Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The next Hannibal Lector movie, Hannibal Rising, is a prequel to the previous books and films. Notably, Anthony Hopkins is not involved. It will be interesting to see if people remain interested in the character sans the actor.

Weirder is that the novel the movie is based on will hit shelves only two months before the film is released. Author Thomas Harris worked on the book and the screenplay at the same time, which is kind of funny, because I think it took him like ten years to write the first sequel to Silence of the Lambs, when such a book was truly being slavered after.

For the trivia minded, this will mark the third actor to play the role; Brian Cox (as Hannibal “Lecktor”) in Michael Mann’s Manhunter, Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, and Gaspard Ulliel as the young Lector in Hannibal Rising.

For the record, I’ve seen Silence and Manhunter, and that’s it.

Disappointing hundreds of millions of rabid fans, no doubt: “By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero. ... Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn't want to do again soon." – Ben Affleck. Following that logic, but the way, he’d never appear in a movie again, period.

Meanwhile, superhero films remain hot—no doubt helped by the recent breakout TV series Heroes—although the blah results of the latest Superman and X-Men movies (not to mention how awful Ghost Rider looks) indicate that it may, maybe, take more than another hopefully rousing Spider-Man movie to get things going again.

We’ll find out soon. The next Fantastic Four movie is out this summer, and there’s no reason it couldn’t improve on the lackluster first entry. So anyway, 2007 will see Ghost Rider (probably sucks), Fantastic Four 2 (probably decent), and Spider-Man 3 (hopefully terrific). Another sort-of, comic book movie, and a potentially fabulous one, is 300, a film about the Spartans at Thermopylae, as adapted from a Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name.

Meanwhile, there’s another Batman movie in the works, currently set for 2008. That will be a busy year. The summer of 2008 has already been staked out for an Iron Man movie—starring a well-cast Robert Downey Jr.—and a second, presumably more crowd pleasing, Hulk film.

Going more in an action direction, the sequel will pit the Green Goliath against his long-time comic book adversary The Abomination. Whether they will bother trying to bring back the actors from the first movie, like Eric Bana, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, although Wonder Woman was originally meant for a 2007 release (apparently Marvel and DC are alternating years), it hasn’t even been cast, yet, so even if it does get made, that would probably come out in 2008, too. Superman will be returning to the screen again too, via the lead actor and director of Superman Begins, despite that film’s disappointing box office. I assume that film is looking towards a 2009 release date.

Anyway, all of those 2008 films—Batman, Iron Man, Hulk, Wonder Woman—could be pretty good. I figure if two of them manage to be so, that will be about all you could hope for.

Robert Downey Jr., by the way, is pushing himself as a comic book fan as a kid, and says he actually went after the role of Iron Man, but “To tell you the God's honest truth, I'd thrown them all away for [DC WWII war comic character] Sgt. Rock.” (!!)

Downey wisely admits, though, that he fits Tony Stark a lot better than the beefy Rock. By the way, let me again say I’m thrilled that they cast an actor in his early forties to play Stark, and not some kid. He’s also indicated he would be available for sequels, should they be warranted. Presumably Downey’s at the age where he’d like to pull in a few major paychecks while he’s still young enough to star in mainstream movies.

Iron Man will also be featured in an animated original film being released to DVD in January, followed later in 2007 by an animated Dr. Strange film. Presumably Iron Man will be voiced by the same actor who played him in the two earlier Ultimate Avengers movies.

Speaking of Spider-Man 3, CBS is supposedly set to run a commercial/preview trailer for the film this Thursday. No time has been announced, but presumably it will air either during (or between) Survivor and CSI. A trailer (maybe the same thing) will also be available on-line that day.


At 11:03 AM, Blogger David C said...

It's not an original observation, but I've noticed an odd trend in recent "big series" movies, super-hero and otherwise, where the second movie (and perhaps ones after that) are significantly better than the first. Almost like a TV series pilot (or, come to think of it, most comic book first issues these days), where they're still kinda working through what works and what doesn't, which characters are most interesting, spending a lot of time establishing origins and setting, etc.

True of, for instance, Spider-Man, X-Men, Harry Potter, and a couple others I forgot. I suspect the second FF and Superman movies will be better than the first (FF being a mixed bag of stuff that worked great and stuff that just sucked, Superman being on closer inspection more a tribute to the 1978 film than a movie of its own.)

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous ScottM said...

Hannibal was utter crap. The novel was pretty bad, but the movie was just completely stupid.

Red Dragon was better, but I still don't intend to read or watch Hannibal Rising.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I had no idea there was going to another Hannibal flick .. Since it's a prequel, Hopkins is probably too old to do it, but since Harris wrote the screenplay, I'm gonna hold out hope that it won't just suck!

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

David -- I think you're right. The need to portray a comic book character's origin story tends to slow things down a great deal.

Of course, it helps if you actually have a story for the second movie.

One film I will always regret not getting a sequel was Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. The movie was good, but flawed. However, I indeed always had the feeling that they would have knocked the second film out of the
ballpark, had they gotten the chance.

Ah, well.

At 6:11 AM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

Superman Begins?

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you aware that there was a made-for-tv movie pilot sequel to Remo Williams?


I remember watching it on TV when it was first broadcast, but truthfully I remember little about it other than a few images of him continuing his training. That, and that the lead actor was different.

It was pretty forgettable really, which is a shame, because I thought the movie was pretty entertaining myself.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous KurtVon said...

I was intrigued by 300 when I first heard about it, but after seeing the trailer over 80 times all interest has died.

It did lead to an amusing exchange, though.

"I though you said this film was digital."

"It is, see" (pause the computer)

"But it's got film grain."

"Yeah, they desaturated it and added grain with a computer for 'atmosphere'."

"Oh, neat. (pause) But why would you demo that, then?"

". . . I don't know."


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