It was with no small degree of excitement in 2001 that we learned Anthony Hopkins would reprise his Oscar-winning turn as Hannibal Lecter for the sequel to Silence of Lambs. Almost as quickly, our hearts would break when both Silence director, Jonathan Demme, and Jodie Foster both refused to return with him. What we did get was Ridley Scott, hot off his amazing work on Gladiator, and Julianne Moore taking the role of Starling.

"doesn’t land anywhere near its predecessors"

Based on the Thomas Harris novel of the same name, Hannibal picks up a decade after Silence. Dr. Lecter is hiding in plain sight in Europe and Starling is about to run asunder of a smear campaign, after a disastrous mission sees her kill a criminal with a baby strapped to her chest. Starling is suspended and when news of this reaches Lecter, he decides to reach out to her. In the background, a survivor of Lecter’s crimes, Mason Verger, has FBI Director Krennic in his back pocket and is funding less than official methods to capture Lecter and exact his own version of justice. When all these players finally meet, it becomes dangerously apparent who is really in control.

As with the novel (it chooses dramatically to steer away from), the follow up to Hannibal and Starling’s adventures is unexpected—and not in a necessarily good way. The characters personalities and choices throughout seem so far removed from we saw before that it’s jarring, even unpalatable. Moore’s obviously an amazing actor and brings her own idiosyncrasies to Starling, but as written, is relegated to a reactionary role. This was mistake. It lessens her and I can see why Foster refused to do it. Hopkins is the draw and he too left me wanting. Hannibal makes some inexplicably careless and stupid choices in this film that defy belief and insult the audience and the character’s intelligence. Lector in this film, as written, is a pale caricature of the monster we met before, bloated on the glow of his own reputation, seemingly invincible to all logic and consequence. It makes Lector a wink-wink joke, and as much as Hopkins tries, this is weak imitation of what he accomplished before.Hannibal

The story (as was the novel) is bat-shit crazy. Whereas Silence was intelligently and carefully executed, presenting a litany of hurdles, where Starling had to employ her training and her burgeoning talents to survive, Hannibal reaches for hyperbolic set-pieces and cartoonish characterisations. One thing that doesn’t let you down is the visuals. Scott’s adept handling of the visuals is sumptuous and as reliable as ever.

As much a product of our own expectations, as it is a question of taste, Hannibal is just a very different and hard to swallow experience. It has solid contributors, a big budget and is based on one of the greatest thriller writers of all time’s novel. It just doesn’t land anywhere near its predecessors.

3/5 stars



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4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Edition

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- May 7, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A


This is a beautiful looking 2160p native transfer. Taking a massive uptick from the ancient blu-ray print, this faithfully captures the colour timing of the filmmakers while heightening detail and texture to draw dropping efficacy. The Dolby VISION HDR is carefully layered to embolden an already painterly looking picture (this is a Scott movie, after all). Facial details, clothing, buildings, fabric and especially vistas are off the chart with detail while maintaining the steady grain structure of the negatives. This is a top shelf job. No complaints at all.


We received a slightly reworked DTS-HD lossless 5.1 mix that had no discernible difference from the old mix to me. This mix was always a robust and immersive surround mix, but my most oft complaint, considering the space on these UHD discs, will always be why do they not spring for a Dolby ATMOS 7.1 mix to go with a stellar new picture? This is a completely adequate mix, but it isn’t what the disc is capable of being.



  • Audio commentary by director Ridley Scott

Special Features:

  • Breaking the Silence: Making-of Hannibal Doc - including rare footage and interviews
  • Anatomy of a Shoot-Out: A Five-Angle Breakdown of the “Fish Market” Action Scene
  • Ridleygrams: A Featurette on the Art of Storyboarding
  • An Exploration of the Film’s Opening Title Design
  • Over 33 Minutes of Deleted and Alternate Scenes with optional director commentary
  • Alternate Ending with optional director commentary
  • 19 TV Spots
  • Theatrical Teaser
  • Theatrical Trailer

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  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: R.
131 mins
: Ridley Scott
Thomas Harris; David Mamet; Steven Zaillian
Anthony Hopkins; Julianne Moore; Gary Oldman
: Crime | Thriller
Memorable Movie Quote: "Bowels in or bowels out?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:     https://kinolorber.com/product/hannibal-4k-uhd
Release Date:
February 9, 2001
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 7, 2019.
Synopsis: Living in exile, Dr. Hannibal Lecter tries to reconnect with now disgraced F.B.I. Agent Clarice Starling, and finds himself a target for revenge from a powerful victim.