HannibalReturning from Operation Desert Storm in the Spring of 1991, one of the first movies that I saw on the big screen was Silence Of The Lambs.  I thought it was extremely well written and had an excellent characters.  The innocent country girl working her way up the ranks at the FBI, using a deranged, but yet well versed and educated Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter to track down a serial killer.  Considering the subject matter, the graphic nature and special effects were kept to a minimum.  It relied more on the viewer to conjure up whatever images they deemed appropriate.  Overall an excellent thriller which will stand the test of time.  After all, it did receive Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress, and numerous other nominations.

Ten years later, along comes the sequel, Hannibal.  Immediately, what pops into your head?  "It's gonna suck" or "It won't be as good as the first one".  I read semi-bad reviews, and the main focus on them was the character of Special Agent Clarice Starling.  For whatever reason, Jodie Foster passed on reviving her role.  From what I understand, it had something to do with the ending, and how the character of Agent Starling would not be that type of person.  Filling her shoes would be Julianne Moore.  Needless to say, when this came out in the theater last year, I was a bit apprehensive in going to see it.  Then slowly, I started reading decent reviews, and I heard it was more graphic in certain scenes.  A few more weeks go by, and I just forgot about seeing the movie during the theatrical release.  Now many moons later, I'm at the local video store and I catch it on the DVD rack.  Figuring "Hey, what the hell?" I picked it up and finally saw it.  All I can say is "Holy Shit!!"

Keep this is mind while watching the movie...don't think of it as a continuation of the last story.  Yes, it is a sequel, but the only thing sequel like is the characters of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Special Agent Clarice Starling.  It's a completely different type of film than it's predecessor.  Being as such, I didn't mind the lack of Jodie Foster.  As this is ten years along the movie (and practically real life) timeline, Clarice is a bit more accomplished as an FBI agent, and Dr. Lecter is a free man living in Florence, Italy as an art curator.  Back on the homefront, one of the gruesomely disfigured victims of Hannibal, named Mason Verger (Gary Oldman...although you wouldn't know it), seeks revenge and attempts to lure Hannibal back out of hiding. 

This is definitely way more graphic and gory than the first one, but on the other hand, the scenes in Florence or Mason Verger's estate are beautifully shot.  It's a little more classier looking but don't let that fool you, there's enough material to keep the casual movie watcher disturbed for more than just a few days.  Anthony Hopkins plays Dr. Lector even more disturbing, but at the same time, he's a little bit of a smartass with quips like "Okey Dokey" or "Goody".  He enjoys toying with people, while staying just out of reach. 

As a pointless side note, I watched The Elephant Man last week, and you would almost think that Anthony Hopkins has a soft spot for disfigured people.  This movie puts an end to that suggestion. 

Buy or rent the DVD, you won't be sorry.  Tons of extras

RATING:  9/10

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