HANNIBAL RISING was a huge disappointment as a book and even more so as a movie. Huge Pacing problems, over the top cruelty and some really bad ideas made the movie an unworthy prequel to the successful franchise. Still the movie was not just cheaply produced as a B-movie. 50.000.000US$ were spent to make it as good as possible and still it failed on almost every level it so hard tried to achieve. The result was a movie that from the start was uninteresting, lame, disgusting and simply bothering its audience, who had difficulty finding any access to the story. This also lead to many thinking that the leading actor Gaspard Ulliel was a bad choice for young Hannibal, but I have to disagree here. He spent months studying the movie Hannibal Lecter, trying to copy his way to speak, to move, to look - and successfully. Unfortunately his presentation was not able to save the movie as such, but it was this what gave me the idea that something could be done this movie to create a version more likely to enjoy an audience, maybe even something thrilling. Taking a closer look I realized that lots of scenes were filmed really well, show a lot of talent and power, meanwhile others take all that away by being just bad. The first time I watched HANNIBAL RISING I simply hated it, maybe because I am such a fan of the franchise and had to deal with the disappointment of it going downhill with each new movie. That was not my all time favorite villain Hannibal Lecter. That was a demystifaction of the worst kind. It became a superficial horror thriller.
Now I cannot answer, why on earth I watched this movie again, but maybe the answer is again that I am a huge fan of anything concerning Hannibal Lecter. And this time I realized the potential of a good movie inside this turd. Gaspard Ulliel's acting was the main reason for that, because he does give one really good performance. So I started thinking, creating a concept and finally fanediting. And with pride I can finally announce: I present you a worthy origin of Hannibal Lecter.
the title THE LECTER VARIATIONS was the working title for the movie. I used it because it resembles a lot about Hannibal: his style, the music, the playful kind. And since I made a Lecter variation of HANNIBAL RISING it just seemd so fitting.
Editing this movie was a huge undertaking. Lots and lots of scenes were removed, altered or moved to a different point to make it a well-paced complete plot.
The list of changes and why I made them. Listed in chronological order.
1. The entire beginning of the movie (the first 17 minutes) was reduced to a montage of what Hannibal sees and moved to the middle of the movie instead as a backflash.
Starting a movie in chronological order is nice, because the plot just continues with no interruptions. But in this case it is this very beginning that made the movie fail. Although filmed with huge efforts for historical correctness and a big budget, it is just wrong. Right from the beginning we learn what a monster the villain Grutas is and what happened to Hannibal's sister Mischa. The scenes with Grutas and his men are over the top brutal and embarrassing (sniffing jews anyone?). The effect these over-the-top scenes have is to take the audience out of the movie. What happened to Mischa and Hannibal is actually a good story, but starting a movie with the climax is as bad as it can get. At that time the audience is not connected to Hannibal at all, which leads to feeling nothing much, when the terrible events take place. What I did was to completely cut the story of Grutas from World War II, because it is not necessary to know how bad he is. We see that for ourselves later on. Subtlety instead of superficiality. I created new credits with a score to put you in the right mood and some little introduction text to get things going. I am very happy with the new beginning.
2.The truck ride (20 sec added)
On his escape from the orphanage Hannibal goes by a truck and takes out his binoculars. I added the scene, because of the binoculars. In the next scene we see him using them, but I wondered all the time, where he got these from. This is to show he has them already.
3. Kendo training with Lady Murasaki (50 sec). removed
One of the most annoying scenes of the entire movie. The intention was to show the growing relationship of Lady Muasaki and Hannibal Lecter as well as show Hannibal's advancing in his physical skills and teaching him an ancient fighting art, which is supposed to underline his interest in culture and tradition. Unfortunately the scene seemd like the training session of a Karate Kid movie, the mood was very happy and totally did not match to the rest of the movie. I removed it completely and this is already a huge improvement.
4. Hannibal putting on the Samurai mask (20 sec). removed
The first thing I wanted to remove. In this very scene Hannibal puts on a Samurai mask, when he plans his first killing. The scene is intended to show us the masked Hannibal that we know from its predecessors so well. BUT what it really does is to show us that Hannibal is associated with his mask, much like Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees. There is a deleted scene in which inspector Popil asks Hannibal if he ever wore that mask and his reply is "I do not deserve this honor yet". This is plain stupid. Hannibal Lecter has no interest in masks. He NEVER wire the biteshield mask of the predecessors out of his free will. The mask is only a symbol of him being captured and incarcerated. So in order to stay true to the originals (and these are in my opinion RED DRAGON and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) this scene is not happening.
5. The butcher's death (2:52 min) removed and added a little backflash montage and a text message for timing reasons.
I was working a lot on that one until the final decision was made to completely drop the entire scene. Hannibal kills the butcher at a lakeside with a Katana. Beforehand he talks some Lecter-talk about pussies and plays the song "Ein Männlein steht im Walde" on the mandoline. This is one of the scenes which ruined the movie. It was gross, it was superficial and it was stupid. Besides the butcher acts rather badly int he scenes with dialogue. Now of course a Hannibal Lecter movie has to be gross, but not that early in the movie. A movie lives from a plot that raises the thrill continually. Hannibal Rising continually disrespects this rule. I had created a much shorter version of the butcher bein killed, but even that did not work. It felt chopped up to much. So I removed it compeltely and the audience does not see the butcher's death at all, only the plans and the result in the police station. The dialogue between Hannibal and the butcher is copied from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, but it does not work, it feels artificial. Removing the entire scene is the best I could do. Subtlety instead of instead of disgusting artificiality.
6. Sodium Penthanol (20 sec) added.
Hannibal joins an execution, in which the convict is interrogated by the use of a truth serum (Sodiom Penthanol). The scene adds further information to this, which I found rather essential, especially because Hannibal gets the serum as a gift and does not steal it.
7. Dortlich's singing (20 sec) removed
Hannibal forces Dortlich to sing "Ein Männlein steht im Walde" when he already is about to be killed. The scene was so over-the-top. It is VERY unlikely Dortlich would have sung a children's song in this situation. It is one of the major changes I wanted to make to get rid of the importance of that children song, because it doesn't work and is actually a flaw, since the song is not about a mysterious man in the woods, but about a rosehip. I also deleted Hannibal commanding the horse by whistling, because only trained horses do that. These scenes were deleted for better pacing and more realism.
8. Lady Murasaki sniffing (10 sec) removed
She tells Hannibal he smells of blood and smoke, when he has returned to France. We all know that Hannibal is a VERY clean person. I am sure, he has washed himeslf in the many days it must have taken him to travel in the 50s from the Soviet Union back to France.
9. Inspector Popil questioning Lady Murasaki (2:31min) removed
Popil asks Lady Murasaki about Hannibal and presents a photo of the killed Dortlich to Lady Murasaki. The intention of the later scenes with Popil is to have Hannibal hunted by the police, to present Popil as the smart minded policeman, who finds out about him and chases him. Police work was an important matter in all the predecesors, but in this case it does not add to the suspense of the story. It rather feels like a lame copy, because Popil never seems to be really smart. It is highly unlikely that the Soviets shared any information about War Crimes or murders in their country with any other country. From history we know that the Soviets always lied about what happened inside their borders. They had no serial killers and no unsolved murder cases - or at least wanted everybody else to believe that to show their system was superior. Without the evidence, Popil knows nothing about Hannibal's murder, resulting in no chase taking place. Removing this scene was necessary and is really good for the pacing and realism of the movie.
10. Inspector Popil searching Hannibal's room (24sec) removed
I removed this scene for the same reason as the one above. There is no chase.
11. Inspector Popil visiting and questioning Hannibal (approximately 5 min) removed
Popil interrogates Hannibal again, knowing he ate Dortlich's cheeks, and lets him go. This highly unlikely scenario considering Popil is a policeman is one further reason for him to not be part of the second half of the movie. I needed a lot of editing to create a working scene for Milko's water tank scene as it is interrupted several times by the Inspector Popil scene.
12. Lady Murasaki tries to stop Hannibal by getting intimate (30 sec) removed
Murasaki and Hannibal kissing? No way. Hannibal is kind of asexual as we know from the predecessors. He does like women and he kind of falls in love with them, but he always kept it platonic. No reason to change this here. Also it did not fit to Murasaki's character to try to seduce him.
13. Grutas talks about Lady Murasaki's anus (20 sec) removed
This is a terrible scene: Grutas picks a prune and compares it to Lady Murasaki's anus after he will be finished with her. Then he eats the prune and enjoys it a lot. This is one of the over-the-top scenes that is just plain disgusting and does not add anything to the mood or the story. We knew before that he was a bad guy. Removing this scene is the best to happen to it.
14. Grutas is molesting Lady Murasaki (23 sec) removed
Grutas tells Lady Murasaki what Hannibal did to Dortlich. He touches her all the time, while he does that. The scene does not add anything to the story, even though it means that lady Murasaki still does not know Hannibal is a cannibal.
15. Popil talking to Lady Murasaki when the boat explodes (about 40 sec) removed
Popil somehow heard what happened on the boat and finds Lady Murasaki on the bridge. He tries to calm her down, when the boat explodes. Since Popil is not part of the 2nd half of the movie, he cannot be there. besides that the scene was meaningless anyway as it implied a personal contact between Popil and Murasaki, which was in the book, but not in the movie. I created an explosion montage therefore, which works kind of well.
16. The original ending and end credits (8 min) removed / new end credits added (4 min)
The original movie ends with the song "Ein Männlein steht im Walde", sung by a child's choir. This scene is supposed to be a funny mixture of shock and sweetness, of enjoying the horror. Unfortunately it does not wrok that way. It makes you smirk and leave the theatre unsatisfied. I added a more dramatic final score, which directly mounts into the custom end credits.
100 minutes NTSC 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with AC3-5.1 audio
LANGUAGE : English
COVER&Disc ART : yes
DVD coming soon, featuring animated menus, extra features, English subtitles.
A fan edit is a version of a film modified by a viewer, that removes, reorders, or adds material in order to create a new interpretation of the film. This includes the removal of scenes or dialog, replacement of audio and/or visual elements, and adding material from sources such as deleted scenes or even other films.
Now lots of people are complaining the original might take damage, when a different cut is released, but the original is still there, unchanged and no one is forced to watch a fan edit. It is like painting a mustache to a postcard of the Mona Lisa (quote taken from Mike Nichols commentary of THE PHANTOM EDIT). No harm done. No harm intended.
As for myself: I respect the companies and the artists involved in these projects. They did the work. But when a work of art is published it finally belongs to the public and I should be allowed to watch a movie the way I like it, skip scenes, fast forward, watch it in slow motion or even edit it to my likings. It is like creating a custom CD from an album, where you do not include several songs or change the playing order.
Those movies are not created to replace the original, they represent just an alternate view. Fan edits cannot be bought or sold, the material is copyrighted and belongs to the original owners. To legally watch them, you need to own the original DVDs. For more information, please visit: