Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Superhero-ification of Everything: Hannibal Rising, Mercury Falling...

Hoh boy. Where to begin with Hannibal Rising? For starters, I know I shoulda thought of a better headline than that, so I'm already down for the count. But let me just say this: sometimes your brain needs a vacation. And if nothing else, you go in to a Hannibal Movie with certain expectations. And not to give too much away, it's tamer than Ridley Scott's Hannibal, and I'm sure everyone will agree it's way WAY better than Brett Ratner's little entry in the series. But it delivers the goods, plot holes aside.
On the other hand, I'm afraid this may give World War II movies a bad name. Or was that The Reader's job? Seriously, though, Hannibal and Magneto: two things that should've died in that war, no? And so we're treated to Hannibal Lecter's Origin Story, and his rather abrupt maturation from mild-mannered Eastern Bloc castle dweller to full-fledged "pure psycopath." I was reminded of when Conan O'Brien would talk to celebrity infants on his Clutch Cargo satellite uplink: did he ever do Baby Hannibal Lecter? Is that Hannibal 6's plot outline? I knew it!
So the plot machinations might be a little too routine for some. It almost was for me, but nevertheless I found the proceedings entertaining. Maybe I'm just getting old and lazy. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for that Gong Li. She plays Lady Murasaki, not your typical damsel in distress. I just want to make sure I get the name right so I don't get Hannibal upset at me. For me, it was interesting until it turned into the standard Death Wish / Lethal Weapon revenge formula. What's the typical standard of these kinds of pics? I don't exactly know. But having Hannibal go after these guys makes it a little different. Other reviewers complain that there's no vested interest in these characters, which was kind of REALLY the problem with Ridley Scott's Hannibal. Here, the line's a little more sharply drawn. Or were the bad guys here just so over-the-top evil as to be unbelievable? Rhys Ifans continues to fill in as the new David Warner, and I want to give a brief shout-out to the heart and soul of the bad guys: Richard Brake, or the Welsh Michael Biehn. He's the spark that lights the fuse on this cabal of war criminals, when they realize that Steven Seagal's out for justice.. I mean, Hannibal. But Hannibal does have his own charm as that Bronson-esque figure out for revenge: he knows never to use a gun. Too many fingerprints, or maybe it's just too easy. Why use a gun when you can use a sword? As for the young Hannibal actor himself, well, obviously he's the new Crispin Glover, only less interesting. And he kinda makes Hannibal sound like Dracula. And he's got that smirk etched into his left cheek. I forget already. Is that a Hannibal trademark?
Oh, but I ramble on and on. If you've got nothing else to see, and it just happens to be on cable at the time, which described my predicament perfectly, you just might want to check this out. I mean, the CGI gets a little clunky, especially with the WWII planes, and the camera shaking is a little blatant with the war explosions, but for two hours of your life you could do much worse.

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

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