Went to see Hannibal last night. Random thoughts.

I wasn’t grossed out. I’ve heard the final ten minutes were supposed to be gross, with a serious ick factor. I’ve heard of people vomiting in the theatres. Me, I was more impressed with the special effects work that made the dinner party scene work. I was sitting there, thinking to myself, did they do blue-screen work? Is that how it was done? Pretty damned effective, if you ask me.

The ending of the film worked for me. Sort of leaves the door open for a sequel. What will Hannibal do? What will become of Starling? What’s with all the pigeon crap?

It’s a schizophrenic film. The Italy portions were brilliant. The cat-and-mouse between Lecter and Pazzi drove the film better than anything else did. Had the film been content to be about that, I’d call the film a work of genius. But the Starling angle was needed, the revenge plot drove that, and so once Pazzi meets his fate the film shifts into a very different gear, one that caused my attention to wane.

Except for the pigs. What a laugh-out-loud moment. What devilish irony it was, Verger trying to eat away Lecter and meeting that fate instead. It was all a little coincidental to me, but films work that way, especially in the timing.

Gary Oldman’s make-up was incredible.

Jodie Foster wouldn’t have worked in this film. The Starling role really had very little to do, and Foster would have wanted to be at the center of the action. The problem was, it’s not Starling’s film. It’s Lecter’s.

The Union Station sequence. I came so close to laughing at that point.

Overall, I’d say it’s a good film. Not a great film. Ridley Scott directed the film far better than most people would give him credit for. I’d rather have seen David Fincher direct Hannibal, but perhaps that would have been retreading ground Se7en had done so much better. But Jonathan Demme behind the camera wouldn’t have worked. I have this sneaking suspicion he got lucky with Silence; his work since hasn’t been worth speaking of (Philadelphia being vastly over-rated in my opinion).

I imagine you’ve seen it. If you haven’t, I think there’s a lot you’ll like. It’s certainly surprising.

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