TEN SOMEWHAT ADEQUATE SEQUELS : PART TWO
Why it's better
It would be unfair & kinda pretentious for someone to express disapproval in "overusing" Lecter as a character. Sure, he was kinda the Shark in Lambs; most frightening in quick bursts of screen time. So, in a book/film named for him, we can only hope for a kinda superabundance in all things Hannibal. & we maybe kinda sorta more or less do. Most of what we get from him is through character interaction -- glazed with tension, only cause we've already seen Lambs. There are few surprises as to what Lecter's 'world' would be like: lotsa classical music & European settings(!) But what does make it interesting are the characters that inhabit it: sleazy cops & a wealthy disfigured vigilante turn Lecter into the protagonist of a true-to-school horror movie. No kidding! Who wouldn't love that?!
Why it's worse
Yes, it is necessary to compare it to its predecessor(s) -- and not in a George Lucas "they've already made up their minds" kinda way. I crave a good sequel.
However, apart from Tony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter, it ain't no kinda sequel. There's nothing wrong with a change of pace & scenery. But, perhaps one of the most personally painful gaffes in film history is the absence of Jonathan & Jodie. Even - EVEN - if the movie had sucked, it would have been indescribably rad to have the three of them together. I really don't like Ridley Scott, & while Julianne Moore is my favorite actress, this was the weakest performance of her entire career (& that does not derive from my desire to see Jodie Foster in the part). Additionally, I would also choose Ted Tally over Mamet & Zaillian - just for the symmetry of it (and also the fact that polishing each other's scripts only resulted in one shiny writing credit).
So, Ridley's stylized-opera directing & Julianne's stoic acting & forced atmosphere & predictable set pieces are why it's worse.
That, plus, I'm comparing it to Silence of the Lambs.
"Nobody beats the Ris."