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*** Official "RED DRAGON" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Red Dragon". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    I'm a man of few words, so just a quickie:
    I just got back from the matinee. It's hard not to measure this film by its predecessors. It's not in a class with SotL, but I thought it was much better than Hannibal. Fine acting as expected, impressive photography, assembled well enough to hold my attention and keep me interested. I was able to ignore that there is no hiding the fact that Mr. Hopkins is noticeably older in this prequel-his performance more than makes up for this unavoidable "flaw". I haven't read the book, so I don't know if any minor weaknesses in the screenplay were, in actuality, true to the original story.
    I thought it was really a pretty good movie, worthy of one of my few trips to the movie theater, but not a great film by any stretch.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (but I'll probably re-watch a film as well photographed and acted as this, and it could pick up an extra half star or so)
     
  3. Matt_P

    Matt_P Second Unit

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    Just got back from the theatre. Now, for my quick, unrefined review:

    Much better than Hannibal (though Hannibal's visual style is superb--a characteristic of Ridley). This time around, Lecter is closer to being his old "Silence" disturbing self, and not overly comedic (a major flaw with Hannibal). Technically, it's a very slick, characteristically Hollywood production. Impressive cinematography by Dante Spinotti (same DP as Manhunter). Acting was strong--Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watson were the standouts. There is a great dynamic between the two. Norton does the job, but nothing fantastic. I almost preferred how the killer was treated in this film (albeit, his motivation was a bit uninspired) to how we saw Buffalo Bill in Silence--we got to know his methods and nature throughout the film thorough very personal scenes, developing as Graham followed; a nice progression. In Silence, this killer had little "personality," only facts. However, each approach works for each respective film. Writing is far more solid than Hannibal, though the ending seems a bit forced... Also, Danny Elfman's string heavy score is intricate and powerful. Great opening sequence/credits. Very creative, and streamlined.

    This time around, the film does not attempt to "gross out" the audience. Nevertheless, there is a fair share of disturbing material here--certainly not for the young or the queasy.

    This film is not withough its flaws, and is not in the same standing as Silence, but a worthy prequel. Overall, worth a trip to the theater. You'll never look at chicken oysters the same way again.
     
  4. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    mini-review:
    A film that tends towards the artistic side of filmaking rather than the hollywood side. enjoyable, creepy, effective, Hannibal Lecter was awesome, the supporting cast as well as the main cast was fantastic, the Danny Elfman score was one of his best in a long time.
    [​IMG] 4[​IMG] /5
     
  5. DavidAC

    DavidAC Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I just got back from Red Dragon, it's definately better than Hannibal but not quite up to the SotL level. Ive seen Manhunter and while I thought it was also a good movie Red Dragon is better for mainly three reasons, Anthony Hopkins is the only Hannibal Lecter, Ralph Fiennes was great as the Tooth Fairy, and the movie delved more into the character of Francis Dolarhyde. Hopkins goes back to the roots of Hannibal Lecter and it's nice to see again. Edward Norton put in a solid performance as Will Graham, Watson, Hoffman, and Keitel all did well also but really it was Fiennes who impressed me the most. The beginning also was a great way to start off. All in all [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] /[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2 out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Much better than "Hannibal", but not on the same level as "The Silence of the Lambs". I'm a fan of "Manhunter", but I feel "Red Dragon" was the superior film. Largely due to the presence of Anthony Hopkins and Ralph Fiennes.
    Mad props to Brett Ratner for delivering what is easily his best work as a director.
     
  7. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    I enjoyed the film. I thought it was very well acted and shot. I think something that is lost, though through no fault of the film itself, is the impact of Hannibal. He no longer has a mystery about him such as he did in Silence. His actions are expected and digested with more relish than anything else. I couldn't help thinking that this wasn't how he was meant to be. However, the movie does do a good job of acknowledging this and even playing it up.
    One other thing that I enjoyed: it used the same cast to reprise their roles from the other films, such as Hannibal's doctor, which was a nice touch - especially when they inevitably release a 3-pack of Dragon, Silence, and Hannibal.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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    I never really understood why so many people labelled SOTL a great film, but I certainly think RED DRAGON is. The acting was superb, and the photography, although not quite as stylish as MANHUNTER was very rich. I really like MANHUNTER, but RED DRAGON has a much better story and the overall plot and characters are better balanced. Lecter's character is fleshed out nicely in this film, and he is just as creepy this time around as he was in SOTL. There are some clever twists and turns, and the overall atmosphere of the film was stellar. A top notch film on all levels, I have no doubts about deeming this the best Hannibal Lecter film.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] / [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I went into this film only seeing the trailer (but I've read the book a long time ago). This is one of those films where it would have been better to go with a teaser trailer and not give so much juicy dialog in the full trailer.

    Having read the book, I did have a jump on the audience who hadn't seen Manhunter or read the book, but I still thought the film was well done, the screenplay kept a good pace going (you have to take some cinematic shortcuts to keep the film flowing, else you get sidetracked into interesting tidbits, but the overall film would have suffered from its inclusion). I thought cat-n-mouse game on at least 2 different fronts was very entertaining.

    The 3 main leads (Norton, Hopkins, Fiennes) all did a fine job in their roles, as well as the principal supporting players (Hoffman, Watson, Keitel, and Whaley) combine that with some good/slick direction by Ratner (who treated us to a film that was very close to the source material), and a very good musical score (Elfman), and a very solid screenplay (Tally, who also did SotL's screenplay, and was smart enough not to get involved with Hannibal's screenplay).

    It gets a hearty recommendation from me for being a taut, suspenseful film.

    I give it 3.75 stars (out of 4), or a solid grade of A-.
     
  10. Brad Vautrinot

    Brad Vautrinot Stunt Coordinator

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    Red Dragon was a big disappointment for me. Of course, being a big fan of both Manhunter and Michael Mann, I didn't expect an awful lot from RD but felt I truthfully went in with an open mind. Overall, it was similar to watching an inferior Manhunter.

    Ed Norton, a fine actor in his own right, was terribly miscast in this movie and never was convincing as Will Graham. If they wanted a younger actor for this role, I feel that someone like Matthew McConaughey would have been a better choice but William Peterson is still the best one. Harvey Keitel was just fine and gave his usual good performance. Mary-Louise Parker was ok but not in the same league as Kim Greist as Molly Graham. Ralph Fiennes turned in a fine acting job as Francis Dolarhyde and was genuinely creepy although not as evil or frightening as Tom Noonan. Emily Watson turned in a fine performance as Reba McClane (and a very horny Reba at that as any self-respecting tiger will tell you). Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal as the distasteful Freddie Lounds was good and it was a pleasure to see him once again go down in flames. Hannibal Lector-what can I say. Hopkins looked older here than he did in the movie Hannibal even though he should have been 16 years younger. It's for this reason that Brian Cox could not have appeared in RD even though he was more frightening than Hopkins.

    The cinematography was ok and the soundtrack excellent but both lacked the dash and elan present in Manhunter's photography and direction which, in my opinion, makes Manhunter the superior movie. The killing of Dolarhyde was completely different and disappointing from the MH version and was no where near as intense as the original. I still get the creeps whenever I hear In-A-Gadda-da-Vida - a brilliant scene. The climax of Red Dragon was almost as bad as that of Hannibal which was total excrement.

    For people who have never seen Manhunter, Red Dragon may be just fine but for me Red Dragon was just another inferior remake of an excellent original. I cannot recommend this one.

    One star out of 4 stars
     
  11. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    Brad, I disagree totally with your assessment. I only saw Manhunter for the first time last month, and I was dissapointed with it.

    It was pretty faithful to the book, but it left out some pretty important stuff. Dolarhyde was just a creepy guy in Manhunter whereas in both the book and this new version he is an incredibly sympathetic character. What made Noonan's character do the horrible things that he did? His past was never explained, and thus he was just some crazy film lab guy.

    As for the endings, I think the new film did it best. The books ending as well as Manhunters endings were cliches. We've all seen the horror film where the enemy isn't dead yet, which is how it was in the book and Manhunter really just ended with a standard shootout, which wasn't frightening at all. Red Dragon )the film) was smart enough to tie in Dolarhyde's past to make the showdown with Graham more intelligent than any prior version. I really got a kick out of it, as I wasn't expecting that.

    I also prefer the new versions casting. I already voiced my displeasure with Noonan's Dolarhyde, a creepy looking guy for a character that should not have looked that way. I also didn't care for Stephen Lang's Freddy Lounds. Lounds is not some hotshot reporter. He's a sleazy disgusting guy. Phillip Seymour Hoffman got it right.

    I can't imagine watching Manhunter again, but I can't wait to see Red Dragon again.

    Neil
     
  12. Jianping

    Jianping Extra

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    Red Dragon is a well-done piece but failed at several important points, which make it poorer comparing to SotL, and maybe Manhunter.

    First is how to deal with the charactor Dr. Lector. In Mann's Manhunter, Mann never worried about this, because nobody know him, so he can easily put Dr. Lector in a position which he can have great impact on both Graham and Tooth Fairy without even show up. In Red Dragon, American audience are so familiar with Hopkins' Lector, Tally put much more parts to Hopkins, try to make him the thread of the whole story, from the beginning to the end. But it seems Tally also want to obey the line of original story so he can't give more story to Hopkins but just repeat the meeting between Graham and Lector, which become a little boring, especially when it looks too similar to SotL.

    Second is the part of Graham. In Red Dragon, Graham become just a FBI detector. Actually Graham is a wounded man, and to find out the criminal, he try to understand how Tooth Fairy thinks and acts, which gives him more ordeal. While in Mann's approach, the family of Graham is very imporatant, the talks between Graham and his son not only reveal the ordeal experience of Graham, and the importance of family to him. And Mann also explored how Graham try to understand how Tooth Fairy think with an excellent camera work. But in the Red Dragon, this part is lost. We never see Graham contact with his family only after Lector tell Tooth Fairy Graham's home address. Graham become a workaholic!

    Third is the part of Tooth Fairy. Tally put many emphasis to this part, thinking people will get interested in the motivation formation of a killer. This do works because Ralph Fiennes and Emily Waterson's performance. But the final part make it a little cheap. I can't understand, the relationship between Fiennes and Waterson is part of a criminal plan by Fiennes. The whole plot make me believe Fiennes is somewhat like the guy in 'Physco', who has double personalities. Meeting with Waterson makes him a normal man. But the command in his inner heart makes me in great ordeal and finnaly burn everything... Suddenly these all turn, all are exactly contrived for his finally attack on Graham. This plot really pisses me off.

    Anyway, the production is first rate with first performance. But as Spinotti (DP of this film)mentioned, "The strength of this movie is derived from a very good script", I find the faults in script fail it in several points.

    3.5 out of 5.
     
  13. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I thought Red Dragon was pretty decent. Definitely much better than Hannibal; definitely not as good as Silence.

    The movie flowed pretty well and kept your interest, but never was great. In my opinion, this was basically a Silence of the Lambs II (where as Hannibal wasn't - it was done differently). However, Silence was more captivating, original, and more enjoyable.

    I would give Red Dragon a 3 out of 5.
     
  14. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I though Red Dragon was wonderful, with Fiennes in particular being a standout--I mean, a sunken-chested little Englishman becoming a terrifying vision of power and dread? Now THAT's acting! Fiennes' scene in the Brooklyn Museum is powerful, deranged and unforgettable. My full review is up at http://www.digitallyobsessed.com for those who are interested, but I've got some other comments not included there.
    The main problem is not sticking with the book's vision of Will Graham--who other than his ability to get into the heads of murderers, is an ineffectual creature who is unable to defend his family. Of course, this film comes closer than Manhunter, where he's transformed into a dynamic action hero [​IMG] to the strains of In-a-Gadda-da-Vida. But other than a throwaway line from Lecter, we don't see any of the tortured psyche of Graham, his obsession that puts his family at risk, or the fact that he really might like being in murderers heads....had the script gone there, or Norton more effectively conveyed this, we would have had a film to rank with SOTL. The changed ending really rankled the feminist that I went to see the picture with, and I have to agree with her; the alterations make Graham's wife much less real and more like a puppet. I also missed the dynamics of Graham's family life, with the son being a stepson who resented the replacement of his father. There was a lot of psychological territory that could have been used in a quick scene or two to the film's ultimate benefit.
    The thing that impressed me most was that the prologue with Lecter immediately sets up a pervasive feeling of dread...you have the sensation that this movie has no holds barred.
    One thing that I thought wonderfully well done was the sense that Lecter behind bars is even more dangerous than when he's out on the loose in Hannibal. I didn't expect Ratner to be able to pull this off, but it worked great.
    Red Dragon is in my estimation immeasurably better than Manhunter; stripping the text of the Blake references rendered the 1986 film only another dismal police procedural without much interest beyond Cox's Lecter.
     
  15. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    It was about as good as I expected.
    Fiennes was excellent, and all the scenes with his character were really creepy and unnerving. Same with Hopkins, he managed to give Hannibal an aura of dread and mystique again, after the more in-your-face horror and gore of "Hannibal".
    Actually, all the actors were great, the movie had a good story, and it was technically very, very good. The problem was that it was very "tight" and a bit too square: everything that happened in the movie had the purpose of moving the story forward or setting up later scenes. There wasn't the "airiness" and mood-setting scenes of SotL or even "Hannibal". It's A to B to C to D.
    Other than that, it's a good thriller, with some unexpected plot twists, and not too much gore.
    Grade: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  16. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    ”Haven’t we all seen this before?”. That is the question that immediately comes to mind as one watches the third installment in the Hannibal Lecter franchise.
    If one wants to get technical about it, Red Dragon is not a remake of the Michael Mann 1986 film Manhunter. It is the second adaptation of the source material written by Thomas Harris of the same name much like all the Hamlet films that have been made before. They are not remakes of the William Shakespeare play but are adaptations instead.
    Both films take liberties with the novel. And with both having so many similarities, comparisons are bound to happen.
    Manhunter emphasis is more on the human psyche of a tortured cop and getting into the mindset of a killer. William Peterson as Will Graham becomes a multi-dimensional character and the film is all the more better for it.
    On the other hand, Red Dragon applies a systematic approach to the same material and more or less becomes a derivative of previous cop-chases-a-killer films in terms of its presentation. Usually, with a newer adaptation of the same story, there are good reasons to make it including stronger performances, a styling change and a new vision. In this film, very little of these elements are present.
    Having said that though, I still found Brett Ratner’s version to be good but at the same time adequate at best. I guess the best way to describe this film is that it is an efficient thriller. Had this film been made 15 years or so ago, it would have made a stronger impression. Even its villain is now a reincarnation of other killers from past thrillers. At today’s day and age, we can only admire Red Dragon in its diminished capacity.
    ~Edwin
     
  17. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    I wanted to dislike this film. Going in, I had put all my chips into thinking it was going to be another less than stellar knockoff as Hannibal was. But, I was wrong. Probably more wrong than I have ever been as far as pre-judging a film goes. The first 10 minutes did have me worried, but after that, I was completely sucked in. The tension was tight, the dialogue and interplay were pointed and sharp and the acting was as good as I've seen in some time, Emily Watson in particular. It was familiar territory to be sure and that had potential to diminish the film, but didn't. Take the character of Jack Crawford, now played by Harvey Keitel rather than the familiar Scott Glenn. His character, while being a "repeat" is far more fleshed out and impressive. Glenn's performance was dry and seemingly without emotion. Keitel gave it energy and smarts and the film seemed to soar when he was on screen. Take nothing away from Fiennes or Norton, both convincing and credible, but if Red Dragon had been missing either Keitel or Watson, this film would've been another Hannibal disaster.
    As for Watson, perhaps I have some soft spot for characters who have-how to say this-"special" abilities, because I would rate Watson's performance just a smidge below Samantha Morton in Minority Report. I just could not get over just how affecting and how persuasive Watson's portrayel of Reba is given her somewhat limiting screen time. Perfect casting and she definitely has the chops to pull the character off.
    All in all, one of the best films of the year that I've seen. Plus, just gotta love the last frame [​IMG]
    Red Dragon [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Bruce
     
  18. Eric Wood

    Eric Wood Stunt Coordinator

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    Anthony Hopkins is the only Hannibal the Cannibal, period. Manhunter was not that good of a movie, neither was Hannibal. I hope they come out with a one disk version of Red Dragon with a skip feature to go right into Silence of the Lambs. I give Red Dragon [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] .5/[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] ... Silence of the Lambs [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 3/4/[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Viewed Red Dragon today...10/08
     
  19. Tom-K

    Tom-K Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw this movie yesterday. While I found it watchable, it didn't compare to Manhunter. I thought William Peterson fit the Will Graham persona/role better than Ed Norton. I had a hard time buying in to Norton's character. I tried to have an open mind going in, but I'm not sure if I suceeded. Therefore I will bump it up 1, and give it a 3 out of 5. Just my opinion.
     
  20. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Saw this tonight, good film, better than 'Hannibal', and I prefer it to Manhunter which I was never a big fan of, Tom Noonan was the best thing about that IMO, Ralph Fiennes was very effective in this, Edward Norton was good, Harvey Keitel was miscast I thought, they should have brought back craggy old Scott Glenn as Crawford, now who am I forgetting? I'm forgetting someone important... oh yes Hannibal the Cannibal himself, Anthony Hopkins looking older than ever thanks to the inneffective 'young' makeup applied to him. Hopkins was great as usual, the definitive Hannibal in my opinion, I know Brian Cox has his fans, but Hopkins' Hannibal is one of THE great villains in cinema history.
    Red Dragon gets [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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