Today, on this May the 29th, curious moviegoers can flop themselves onto their couches, chew on some popcorn and see just what it was that made Hannibal Lecter so crazy, because the unrated Hannibal Rising DVD has just come out. Now, this is a film that I avoided in the theater. Critic friends, actors and movie fans alike told me not to bother; however, presented with the opportunity to review the DVD, I figured it was my perfect chance to see it. My expectations were low, but my curiosity was high -- I always wonder what happens off-screen, and I was always curious about what made Lecter such a cold and calculated murderer.
Seeing Hannibal Rising is like excitedly strapping yourself in to a roller coaster and slowly creeping up to the summit, your mind full of exciting, twisting, corkscrewing possibilities, only to hit the peak and find out that there is no drop, but just a slightly-slanted plateau. The beginning of the film is both beautifully shot and deeply disturbing. We're taken into the turmoil of World War II, and see how a rich, healthy and happy family can at once be destroyed by a cruel twist of fate. As you watch what happens to the young Hannibal, you can't help but cringe, because it's truly terrible, but in that way that your mind can comprehend. It's not some big imagined King Kong, but a real and possible menace.