the horrors of the Eastern Front and escapes the grim Soviet aftermath to find refuge in France with the widow of his uncle, the mysterious and beautiful Japanese descendant of Lady Murasaki Shikibu, author of the Tale of Genji. Her kind and wise attentions help him understand his unbearable recollections of the war. Remembering, he finds the means to visit the outlaw predators that changed him forever as they battened on the helpless during the collapse of the Eastern Front. Hannibal helps these war criminals toward self-knowledge, even as we see his own nature become clear to him. I honestly thought this movie just didn't have the merit to stand on its own, the story just plain stunk and there was no consistency to the plot. The acting was mediocre at best and Hannibal Lecter (Gaspard Ulliel) just didn't come across as a young Hannibal to me. After Hannibal finds his aunt and she starts to train him with Japanese swordplay and he starts his killing spree, I felt like I was watching some old Japanese Samurai movie. The movie really had nothing new and the foreshadowing with the Japanese armor was honestly kind of stupid, it almost made me think maybe I was watching a comedy instead. Now as far as being consistent with the other Hannibal movies; it didn't do that very well either. We have a guy that is now wanted in France, and yet he becomes a world known psychologist and an acquirer of art throughout Europe and most of the western continents (I wonder if Interpol was shut down during that time). Overall HANNIBAL RISING couldn't really stand on its own merits and worse it couldn't stand as a part of the franchise of which it was made.
Overall Rating: 2.5 Stars (out of 5). Re-Watch Value: None (If you must see it, save the money and wait for Netflix).
Be sure to check out Jen Frankel's column too.
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