"Who is that chick who isn't Jodie Foster?" Movie ruined.
This movie was so plagued with problems right from its conception that I can't discern a single good reason why it was made. Except one: Could it have been... money? Of course; whenever money is involved, good sense goes swirling right down the can.
First, you have a potential sequel to an Oscar-winning film and your director and your main star decline to participate because the book fails to meet their lofty expectations. What do you do? Personally, if I'm producer Dino De Laurentiis, I go up to Jodie Foster and say, "Who the hell are you to tell Thomas Harris how to write his books? Stick this where the sun don't shine," and then hand her a butt plug made out of crushed glass. Did De Laurentiis do that? Of course not. He stuck a pen between his butt cheeks and asked Jodie where he could shake his ass to make the script better.
After rewriting the script to accommodate Foster, De Laurentiis then discovered that Foster had conveniently committed to another project. What does he do then? He gets Julianne Moore to take the role. Okay, whether Julianne Moore is more or less capable than Jodie Foster is irrelevant. What is relevant is that every last person in the audience is going to see the film and hear Clarice Starling's name associated with Julianne Moore and ask themselves, "Who is that chick who isn't Jodie Foster?" Movie ruined.
Apparently, what nobody liked about the book was the ending, which portrayed Hannibal and Starling going off together. So, they changed it. First of all, I agree the American public is too stupid to understand why that ending worked in the book, but that doesn't mean you spoon-feed audiences whatever it is you think they want. Screw with their minds once in awhile. Bore them too much, and people like George W. Bush get elected president. Second, there was a scene in the book where Lecter suckles on Starling's breast. I'll be goddamned, but I was living the rest of my natural existence to see that one GOD DAMN scene, and it wasn't there, and I'll be skewered sideways if I'm going to let anybody get away with that.
Also changed from the book: Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) -- who, as the only living victim of Lecter, is trying to capture him -- has a bodybuilding lesbian sister in the book who's not in the movie. I'll be goddamned, but I was living the rest of my natural existence to see a movie with a bodybuilding lesbian and I'll be GOD DAMNED if I'm going to let anybody take that away from me. Another change from the book: Lecter undergoes plastic surgery so that he can walk around Italy without being identified. In the movie, he has no surgery. The difference? Apparently in the film, the stupidflu has swept through Italy, rendering the Italians completely oblivious to everything, like easily identifiable mass murderers roaming their streets.
"Hannibal" is just another book adaptation the filmmakers should never have bothered with if they weren't even going to try to get it right.
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