Sunday, June 23, 2013

Let's Talk "Hannibal"...

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So with NBC's newest series "Hannibal" wrapping up and being renewed for a 2nd season, I'm of the mind set that with "Dexter" wrapping up, someone needs to step up and fill the serial killer void. Who better than The Father Of Fictional Series Killer (Norman Bates being the Grandfather) Hannibal Lecter. In this article I'm going to discuss my likes and dislikes of this series. But I'm gonna preamble this by saying that my dislikes aren't dislikes but rather things I'd like to discuss. SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT SO IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED "HANNIBAL" DO NOT READ PASS THE BREAK!

So I'll admit, when a "Hannibal" series was announced I rolled my eyes because I was convinced this was going to be a cheap "Dexter" rip off, and I already dead set in this mind-set when I realized "Hannibal" & "Dexter" shared a common producer in Sara Colleton. Hannibal Lecter, although one of the founding fathers of the "gentlemen villain" hasn't been relevant in a LONG time thanks to an unfortunate origin movie that REALLY didn't shed any light on why Hannibal is the way he is...

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Let's never speak of you again...

So I didn't have high hopes for this series. THANKFULLY, I was COMPLETELY wrong in EVERYTHING with this series and I was happy to be taken BY SURPRISE by it. For starters the series focused more on Will Graham than it did Hannibal. Hannibal was introduced much later in the 1st episode and sort of loomed in the background like a shark. This is my new favorite show, because it's going farther than just the standard, "Catch A Killer" story, this show is one of the VERY FEW psychological thriller shows, that isn't about investigations or anything, but rather about an over-arching cat & mouse game between a Serial Killer and The ONE Man who can catch him.
 
But this won't be a re-hash of the series, rather it'll be a look Hannibal's 2 most popular incarnations. Anthony Hopkins & Mads Mikkelsen (excluding Brian Cox, I didn't too much care for his Lecter). Hopkins' Lecter was a lot more playful, more open to humor and blatant sarcasm, as seen with the famous "Fava Beans" Scenes. Hopkins' Lecter was more like a gleeful child than an actual serial killer. From what I understood of Hopkins' Lecter, he only killed people he considered to be "rude"...which includes flautists who can't carry a tune. Be that as it may, Hopkins' Lecter wasn't anyone to be afraid of as long as you didn't upset him. This is made evident in "Red Dragon" when Lecter startles one of the cooks only to offer his gratitude, much to the humor of the security guard Barney. Hopkins' Lecter essentially wasn't anyone I was afraid of.

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How can you fear this face ?

Hopkins' Lecter was a showman, only ruthless and cunning to a certain extent and was unfortunately neutered when he encountered Clarice. I ABSOLUTELY HATED CLARICE! Hopkins' Lecter was injured by an awkward romantic interest in Clarice that resulted in him chopping off his own hand. In short Hopkins' Lecter was fun and interesting and Anthony Hopkins really let his eyes and accent do most of the work. I just don't find him creepy at all. I actually find him charming and funny. And I'm certain Hopkins found in Lecter a certain bit of camp (why else would he ad-lib the famous "Fava Beans" Line?)

This brings me to Mads Mikkelsen's Lecter, this guy is actually terrifying. Mads is handsome in an ugly sort of way, and his gruff Scandinavian accents adds mystique to the character of Lecter. But more than that, Mads' voice control with Lecter does a perfect job of concealing any and ALL emotions, and yet he achieves this without being monotone in his delivery. In short, Mads treats Hannibal Lecter as something of an android, merely replying and interacting without being directly involved. Everything Mads' Lecter says is a controlled, well-thought of, well planned move on a chessboard that only he can see. Even when he states his intentions people aren't 100% sure how to interact with them. This Lecter doesn't yield any humor and would probably find sarcasm rude, however he is seen as playful, but even his playful side is creepy.

However unlike Hopkins' Lecter, Mads' Lecter is able to exhibit the signs of a pure psychopath, a person who does what he wants, when he wants, simply because he wants to, as stated with Abigail Hobbs; "I was curious to see what would happen.", to someone like him, that's reason enough. Not only that, but he has the same issue with rudeness and an affinity for humiliating people subliminally. This is a Lecter that enjoys torturing people, this is a Lecter who wouldn't spare Clarice just because he liked her. This is a Lecter who is ruthless, cunning, and way to intelligent to ever be caught.

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Tastes like winning...

This leads me to an issue with the series that I'm still tussling with and that's Mr. Will Graham. Personally, I'm of the Edward Norton school of Will Graham (as opposed to William Petersen in "Manhunter"...I hated "Manhunter"). However Hugh Dancy, added MAJOR depth to Will Graham, but I think in many ways made him WAY TOO timid. Dancy's Will Graham is slightly psychotic, and despite having the mental equipment to match wits with Lecter, is WOEFULLY under equipped at the same time. I understand in "Red Dragon", Norton's Graham stumbled onto Lecter's dirty little secret, but in the series Dancy's Graham KNOWS, however can't prove it and is in jail...

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You poor bastard...

Like REALLY like what Dancy is doing with the character of Will Graham, but at the same time, with Will being so...empathic, and not to mention suffering from encephalitis, it's anyone's guess on how Will will get out of his current predicament...which I will share with you all later in this article. Norton's Graham was much more down to Earth, he was empathic but not to the extent of becoming a shuddering, crying mess at crime scenes. Dancy's Graham, instead of relating to him, I find myself feeling sorry for him and hoping he'd triumph, but it's hard to engage him on any other level than seeing him as helpless child. Dancy's Graham has the will (pun intended) power to combat Lecter but not the brain power. Norton's Graham had the brain power and the will power, which lead to him being stabbed, but he survived and put Lecter away.

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You were almost dinner Bro.

Laurence Fishburn's Jack Crawford COMPLETELY outshines Harvey Kitel's, no disrespect to Harvey, but I was skeptical at first having Jack be more involved in the scientific/investigative area, BUT Laurence is a powerful actor who's mere presence on camera garners force and attention. Also his detached, yet connected relationship with Will Graham makes him that much more interesting. Also having him deal with the pain of having an unseasoned trainee lose her life to The Chesapeake Ripper (Dr. Lecter) makes this ride all the more fun when Lecter is revealed to be The Ripper. The fireworks when that revelation comes will be nothing short of awesome.

Last but not least we come to Freddie Lounds. In "Red Dragon", Freddie Lounds was played by a still budding Philip Seymour Hoffman. Freddie Lounds in "Red Dragon" was a sleazeball tabloid journalist who KNEW his work was sleaze was more than happy to print it. He was the old school "if it bleeds it leads" type of guy, even if he had to bullsh*t and lie his way through an article. This is what caused him to end up being rolled down a hill on fire in a wheelchair...

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Yeah, that happened...

I can't imagine the same fate befalling the new ginger-haired, easy on the eyes, tabloid blogger Fredrika Lounds. Ms. Lounds, is a bit of a weird one for me, she grew on me. Mostly because I like the fact that despite costing a police officer his job, she was more than willing to help him in finding better paying work elsewhere, which made her a new kind of sleazey, the kind that says "Sorry I lost you your job, but here's a better one.". The thing with her is, she unfortunately thinks she actually is a competent journalists and not a complete sleazeball, so her self-righteousness makes her a little difficult to deal with, but not to the point where she's annoying. She's a manipulator, and that's why Hannibal and Dr. Abel Gideon, spared her when they interacted with her, she is a sociopath with a different medium.

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I refuse to make a joke about her not having a soul because she's a Ginger, she doesn't have a soul because she's a journalist.
 THIS finally brings me too what I HOPE is in stored for Season 2 of "Hannibal"...

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FRANCIS DOLARHYDE! THE GREAT RED DRAGON! It would be AWESOME to see what the series would do with a character like Dolarhyde, and perhaps Will Graham is called into service to provide a profile of Dolarhyde (they wouldn't have to worry about Will getting to close, he's arrested). Graham could snag Dolarhyde and in the meantime reveal Lecter to be a serial killer thus clearing his name. The thing is "Red Dragon" never explained HOW Will caught Lecter, he just happened on some books, but the actual investigation into Lecter was NEVER given it's own movie or series. "Red Dragon" made numerous references to Garret Jacob Hobbs and we got to see the apprehension of Hobbs, so perhaps MAYBE we'll be seeing The Great Red Dragon once again?

Long story short, "Hannibal" does an EXCELLENT job of reversing the roles of Hannibal & Will, with Will being the one behind bars and Lecter being the one on the other side, free to do as he pleases. This series is BEYOND well written and from start to finish is one mind game after another. Also, this is one of the few times I've noticed a the sound production, especially in the last episode. I CANNOT WAIT FOR SEASON TWO! Thoughts ? Comments ?

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