Hannibal (Blu-ray Review)

Wrapping up the 90’s, 1999, to be exact, author Thomas Harris decided to continue his Hannibal Lecter tale with the sequel to Silence of the Lambs with Hannibal. This caused quite a stir in Hollywood, and rights were snatched up, with production to begin for the film version of Hannibal as soon as possible.  The great Ridley Scott would direct, but would any of the previous cast members return?  We know what ended up happening, so with that out of the way let us see how Hannibal on Blu-ray stacks up. 




Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) has come out of hiding to draw FBI agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) into a high stakes game of cat and mouse.  Of course while these two are busy chasing after each other, one of Lecter’s only surviving victims, Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) is planning a surprise for Lecter of his very own.

Ten years after the events of Silence of the Lambs Clarice Starling is still kicking butt and taking names, but after a questionable shootout where several people were killed lands her in hot water with her superiors, she ends up focusing on her other pet project: Hannibal Lecter.

Hannibal Lecter is in Italy where he works, under an assumed identity, as curator of an  old library.  The ball gets rolling where Lecter sends Sterling a special gift made with ingredients that are only available in certain parts of the world, Italy being one of these places.  Speaking of Italy and Mr. Verger, his rich grip does take hold in that of Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini)  who becomes aware of a 3 million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of Lecter.  Looks like Lecter is a pretty hot commodity.  It all culminates in a game of who will get to him first.

I remember the buzz for Hannibal like it was only yesterday, and kind of shocked that it’s already been 10 years – a little longer if you count the build-up that happened when the book came out a year or two before the film.  Fastracking the Hannibal the movie was an understatement.  It was also filled with lots of drama.  Mainly that the Jodie Foster who played Clarice Starling in the first film would not return, and neither would director Jonathan Demme.  The producers brushed it off and got Ridley Scott and Julianne Moore to fill in.  Gary Oldman’s appearance was an also, pardon the expression, tight lipped affair, because he was never seen or mentioned in the promotional materials.  I don’t even think he was listed in the cast credits. Oh, and useless trivia number one: Did you know that Tim Roth was actually considered for the role of Hannibal Lecter if Hopkins did not return?  Yeah.

Hannibal is a decent enough film on a technical level, but loses some of the grit and grime of the first film.  I think the remake of Red Dragon had a more darker edge, too.  As you can see, I was never quite a fan of the aesthetic choices made for the film.

My favorite character in Hannibal would have to be Mason Verger.  He’s the freakiest looking character out there.  The make-up on him is unreal and to this day looks disgustingly beautiful.

If you’re down with the prospect of a human being lowered into a pit of hungry wild pigs then I think you would get a kick out of Hannibal. That’s all I will say on that, because it’s such a unique concept, but I digress.  Continue reading the technical specifications on this Blu-ray to see if Hannibal as a whole is worth your time and money.  As it stands, Hannibal is just an okay romp.



Hannibal is presented in 1080p, 1.85:1, widescreen.  This is where I will probably get ripped to shreds.  I am not a fan of the “look” of Hannibal at all.  It gets a 3-star, because even though I’m not a fan of the way it looks, that’s the way the filmmakers wanted it to look.  I never really paid attention to it until now on Blu-ray, but Hannibal looks like a big budget made-for-television flick.  Yes, flesh tones look nice and natural, and in Mason Verger’s case downright grotesque, but the red in Julianne Moore’s hair was made for Blu-ray.  It pops.  The picture is quite soft, and black levels tend to crush somewhat in some of the outdoor night shots. Contrast levels are steady, but edge enhancement does creep in there every once in a while.  Funny enough, I think Manhunter looks much better than Hannibal, in my opinion. 



Hannibal is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1.  Where the Blu-ray crumbles in the video department, it kind of makes up for it with a nice lossless audio track.  The shootout in the fish market is pretty impressive and the ambient sounds in Italy are also pretty cool.  Dialogue is king here and it comes through nice and clear.  You will be able to listen to Mason Verger’s rants as he smacks his chops up at the thought of torturing Lecter very  clearly.  The musical score also takes the front seat, because it’s one of those globe-trotting kind of films where they filmed it all over the place, so the  score needs to be in there front and center.  

Special Features  

Nothing. Trailers for other movies do not count.

Final Thoughts

Hannibal is an okay sequel, but nothing special.  The Blu-ray contains no special features whatsoever, and the video looks weird.  The film is okay as a serviceable thriller, but it isn’t the best of the bunch.  I wish this Blu-ray had contained all of the extras that the DVD had which may have enhanced the viewing experience a bit more.  I’d recommend Hannibal only to the die-hard fan base.


Order Hannibal on Blu-ray!



5 Responses to “Hannibal (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Matt Goodman

    That first picture made me cringe.

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Never did like this film. It has it’s moments.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    I did that on purpose Matt. Bon appetite.

    I agree Aaron.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    I never liked this film either despite the people involved.

  5. Matt Goodman

    Also, Julianne Moore doesn’t seem to age.