Hannibal (2000)

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Released 1-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
dts Trailer-Piano
Audio Commentary-Ridley Scott (Director)
Featurette-Breaking The Silence: The Making Of Hannibal (5 feats)
Multiple Angles-Multi-Angle Vignettes (3)
Deleted Scenes-14 +/- Director's Commentary
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots-19
Gallery-Photo-17 Galleries
Gallery-Poster-4 Galleries
DVD Credits
Easter Egg-FlashFrames
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 125:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:20)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ridley Scott
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Anthony Hopkins
Julianne Moore
Ray Liotta
Frankie R. Faison
Giancarlo Giannini
Francesca Neri
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Hans Zimmer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
Dutch
Dutch Audio Commentary
Icelandic
Hindi
Hebrew
Turkish
Danish
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Greek
Arabic
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Closer Please.......Closer......   

    Hannibal
was one of the most eagerly anticipated follow-up movies of recent years. I call it a follow-up and not a sequel because of the presence of the 1986 Michael Mann film Manhunter based on Thomas Harris' book Red Dragon, which introduced us to Hannibal Lecter.  In this instance, he was played by Brian Cox and not Sir Anthony Hopkins who made the role his own in the hugely successful 1991 film, Silence Of The Lambs. We had to wait ten years for Thomas Harris to get around to writing Hannibal and for it to be filmed. Well, the wait is over. Was it worth it?

    Ten years on and Hannibal Lecter is still free. Special agent Clarice Starling (then played by Jodie Foster, now by Julianne Moore) has moved on from solving the Buffalo Bill serial murder case, and is an operative in the field. After a bungled FBI raid in which several people are killed, and in what looks like a set-up, she is stood down from active duty.  Meanwhile, Dr Lecter has been living in Florence, Italy under the guise of Dr Fell. He looks set to become the next curator of the local museum, until an unwitting Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) begins poking around and believes he may have stumbled onto the whereabouts of one of the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives. So begins a cat and mouse hunt, where Pazzi, in an effort to claim the three million dollar reward, attempts to prove that the urbane Dr Fell is in fact Hannibal Lecter.   I won't spoil the rest, only to say that Dr Lecter eventually heads back to the US in an attempt to track down Clarice and right the wrongs against her. Here he falls victim to the pursuit of a hideously disfigured Mason Verger (a non-recognizable Gary Oldman), a previous patient/victim of Hannibal's who appears to have lost his face. Very careless, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, says he chuckling.

    Hannibal
had big boots to fill after the success of Silence Of The Lambs. The latter won the "big four" at the 1991 Academy Awards (Picture, Director, Male Actor, Female Actor) and set the standard for the psychological thriller that turned serial killing into an art form. This time around, the taut direction of Jonathan Demme was replaced by the equally artistic direction of Ridley Scott, but sadly, two of the three things that made Silence Of The Lambs so good were missing. Jodie Foster passed up the opportunity to reprise her Clarice Starling role due to the extreme nature of the book and what became of her character at the conclusion. She is sorely missed. The aforementioned book also polarized many fans who saw the ending as something that could never have happened and felt that it betrayed all that agent Starling stood for.

    The censors in this country also had much to say about the film. When initially released, it was classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification with an MA 15+ rating, but some supposed complaints and intense media scrutiny saw an independent review board examine and subsequently overturn that decision and slap an R 18+ rating on it only days after it had been released. The furore was all to do with one particular scene towards the end of the film featuring a brain, a frypan, and a hungry Justice Department Director. I'm not sure what all the fuss was about. I found the offending scene to be hardly shocking or distasteful at all. It was more a lame attempt at humour in my opinion.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    As one would have hoped, a superb video transfer has been afforded this film. It is presented in the original theatrical aspect of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is consistently crisp and sharp. There is no trace of edge enhancement and shadow detail is exemplary, which given the number of low light scenes that occur is a blessing. There is no evidence of grain or low level noise.

    Colours are also spot-on. Skin tones are natural, and while not overly vibrant the rest of the transfer offers a decent palette.  There is no colour bleeding or oversaturation present, although at the risk of spoiling the plot, the exposed item in the closing scenes is at times hovering on oversaturation.

    There are no MPEG artefacts visible at all. Film-to-video artefacts were limited to one small and trivial case of aliasing at 14:30 on some bridge railings and a rather obtrusive moire effect on an extreme close-up of a television featuring Hannibal at 41:19. Other than that, it was sharp and beautifully rendered. Being such a new film, there were almost no film artefacts to be seen other than the usual odd spot or fleck.

    There are twelve normal subtitles tracks available and an additional two tracks in English and Dutch for use with the Director's Commentary. I extensively sampled the English subtitles for both the main feature and the commentary and noticed no major problems with either.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc. The layer change occurs at 57:20 and is well placed and does not cause any disruption.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    It's great to see more discs being released with dts soundtracks in Region 4. Bring them on I say!

    There are three audio tracks available for the main feature, all in English; Dolby Digital 5.1, dts 5.1, and a Dolby 2.0 surround-encoded commentary track. I watched the movie three times with a different track selected each time. Similar to the Gladiator disc, you are unable to switch between the tracks on-the-fly and must navigate back to the main menu. I really could not separate the Dolby Digital and the dts soundtracks. Both offer a wide soundstage with clear and precise dialogue.  Bass extension and surround use is impossible to differentiate. Perhaps during the operatic scene in Florence, the dts track offered a little more wider-reaching sound, but the differences are minor. Those of you with no dts capability should not be too concerned about missing out on anything.

    Dialogue is crisp, clear, and always readily understandable. There are no audio sync issues.

    The musical score is by Hans Zimmer and as usual is superb. It adds much to the atmosphere, especially during the early scenes set in Florence and in particular the opera piece that was composed for the film. It's a shame that there is no isolated score track as it would have been a pleasure to listen to.

    While not overly aggressive in the surround department, there are some decent examples of surround use, particularly early on in the fish market shootout. Listen in at 8:15-9:00 for the obligatory bullets buzzing around your head.

    The subwoofer received only moderate use.  Whilst this is not a bass-heavy soundtrack, with few explosions or deep rumbles, it copped a good workout in the early fish market scene.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    You want extras? You've got extras! There's an absolute ton on the second disc that will keep even the fussiest DVD buff happy and take a substantial amount of time to get through.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Themed from the main title's video and audio. Actually begins to sound like a giant mozzie after a while.

dts Trailer

    Piano - Quite a reasonable audio trailer that we don't get to see too often on discs on Region 4. It's the newer of the dts trailers and certainly isn't as cheesy as the original dts logo trailer. I don't know about you, but I like the dts trailers. It's the best way to show off to friends that you have dts capability and don't just rely on the all-too-common Dolby Digital!

Audio Commentary

    This is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound, and is subtitled in English and Dutch.

    Much like his commentary for Gladiator, the audio commentary by director Ridley Scott is chock-full of information about production techniques, casting decisions, planning decisions, and artistic decisions made for certain scenes. Ridley was watching the film whilst recording the commentary track, and what he describes usually relates exactly to what is occurring on-screen at the time.  He does become a bit monotonic after a while since there is only him to listen to. This would have been improved had he been discussing the film with another person. Regardless, this track is a welcome addition that certainly enhances the viewing experience.

Featurette - 'Breaking The Silence' The Making Of Hannibal

    Not your average making-of feature, due to the length and quality of this production. Clocking in at a grand total of 75:08 minutes, it is separated into five chapters that can be individually selected from the making-of sub-menu. If selected individually, they each have the credits inserted at the conclusion of the chapter. Presented in full screen with samples from the movie in 1.85:1 widescreen, it is not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track.

    The chapters deal with Development, Production, Special Effects, Music, and Reaction. I would suggest that you watch this featurette after viewing the main film as it does contain several large plot spoilers. Also note that the times noted on the menu screen for each of the chapters are incorrect. They all run 10-25 seconds less than stated.

    Development has interviews with Co-Producers Dino and Martha De Laurentis. It deals with the problems they encountered when both Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster decided to pass on the making of the sequel and the circumstances that saw Ridley Scott and Julianne Moore take part. It runs for 15:44 minutes.

    Production centres on the filming in Florence and touches on some of the more noted scenes. It runs for 19:30 minutes.

    Special Makeup Effects shows the challenges involved in creating the Mason Verger character and some of the animatronics that were used for the boars and other key moments in the film. This chapter runs for 12:55 minutes.

    Music shows composer Hans Zimmer at work, composing and discussing his score and in particular the piece he composed especially for the opera set in Florence. One point Hans Zimmer raises is an interesting one for home theatre buffs. He states that when the orchestra is playing his score he listens to it from inside the mixing booth and not in the same room as the orchestra. He needs to hear what it is going to sound like in the movie theatre and this is different from actually sitting amongst the orchestra despite what 5.1 surround channels can do. You can't beat being there obviously. This chapter runs for 13:52 minutes.

    Reaction summarises the various industry premieres that occurred throughout the US. An interesting part of this chapter is when a camera appears to have been snuck into the LA premiere and captures much of the audience reaction. This chapter runs for 12:10 minutes.

Multiple Angles

    The Multi-Angle Vignettes offer the ability to view a scene or interview from multiple angles and in the last example using multiple audio tracks also. There are three multi-angle vignettes available.

Anatomy of a Shootout

    This vignette shows a breakdown of the early fish market shoot-out scene. It offers 5 different camera angles and one audio track (this being Dolby Digital 2.0).  There are four separate camera angles and a combined angle that shows all four cameras at once. It runs for a total of 9:28 minutes.

RidleyGrams

    It seems that Ridley Scott is a bit of an artist and this small chapter is dedicated to his RidleyGrams or storyboard artwork. It features an interview with him about how he develops and illustrates his storyboards for use in filming. There are three camera angles available. The first angle shows the actual interview with Ridley Scott, the second continues the interview as audio but shows the actual storyboard art he is talking about, and the third also has the interview soundtrack, but juxtaposes the drawn storyboard and the finished film shot to see how Ridley's drawings were translated to film. It's quite remarkable to see how closely some of the finished shots compare to the original storyboards. This feature is presented full frame and runs for 8:41 minutes.

Title Design

    Shows how the main title sequence was developed. Four different camera angles are available in addition to four audio tracks. Any combination of these is also possible, making for a feature that can be viewed several times in different ways.    The video shows proposed title shots, how those shots were made, and the finished product. The audio tracks are a combination of commentary (from the title designer and a copy of the director's Audio Commentary repeated) and the score used for the credits.

Deleted Scenes

    A grand total of 14 deleted scenes (the last is an alternate ending). Presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, they are not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track. Scenes can be played with or without a commentary by Ridley Scott. Subtitles are available for all scenes with no commentary in English, Dutch, French, and Spanish, and in English and Dutch with the commentary.

    I found that most of the shorter scenes (usually around 30-50 seconds) added little in the way of plot and agree that they should have been removed. I felt that three of the scenes - Return to the Dungeon, Il Mostro Case, and Coming To America, actually cleared up a couple of points that I missed during my first viewing. The first two scenes mentioned run for 4:40 and 11:51 respectively, and in my opinion were quite critical to the plot, although Ridley Scott points out they added too much complexity overall  that he needed to remove.

Teaser Trailer (58 seconds)

    Presented in an aspect of 1.85:1, this non 16x9 enhanced trailer features a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. It runs for a total of 58 seconds. This trailer plays on the success and suspense generated by Silence of the Lambs and works quite well in promising some good action to come.

Theatrical Trailer (2:18 minutes)

    The US domestic trailer. This is also presented in an aspect of 1.85:1 and is a non 16x9 enhanced trailer. It too features a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. It runs for a total of 2:18 minutes. Interestingly, it contains some footage that was cut from the main film and now appears as a deleted scene. I actually feel that the trailer makes the film more suspenseful and scary than it actually is.

TV Spots

    There are nineteen TV spots presented. All are full frame with no 16x9 enhancement and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.  Eleven of the spots run for 30 secs and the other eight run for 15 secs. Most are a variation on the same theme with the 15 second grabs simply an edited version of the 30 second spots.

Gallery-Photo

    I normally consider photo galleries to be a waste of time. All too often, the photos are too small or there are only a handful to view anyway. Well, get ready for a surprise. Not only are the photos presented here of excellent resolution and size (they are 16x9 enhanced), but there are a staggering 560 of them. Yes, that's right five hundred and sixty (I had to count the lot which took me about 45 minutes). They are also broken into chapters or galleries (imagine wanting to view number 343 and having to start from the beginning!). They show shots from all major scenes from the movie, plus post production, behind the scenes, promotional work, and so forth. A great example of how to do a photo gallery properly.

Gallery-Poster

    Similar to the photo gallery, the Poster gallery shows various styles of posters from four of the design teams that were developed as promotion concepts and also the ones that were selected for final use. There are a total of 56 posters to view and these are all also 16x9 enhanced.

DVD Credits

    Simply lists all the people that worked on the DVD production on several screens.

Easter Egg - Flash Frames

Flash Frames are the brief burst of film that is exposed after the director calls 'cut' and the camera keeps rolling until the operator stops it. This easter egg is a collection of all the flash frames cobbled together featuring Julianne Moore. It was compiled by Associate Editor Wes Sewell and has been put to an original music track aptly titled 'Clarice' by music editor Mark Strutenfield. Running time is 3 minutes and audio is by way of a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Quite a decent egg this one. Access it by navigating to the featurette menu, then highlight 'Music'. Next press the left arrow on your remote control and the 2 small arrows next to the title music should highlight, then press 'enter' . This will bring up the flashframes with a brief introduction about its development.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This special two disc set is not released in the US until August 21, so on a rare occasion we get the jump on our Region 1 cousins. From the information I can find, the specification of the R1 is almost identical to the R4, except with the addition of a French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Based on that information I most certainly favour the local product.

Summary

    While not in the same league as its grisly and disturbing predecessor, which set new standards for the psychological thriller (and scared the pants off me), Hannibal is a well-crafted film that while partly thrilling, lacks any of the suspense that was so desperately needed. It will also have you chuckling at the some of the campy gore scenes.

    This DVD presentation is top shelf. A bumper set of extras, a dts soundtrack, and a general high quality presentation make this a must-have purchase and when combined with the pending release of Silence Of the Lambs make for one of the most highly desirable box sets yet released in this country. Goody Goody!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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Comments (Add)
Censorship..... - Alex H (My biography...in 500 words or less!)
RE: Censorship -
MA version? -