The eternal question is upon us – that is, what to do with a three day weekend while it’s still touching 90 degrees outside. Go to the beach? Maybe if the rest of the nation didn’t have precisely the same idea. How about the theme parks? With everyone back in school, surely they’ll be deserted, right? Actually, it is guaranteed that the same idea has crossed their minds. But, regardless of how you spend your day, chances are that your evenings will be open for something that allows your body to relax and perhaps give your brain an opportunity to ‘play’ while the body rests. But what film series will accomplish the agenda of stimulating you mentally, while keeping your attention, and not boring you? Why not visit (or re-visit) the classic series that actually started in 1986, but didn’t become a surprise hit until 1991? And is still going strong with new aspects being explored on NBC.
If you haven’t guessed it yet (and how could you, because I haven’t exactly been “helpful”), I’m referring to the Hannibal Lecter character’s string of films. This series gives you a chance to look into the world of serial killers, law enforcement, institutions for the criminally insane and how all three can combine to bring you a very interesting story that is interesting in a twisted ruthless way where you might find yourself favoring and even rooting for the infamous “Hannibal the cannibal.”
Technically, Dr. Lecter’s character was introduced in Thomas Harris’ 1981 novel ‘Red Dragon,’ which was adapted into a critically acclaimed, but dismally box office performing film, 1986’s ‘Manhunter,’ with Brian Cox as the acclaimed psychopath psychiatrist.
But it wasn’t until 1991’s ‘Silence of The Lambs’ that Anthony Hopkins attempted to personify the character. Which is widely believed to be the “best” (well most entertaining) portrayal of the likable serial killer.
The wide success of that film, and his performance, spanned a sequel in 2001’s ‘Hannibal,’ which continued the Lecter story, this time focusing more on him than the story’s other characters.
But shortly thereafter, the original novel was readapted for screen in 2002’s ‘Red Dragon.’
Then, although not featuring Hopkins, 2007’s ‘Hannibal Rising’ tries to “justify” or explain the Doctor’s reasons for his wrath by showcasing him as a youth and his “maturing” into the man who first received positive notoriety in his medical practice.
But all of these film’s fail to showcase Lecter’s de-evolution from renowned, Baltimore area, psychiatrist to incarcerated inmate at a mental hospital (and subsequent ‘dungeon’ following an attack/snack on a nurse) or the briefly mentioned “Chesapeake Ripper” murders which landed him behind bars to begin with.
This part of the story is now being told in the form of an NBC television series, sharing the name of the third film ‘Hannibal,’ Dr. Lecter is being portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, who is actually portraying the character closer to his original description (eastern European).
In an interview [link: http://www.gq.com/style/wear-it-now/201307/mads-mikkelsen-in-the-new-bro… with GQ Magazine, featured in it’s July 2013 issue, he said [of his take on playing Dr. Lecter] “he loves everything that’s beautiful about life,” and he tries to embody that with his portrayal.
Now I’m not saying to sit in front of the TV aimlessly watching all of these works (besides, Hannibal’s TV run won’t be available on home video until late September), but to pick a few and space them out along the long weekend.
My suggestion – watch ‘Red Dragon,’ ‘Silence of The Lambs’ and then ‘Hannibal.’ While entertaining, the others lack the iconic portrayal and execution of the Hopkins Lecter character’s likable insanity and the television series would just take up too much of your time.