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Anthony Hopkins reprises his Oscar-winning role as the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter in this thrilling prequel. After capturing Dr. Lecter, FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) retires - only to be called back to active duty to hunt down an elusive killer, "The Tooth Fairy" (Ralph Fiennes).
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This film has more scenes with Lecter than you'll find in Harris' novel but that isn't a bad thing. A Lecter film with only two or three Hopkins scenes wouldn't be sufficiently engaging for audiences.
Ralph Fiennes does well to portray Francis Dolarhyde as reprehensible and terrifying yet vulnerable. Props to the man for effectively making a serial killer a sympathetic villain.
Highly recommended for fans of Silence of the Lambs who felt Hannibal was lacking.
I gave it four stars figuring that for the non-reader this movie would satisfy.
I would give it three stars for the book reader. The Red Dragon is excellent and with the cast they have, they didn't need to put so much extra Hannibal. I guess the were afraid people would be disappointed without Sir Anthony dominating the movie. They should have taken a chance. The story holds your attention and with only bits of Hannibal in it, they would have enticed people even more with him.
There's also (at least to me) some miscasting: Edward Norton really tries, for the most part he pulls it off but I guess after reading the book I saw his character as a good bit older. Ralph Fiennes, while a very good actor in his own right and he really tries, was not as physically imposing as the character in the book. That's not to say none of the casting was any good, Phillip Hoffman's Freddy Lounds and Emily Watson's Reba McClane were both excellent!
The sets, scenes and special effects were good, quite well done in fact. It also follows pretty closely to the book, which is A Good Thing because Thomas Harris knows gruesome well.
Overall, reasonably entertaining.