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Author Topic: Manhunter vs. Red Dragon
Devolution
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Devolution here,

While the concept of Manhunter was years before Silence of the Lambs (in my all time top 10) I would like to say that I watched Manhunter for the first time yesterday. Petersen was good in the Ed Norton role and basically these movies were very similar. The problem of course is trying to think of the things in the movie without truly realizing how nuts Hannibal Lecter is. That takes away from the movie in total. Red Dragon is in fact a far superior movie, from story development, to Hopkins, to much better movie production. A NOTE: The Editing at the end of Manhunter is dreadful.

All in all, a good movie, but shouldn't be thought of as great.

We are DEVO

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Earl Keese
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Devolution - I am definitely in the polar opposite camp on this one...but I do agree with you on most of your points at the same time. The only thing that got me was when you said "Petersen was good in the Edward Norton role...". Oh man, a stake to the heart!

Now here are the points where I think you are dead on. Yes, they were very similar in that they were both pretty faithful to the source material Thomas Harris' Red Dragon novel. Yes, the editing at the end appears to have been turned over to an executives twelve year old which is very bizarre for a Michael Mann movie, but that's about where I diverge.

No, it is not because Brett Ratner the director of Red Dragon epitomizes the vacancy that is a majority of the movie industry today (hooray for Rush Hours 1-3! Where would we be without them?!) and no, it is not because this was just another embarrassing attempt to simply cash in on the flavor of the day (you just know the accountants have a rubber stamp for pitches like this).

Rather, I think for me it's because where Manhunter had a sparsness and I guess a patience in unfolding the story, Red Dragon just seemed so void of any real emotion right from the start. I like Norton, but aside from Amercian History X he has always just been pretty servicable but no big deal really. I will say that while Ralph Fiennes did a pretty good job as Dolarhyde, I could never divorce myself every time he walked on screen from saying "Hey! Looky there! It's Ralph Fiennes!" Whereas when I first watched Manhunter back in the 80's, I had no idea who Tom Noonan was and he was sufficiently creepy. I think Red Dragon could have serviced itself well to find an unknown for the role, but you know "hey we got Ralph Fiennes! Why wouldn't we put him in?! Hey isn't that a kitchen sink over there too? You kid! Grab that!" ...but i digress.

I will say that I liked Philip Seymore Hoffman in his role more than in the original, but a lot of the rest were trade-offs, no better or worse for who was in them.

I do agree with your closing "All in all, a good movie, but shouldn't be thought of as great." You're right there...good...not great. But Red Dragon "far superior"?...(shakes his head)..."oh mama"...
[Wink]

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ReggieBelmont
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Well, I haven't seen "Red Dragon" but I did see Ratner's X-Men 3 and that's enough to keep me from wanting to run out and watch it.

As for "Manhunter", geez, I remember picking up the VHS at the local video store thinking I'd get something similar to Mann's work on "Miami Vice". I guess that really affects how you see this movie, whether you view it expecting a straight-on cop drama or a psychological thriller. If you're expecting something like SOTL, it's a disappointment.

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aTomiK
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HavenŽt seen Red Dragon but i like Manhunter very much.
IŽd choose Mann over Ratner anytime.

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Devolution
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Devolution here,

Earl, Manhunter is the only one of the series that I didn't see in the movies. I think that Red Dragon's opening scene truly makes the viewer understand that Norton was a very good cop and had to deal with someone that was really, really sick in the head.

I don't think that Petersen's walk in the supermarket with his son truly captured the intensity that the actual scene brought, because the other movies set up the fact that you knew that Lecter could have eaten him.

As for Fiennes, I do agree that it just looks like him, but Noonan I just felt was in movie for too short a time and the character dies too quickly.

I don't know, I do like your points though.

We are DEVO

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Earl Keese
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Interesting...I only vaguely remember the supermarket scene and certainly not in enough detail. I am going to sit down and watch these two back to back which should be fun to see what i can pick out of both that I like/dislike. The only other time I sat down for an original/remake back to back viewing was for The Fog a couple of years ago...yes you could probably write what I thought of the remake compared to the original!

I have always "noticed" something completely off about the end of Manhunter and I am glad you said something because it was always one of those things where nobody else is saying anything about it, so am I just imagining this or maybe I don't get it or something.

I read an article in the 20th anniversay issue of Empire magazine guest edited by Steven Speilberg and there was a section where directors asked him questions and one of them actually brought up this scene in Jaws that had always bothered me as well where Hooper holds up an arm during an autopsy and the sound track says "...this is what happens." and then it continues on with the scene and I was always like "Huh?" and this is a lot like that!

You just know that Mann didn't get to finish editing or the studio changed it or pulled it from him, there has got to be some kind of story there because you're right, it is just too weird.

I look forward to this now and will let you know what I pick up.

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journey
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Sorry, but no way. Red Dragon does not hold a candle to Manhunter. I'll grant you that Manhunter is not without some flaws, but Red Dragon is just plain terrible. Ralph Fiennes is a horrible choice to play Dolarhyde. He does an adequate job in the humanizing scenes where we're supposed to sympathize with his introversion, social-akwardness, etc. but he has absolutely no credibility trying to be scary and intimidating. In the book Dolarhyde is supposed to be this huge guy who is freakishly strong (hence the scene where he lifts Freddy off the ground with one arm or the end where Graham gets tossed around like a ragdoll and has to unload all his explosive rounds into the guy just to bring him down). And Edward Norton? God, give me a break. He made Ralph Fiennes look like he was delivering the best performance of his career by comparison. Norton seems like he's sleep-walking through the whole film and some of his line deliveries were so hokey I actually laughed out loud. William Peterson was SO much better as Graham. Manhunter had great atmosphere - a combination of minimalist acting, that slow-to-build pacing, Miami Vice-like color-awash neo-noir cinematography and a great moody synth score. Red Dragon just looked and sounded like every other movie. I think the thing working against Manhunter is the success of The Silence of the Lambs. People are so familiar with that film's tone and style - and Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Hannibal Lector - that Manhunter's unique style just seems too disconnected. But then, Manhunter came first, so it's not really fair to discredit it for not following the same approach as its sequel. I did like that Red Dragon tried to include the scene from the book where Graham captures Lector, but then they went ahead and rewrote the whole thing for the worse, I think.
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Dexter Motley Morgan
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Red Dragon over Manhunter anyday. I saw Red Dragon first. I had heard so much about Manhunter on here I bought a used copy off ebay. After watching I was slightly disappointed to say the least. I can see both sides though. I just can't put my finger on why I didn't like Manhunter. Maybe it was after hearing so many good things and over-expecting......
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Charlie Sheen
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I saw Manhunter way, way before I saw Silence of the Lambs, and liked it straight off (it was years before I warmed to SotL, and that was really largely thanks to reading the novel). Red Dragon I watched once, and never revisited - I always sort of got the feeling it was made solely to satisfy Anthony Hopkins' fans' sense of continuity, so they'd have a Lector trilogy that didn't involve having to grasp the concept of Brian Cox playing the part.
I always preferred Brian Cox's Lector, anyway; it's less showy than Hopkins gothic portrayal, and he's horribly malicious in the way he efficiently uses a single phone call to get all of Graham's personal details and set him up for the kill.
Tom Noonan as Dollarhyde blows Fiennes off the screen, and Edward Norton as Graham is pretty much a non-event (and tricking the homicidal maniac with a hackneyed bit of cod psychology at the climax was a big let-down).

I seem to remember Anthony Hopkins, in the wake of the Michael Medved Hollywood vs. America debate, expressing grave misgivings about the glorification of violence in films, and vowing to never again portray Dr. Hannibal Lector. I guess by that he actually meant "give me a big enough cheque and I'll eat Ray Liotta's brain".

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Kash
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I enjoyed both.

Mann's mis-en-scene was more in keeping with the time: crisp, sparse and stylised an aesthetic style he'd go onto perfect in later years. Ratner, though a recognised hack, didn't drop the ball either and I particularly liked the way he handled that scene where Hannibal Lector discovers and divulges Will Graham's whereabouts. Anthony Hopkins's Dr. Lector is more theatrical and grandiose in his movements and manner; ideally suited to the sprawling canvas of Red Dragon and the films before. Whereas Brian Cox's Dr. Lektor has an unthreatening nonchalance about him, and its only when you look at him closely that you catch a glimpse of the homicidal madness lurking just below the surface.

Both actors were excellent in different ways and what Red Dragon lacks in some parts Manhunter makes up for in others, and vice versa. William Peterson and Ed Norton are two actors I have a great deal of respect for: Norton got Graham's disillusion down to a tee whilst Peterson showed moments of dangerous vulnerability which made his character all the more real, and increased the sense of danger, as he got closer to cracking the case.

Its been a while since I've seen 'Manhunter' so I'll have to purchase a copy soon.

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