Who whetted our appetites for consumption best?
Gaspard Ulliel is an actor/model from France. I shall jump the gun and let you know he loses this category.
Decision: Truly, this is a tough one. It’s easier to pick the loser here, as I did above. Mads Mikkelsen is on his way to a fine career, but he cannot match his elders. The race boils down to two actors I have an immense amount of respect for. Cox and Hopkins duke it out, both worthy of this round with laundry lists of performances. Only one is in Madame Tussauds and only one can rightfully be addressed as ‘Sir’.
Round goes to Sir Phillip Anthony Hopkins (by a manicured wax figure hair)
Connection to Source Material
TRICK CATEGORY. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a character based on the character from Thomas Harris’ novel, Red Dragon and his subsequent sequels Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and the 2006 Hannibal Rising. Here’s the trick – while the book sequels’/corresponding movies may have their flaws and detractors, they were written as part of the larger story, an extension. They may have been capitalizing on successes of past film adaptations, no doubt, but were at least meant as extensions of the crazy story.
That is not what Hannibal Rising was in either literary or movie form. That’s the one with Gaspard Ulliel, actor/model, and was Hannibal’s origin story. Because that’s what we wanted – a sympathetic backstory. Here’s a wonderfully incredulous book review from 2006 when the book came out. The book was clearly written for the movie. The motivations behind the writing may very well have been Harris’ nervousness on being in control of any prequel. Who knows. It was weird. And Gaspard Ulliel is… no. But, the connection is undeniably explicit. The TV series draws immense praise as a wonderful adaptation of the source material – I agree – but the real fun will be as it progresses into the… ok no spoilers, go watch that show, it’s remarkable.
Decision: Ulliel backs into a win. Threw him a bone. He has a silly name and is French. These other actors would eat him alive. <rimshot>
Round goes to Gaspard Ulliel (even a blind cannibal finds a toe, or something)
Decision: Mads wins. Impeccably dressed with impeccable hair, this was an easy one. Though he may have to adapt to some new attire eventually…
Round goes to Mikkelsen (the man’s got style)
Not really a smile, but still unsettling (does he smile in this movie? I don’t think so.)…
Yup, that’s very disturbing…
… Nope, there it is. Nightmare juice. I even found one that moves to fully disturb you. Winner winner ‘chicken’ dinner. Excuse me while I change me pants.
Decision: I distinctly remember the first time I watched Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins’ smile/teeth chatter thing is to this day one of the creepiest things floating around in my head. Don’t look at that picture too long, you’ll start shuddering.
Round goes to Hopkins (in a landslide.) I’m creeping myself out thinking about him smiling saying “faaaaavaaaaa beans.”
Most Likely to Succeed
Round goes to the viewer, because Hannibal lives on.
This is a tricky category. Excluding Ulliel’s Hannibal Rising because it turned the monster into a confused emo puppy, the other three actors have very, very different types of traits that make them utterly terrifying. There may be contention in this category because much will boil down to personal choice – heck, maybe Hannibal Wentz scares you because you’re scared of that type of music. Take your argument elsewhere.
Brian Cox has the steely, gruff psychotic doctor that is scary with a sort of brutal intensity. His Hannibal is the one you’d probably be most uneasy about if you ran into him on the street.
Lingering Psychological Effects
While Hannibal Rising may have left some viewers traumatized they spent money to watch that movie in theaters (it had a big opening weekend), the angsty, love-lorn, vengeance seeking people-eater had not fully honed his craft.
Cox was one-and-done, but made an indelible mark on the franchise for sure. In his film, he had already wrecked havoc on Will Grahams life, and the agent goes back to what is surely an un-peaceful retirement.
Mikkelsen’s Hannibal is a sociopath in addition to his his being a psychopathic cannibal – taking his effects far beyond just eating people. Again, I do not want to spoil the plot for those who have not seen the show. Suffice to say yes, he eats people, yes, but he also manipulates them in such extreme ways, with such extreme and measured coolness, you will find yourself questioning the motives of everyone around you. It’s messed up. This additional aspect of his madness helped him win the category above, you see.
So we arrive at Sir Anthony Hopkins. I’ve mentioned that I never quite got over seeing his whole smile/sucking in air thing, it’s absurdly weird and disturbing in and out of context. His Hannibal had more movies to mess with Clarice Starling (and in Hannibal, the 1999 novel, it gets really, really messed up). He ruins Edward Norton. He emotional wrecks both Jodie Foster and Julianne Moore.
However, this argument boils down to one scene. One scene messing with not only the character’s, but the viewer’s brainspace.
He makes Ray Liotta eat his own brain. Yikes.
Decision: It is ridiculous, yes. It is disturbing. Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Lecter provides the most demented scene of the franchise… but just give Bryan Fuller some time.
Round goes to Sir Anthony Hopkins, with a side of fava beans
THE WINNER: Sir Anthony Hopkins.
(For now. Mads is on the rise, and the show has a plan)