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Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series. 
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Post Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
After re-watching Manhunter a few days ago, I got to thinking baout the Hannibal series in general. Like the Alien series it started out strong before devolving into a direction that no film series should go.

In chronological order

Manhunter: My personal favorite if not necessarily the best. This one oozes dark unsettling atmosphere yet doesn't skimp on the characterization. William Peterson's Will Graham is effectively world-weary. Brian COx's Hannibal isn;t as iconic as Hopkins. But his approach is diferent. He plays him with more of an understated menace which in some ways makes him more frightening. The cinematography is brilliant and a few music selections are well-done (Shriekback's "The Big Hush", Iron Butterfly's "Ina Gadda Davida"). On the debit side, Tom Noonan isn't as effective as he should be as Francis Dolarhyde. He looks scarier tahn Ralph Fiennes would. But to date the most effective Dolarhyde is still in Red Dragon the novel (which may be the ebst suspense novel ever written).****

Silence Of The Lambs: More iconic that Mann's film, Jonathan Demme's entry features Anthony Hopkins in what is undoubtedly his most iconic performance ever. In some ways he's more over the top scary than Cox was. He frightens more in the moment whereas Cox left you with a lingering sense of unease. Jodi Foster is also great as is Scott Glenn. So while I wouldn't rank this as the best film of 1991 (that honor goes to JFK) or even the best in the Lecter series (Manhunter slightly ahead), Silence is still deserving of the accolades. ****

Hannibal: Ick! This one loses points for replacing the lead actress. Julianne Moore is a great actress (if you doubt that watch Boogie Nights or Safe or the recent Game Change). But I know Clarice Starling. Clarice Starling is a friend of mine. Miss Morre, you are no Clarice Starling. Hopkins is here. But the Hannibal character is devolving into a cartoon caricature of the well-mannered psychopath he once was. Most egregious flaw: this film screws up the ending of Thomas Harris' novel. *

Red Dragon: In some ways. this is the Hannibal series Alien Resurrection. Pointless but better than its immediate predecessor. Hopkins is better here than he was in Hanniobal. Edawrd Nortons a good actor. But I know Will Graham. Mr. Norton you are no Will Graham. Closer to the novle in a few regards than Manhunter (the explanation for Francis Dolarhyde's insanity, the ending). However it could be argued that Michael Mann made those changes in his screenplay because he felt they were for the better. *** rounded up from **1/2.

Hannibal Rising: Why???? Why did we need a movie that gives us a freudian psychological explanation for why Hannibal was the way he was? No *s at all!

So in order from greatest to least:

1: Tie Manhunter/Silence
2: Red Dragon
3: Hannibal
4: Hannibal Rising

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:03 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
1. Silence of the Lambs

What I like about this film is just the simplicity of it. It has a kind of old-fashioned look and merely trusts the performances to deliver. Having a thriller play with such a straight bat these days would be considered heresy.

2. Hannibal

Despite a number of negative reviews (some of of them justified), Hannibal is actually a well-made film with flaws, rather than the bad film we were perhaps lead to believe at the time... or even now.

3. Despite being very different, I find it hard to seperate the grimness of Manhunter with the cartoon silliness of Red Dragon. Neither have aged beautifully.

4. Hannibal Rising

Needless to say...

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:27 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
The Silence of the Lambs is one of the best thrillers ever, and one of my favorite films.

Hannibal was a mess.

Red Dragon was mediocre and forgettable.

I haven't seen Hannibal Rising, and I don't think I ever will.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:31 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
Thief12 wrote:


I haven't seen [i]Hannibal Rising
, and I don't think I ever will.



You should.

It's amazing.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:32 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
NotHughGrant wrote:
Thief12 wrote:


I haven't seen [i]Hannibal Rising
, and I don't think I ever will.



You should.

It's amazing.


As a comedy?

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:54 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
No, as a serious and brilliantly crafted examination of Hannibal's persona, that in no way threatens to tarnish the legacy.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:37 pm
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
NotHughGrant wrote:
No, as a serious and brilliantly crafted examination of Hannibal's persona, that in no way threatens to tarnish the legacy.


Ok. I'm not sure if I'm motivated enough to see it, but I'll file that under advisement ;)

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:56 pm
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
I'm probably alone on this, but I actually liked Hannibal better then Silence Of The Lambs(which I found a tiny bit overrated to be quite honest)and I thought Moore was damn good as Starling.

Manhunter and Red Dragon were OK, but nothing special.

Never saw Hannibal Rising and never will, as it looks horrendous.


Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:15 pm
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
Jeff Wilder wrote:
After re-watching Manhunter a few days ago, I got to thinking baout the Hannibal series in general. Like the Alien series it started out strong before devolving into a direction that no film series should go.

In chronological order

Manhunter: My personal favorite if not necessarily the best. This one oozes dark unsettling atmosphere yet doesn't skimp on the characterization. William Peterson's Will Graham is effectively world-weary. Brian COx's Hannibal isn;t as iconic as Hopkins. But his approach is diferent. He plays him with more of an understated menace which in some ways makes him more frightening. The cinematography is brilliant and a few music selections are well-done (Shriekback's "The Big Hush", Iron Butterfly's "Ina Gadda Davida"). On the debit side, Tom Noonan isn't as effective as he should be as Francis Dolarhyde. He looks scarier tahn Ralph Fiennes would. But to date the most effective Dolarhyde is still in Red Dragon the novel (which may be the ebst suspense novel ever written).****



I really don't agree. If you've read the book, you know that Will Graham has to be weak. He's a broken man, mentally, and the movie doesn't show this at all. William Peterson is stolid and dependable, and it ends with the

[Reveal] Spoiler:
goddamn turtles going free as the music soars


which is really, really not what the story calls for. And Brian Cox is fine, but I've never gotten the cult around his performance considering it's one or two scenes long. Can't believe you would give this ****.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:21 pm
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
I forgot to include Manhunter on my list. I really liked it, even though I don't think it has aged that well. Still, it's way better than Red Dragon.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:51 pm
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
1. Silence of the Lambs: ****
2. Red Dragon: ***
3. Hannibal: *** (I liked it even though it's incredibly disjointed and the ending in particular feels like it belongs in a different movie)
4. Manhunter: * 1/2 (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!)


Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:32 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
Everything about Red Dragon is superior to Manhunter IMO. Especially the acting. The only acting in Manhunter that was good was Dennis Farina and Joan Allen. But even then I thought Emma Watson was better than Allen and Harvey Keitel was better than Farina. Edward Norton was WAY better than the bland William Peterson, Brian Cox, an actor I usually love was ineffective as Hannibal Lecter as oppose to Hopkins in the role he was obviously born to play. And Ralph Fiennes was most definitely infinitely way better than Tom Noonan was.

Bret Ratner gets a lot of flack, and I think a lot of it is undeserved. He did a very good job with Red Dragon.

Michael Mann is one of my favorite filmmakers but this was a rare dud from him.


Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:36 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
A few months ago I had a similar ideas and watched all of them together in a chronological way, story-wise. (Manhunter>Red Dragon>Silence of the Lambs>Hannibal. Didn't watch Hannibal Rising because, well, you know)

Silence of the Lambs - 9.5/10. Second time watching it and liking it even better. Just a very fine crafted piece with great acting, atmosphere, and character dynamics.

Hannibal - 7.8/10. I don't like it much the first time, but the second time I was more into the trashiness of it. Very fun, and although it made a huge mistake separating Lector and Starling most of the time, their scenes together towards the end were very satisfying.

Red Dragon - 7.5 and Manhunter - 7.0. I just enjoyed Red Dragon more. Manhunter has the better lead actor (Norton was fine, but he was too young for the part, while William Peterson was perfectly magnetic and haunting) and mostly superior direction, while Red Dragon has the better story (as benefited from sticking closely with the book), Anthony Hopkins, generally better performances (especially Ralph Fiens and Emily Watson), and no major misstep with a better ending. The direction of Red Dragon might be a bit bland, just competent, but it's still better than the ill-advised cheesy, boring, slow-mo climax of Manhunter. More compelling performances, save for the lead actor (but it's more that Norton is just good while Peterson is great), also help me be involved in the story more.

Really, the greatest flaw of Red Dragon to me is that it has the story and many elements to be almost as great as Silence of the Lambs, with the exception of the director, which settles it down to be just entertaining.


Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:44 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
In Manhunter,
[Reveal] Spoiler:
I laughed out loud at the moment at the end where William Peterson jumps through the window and then gets shot. What a hilariously awful moment. :lol:


Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:30 am
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
For me, ranking the Hannibal Lecter films is pretty easy:

1.) Silence of the Lambs
2.) Manhunter




















3.) The rest of the films.

"Mediocre" is the most flattering word I can use to describe everything from Hannibal onwards. It takes a deft hand at direction and writing to make a psychopathic cannibal into a fascinating character to the audience. It didn't help that the author of the original novels seemed to go off the reservation with his own creation.

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Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:57 pm
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Post Re: Ranking The Hannibal Lecter Series.
I think we can all agree that "The Silence of the Lambs" is the best.

"Red Dragon" would be next for me. Brett Ratner blatantly aping Jonathan Demme's direction style for "Lambs" probably made it better than what it would've been otherwise ("Lamb" scribe Ted Tally returning to the fold surely helped as well). :| Sure, it has some problems, such as Ralph Fiennes possibly being to 'handsome' to have played the Tooth Fairy, and I'm definitely not a fan of that blatant lead-in to "Lambs" at the very end, but it's still satisfying overall.

I honestly don't think "Hannibal" is that bad, despite its obvious flaws (namely the book on which it's based). I know most people had a problem with either Julianne Moore taking over as Clarice or Hannibal just becoming rather soft from his freedom (if not both), but they didn't bother me as much. Ridley Scott made as good a film as he could have with what he was given.

I haven't seen "Hannibal Rising," and, at this point, I don't think I ever will. :P

I don't consider "Manhunter" a 'true' Hannibal Lecter movie, since, like the original novel, Lecter is hardly in it. I rented it a while back, and, frankly I found it hard to get past the hopelessly dated cheesy '80s synth score, and the fact that, as a whole, it kind of felt like an edgier, two-part episode of Miami Vice (minus the pink-and-white suits, of course ;) ). It's OK, but probably not something I feel compelled to revisit anytime soon.


Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:59 pm
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