Who's in It:
Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans, Gong Li
The Basics: You know that Hannibal Lecter is a maniac who kills and eats people, but did you ever wonder why he's a cannibal? No? You say you don't care? Me neither. But now we find out the mind-wrenching truth: He had a horrible childhood! OK, he had an unusually horrible childhood. Nazis killed his family, and then they ate his baby sister. So technically, his early murders were revenge-oriented. But still, dude, after you got back at the bad guys who made soup out of your sister, did you have to keep on eating everyone who cut you off in traffic?
What's the Deal? This isn't a horror movie at all, even though they're selling it as some sort of "ultimate in terror" experience. It's a historical drama with some beheadings and some barbecue. And you're meant to be on Hannibal's side, which is weird and officially crosses him over into Freddy, Jason and Chucky territory. It's "Empathy for the Devil."
Also, It's Boring: Between the killings you have to sit through stretches of plotting and study and rumination on the nature of evil. You see Li as Hannibal's aunt/sword-fighting instructor/booty call teaching him how to pray to her ancestors for courage and how to clean the blades with "oil of clove."
Weirdest Thing: Ulliel, who plays teen Hannibal as the emo-est kid on the block, is an odd cross of young Crispin Glover and Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) but who also has this rockin' body and pouty lips like an Abercrombie model. He is shirtless more than once. It's like, "Hey, kids, Hannibal is sexy!"
Favorite Bits: Well, there's the detective who chases Hannibal around and says stuff like, "There is no word for what he's become
except monster." And then, when Hannibal catches up to the bad guys and they all offer feeble excuses for their behavior during World War II, he gets to yell, "YOU ATE MY SISTER!" You keep waiting for one of them to go, "Oh, well, yeah. I guess you win."