“Hannibal Rising” Doesn’t rise to expectations

February 15th, 2007

The return of Hannibal the Cannibal was inevitable. (Ha-Ha!) What intends to be an epic prequel to the trilogy of “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Hannibal,” and “Red Dragon” only turns out to be a sad excuse to build upon the franchise.

The stories of Dr. Hannibal Lecter are based on novels written by Thomas Harris, but this was the first to have its screenplay written by him as well.

Hannibal Rising tells the story of a teenage Hannibal Lecter and his sister Mischa after their parents are killed in World War II.

Hannibal Rising tells the story of a teenage Hannibal Lecter and his sister Mischa after their parents are killed in World War II.

In Lithuania in 1944, the 8-year-old Hannibal Lecter and his younger sister, Mischa, are held captive by a gang of mercenary thugs during World War II.

Caught between German troops and the encroaching Russian army, the Lecters are forced to take refuge in a cabin in hopes of finding safety from the bitter cold and rumbling tanks.

Stranded in the cabin without provisions, the team of thugs, led by Grutas (Rhys Ifans), becomes desperate for food. Left without any options, the men feast on Mischa with young Hannibal standing by.
Ultimately, this is the moment Hannibal loses his innocence and promises Mischa to one day get revenge.

Fast-forward eight years and Hannibal (Gaspard Ulliel) has made his way to France. After being re-united with his widowed aunt, Lady Murasaki (Li Gong), Hannibal enrolls in medical school.
During his stay with his aunt, Hannibal turns into the next “Karate Kid” with afternoon lessons in martial arts and sword fighting.
As Lady Muraski and Hannibal spend more time together, a strong bond is formed with their shared desire for vengeance and a twisted sexual attraction.

Hannibal continues his studies at medical school, immersing himself in learning how the human body works (and what parts taste best).

After discovering the whereabouts of the men who ate his sister, Hannibal and Lady Murasaki set out to make things right in the world, by chopping them up into little bits-and-pieces.

Luckily, for Hannibal, the men still keep in close contact with one another and aren’t too tough to track down.

One-by-one the men are exterminated, with Lady Murasaki always there to clean up the mess. With Inspector Popil (Dominic West) hot on Hannibal’s trail throughout the entire movie, each gruesome murder is discovered by the police, and the monster known as “Hannibal-the-Cannibal” is targeted.

The movie drags on for an excruciating two hours of poor acting and pointless gore that adds no real incentive to even want to dig deeper into the mystery of Hannibal Lecter.

What tries to be a movie labeled as a “psychological thriller” leaves the viewer without any psychological twists or thrills.

Questions or comments?