Sunday, 13 September 2009
HANNIBAL TURNS BLU
Florence, Italy. Hannibal Lector, now masquerading as Dr. Fell, continues to haunt the dreams of Clarice Starling (beautifully played by Julianne Moore)and soon attracts the attention of local cop Pazzi who has an eye on the considerable reward being offered for Lector's capture.With a high maintenance wife in tow, Pazzi resolves to obtain the necessary fingerprint required to bag the cash, while deformed peadophile Mason Verger (the excellent Gary Oldman doing his best James Stewart impersonation) pulls the strings that he hopes will eventually ensnare his quarry.
For my money, HANNIBAL is easily the best of the Hopkins Lector flicks, and is pretty damn close to being Ridley Scott's best to date. Here, the beautiful city of Florence appears dark and menacing, stained by the presence of Lector who holds sway throughout the entire film, even though some 30 minutes elapse before we first set eyes on him. With a heady mixture of scholarly insight, gallows humour and a palpable sense of menace, Anthony Hopkins locks horns with his pursuers while any romantic aspect is delivered by "suggestion rather than assault".
Sad to say, HANNIBAL received pretty short shrift from many SILENCE OF THE LAMBS devotees; some of whom felt that HANNIBAL was worlds away from their expectation of a sequel, and Jodie Foster's absence may have been to big a pill to swallow for those who found a 'newcomer' too big a jump. Maybe those same people have now got a little more time for Moore as, like the film, her performance gains with age and moves like a symphony through the rich script.
The standard definition DVD - laden with extras - has long been an essential part of my collection, and another in a line of Scott on disc that really increases understanding and appreciation of the film in question. The release of HANNIBAL on Blu-ray seemed to good to turn down, so is the hi-def version a worthwhile upgrade?
This region-free Blu-ray is easily the best I've seen this film look, though the detail seems less than sharp in certain instances. Overall, it handles colours and black levels very well, enhancing Scott's painterly approach to this film.
Happily, most of the extras from the SD DVD have been ported over, though the multi-angle fish market shoot-out and title sequence design have gone missing, together with the marketing gallery and trailers. With Blu-ray boasting such impressive storage capacity, the inclusion of the aforementioned would not have hurt, so someone clearly dropped the ball on this occasion. Apart from that, HANNIBAL comes highly recommended.