Hannibal The Cannibal, that is.  In this sequel to 1991's brilliant Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins returns as the nefariously gastronomical Dr. Lecter.  Jodie Foster, however, does not return as Clarise Starling, handing that role over to Julianne Moore, who replaces her as the driven, but easily manipulated FBI Agent.
    Hannibal has the look of Silence of the Lambs, though director Ridley Scott does sprinkle his own personal touches here and there with many techniques he perfected making Gladiator.  Looks, as the infamous doctor would surely point out, are only skin deep.  Peeling away that thin outer layer exposes what amounts to only the bare bones of a story, which plays out slower than a funeral dirge.  In fact, for nearly 90 minutes, not much really happens in this film. (Usually the case when having only 45 minutes of decent plotline to work with.)
    A good sequel takes the initiative to expand on story and characters from the earlier film, as well as explore the world they inhabit.  Hannibal does none of these things, and is one of the most unimaginative sequels I've ever seen.
    While Silence of the Lambs was a psychological thriller, Hannibal is simply a horror movie, and a dull one at that.  It does not play on the emotions or frighten as convincingly, and Hannibal Lecter himself doesn't even seem to be the same person.  His once very ominous, droll and sophisticated persona has been replaced by a personality and manner more befitting a Batman villain, with far too many lines of silly dialogue.  Also, the gruesome scenes in the movie, of which there are a handful, are presented quite blatantly, lacking the subtle touch of the previous film.  I had always thought Ridley Scott to be above such gross-out foolishness.
    As for performances, the cast does about as well with the material as can be expected.  No one really stands out, not that they would want to in this film. 
    So, if you're looking to re-live the nightmares of Silence of the Lambs, visit your local video store and watch it again.  Hannibal is borderline horror at best.  In the end, I found the silence of the audience to be much more telling. 
Directed By:  Ridley Scott
Starring:  Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore,
Ray Liotta, Ennio Coltorti, Gary Oldman
Rated:  R (Violence / Gore)
Running Time:  131 Min.

Not Much To Sink
Your Teeth Into
A.J.'s Rating: 1.5 Anthropophagite Stars  (look it up!)
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Review published
Feburary 16, 2000
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