Red Dragon – So It Begins

 In all actuality, this is the second telling of the story of Francis Dollarhyde.  It was originally portrayed as “Manhunter”.  I had seen this movie, years ago, and though enjoyable, I feel it is the inferior product.  So all comparisons will be with the movie of the same title.  It has Ed Norton in it, so it’s going to be good.

Poor Francis Dollarhyde has had a pretty rough life.  His mom had him with her drunken musician husband at the time, he had a deformity, and they just sort of left him and forgot about him in a state run home.  He didn’t speak well because of his deformity, the kids treated him poorly, called him “cunt face”, and were…well kids.  They are horrible.

Eventually, his grandma “saves” him, and he lives with her in her scam nursing home.  By then, the find the mom, who has remarried and has three kids.  Two boys, and a girl.  The grandma drops him off, the older kids mess with him, and eventually he ends up back at grandmas.

He grows up, has a surgery at some point which helps with his speech, but he has to wear special teeth (dentures) so that he can be understood, barely.

All this makes him feel ugly.  How he was raised makes him feel inferior.  To counteract that, he works out like a mad man, works on his speech, and is possessed by a dragon.  This started when he saw William Blakes watercolor “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun”.

He also gets a job working where he develops film.  He gets to work alone mostly, and becomes a supervisor.  This helps him with his other hobby, finding families, and ritualistically killing them.

That’s where Will Graham (played by Ed Norton) comes in.  Famed for catching Hannibal Lecter, he is convinced by Jack Crawford to come out of retirement to help catch him, because he sees crime scenes differently, which eventually helps them solve murders.

For the most part, the book and the movie go hand in hand.  Sure, there are a few details in the books not in the movies, but that is how books work.  All the characters are fleshed out better, you get a little more back story with each character, and you get to like them a bit more. Even Freddy Lounds, the Tattler reporter.

I am a big Harvey Keitel fan, so him as Jack Crawford works.  Anthony Hopkins is obviously the show stealer, but has a rather minor part.  Ralph Fiennes is amazing as Mr D, so the casting is spot on.

My one issue is that Anthony Hopkins is too old for the role. By the time “Silence of the Lambs” rolls around, it would make him almost 25 years older than Starling, and that doesn’t add up.  And he doesn’t really look like how the books describe him.  He’s described as having maroon eyes, and his hair style isn’t slicked back, but he has a long comb over.  Very 70’s looking, maybe like Robert Redford.  The TV show gets the hair style right, but I always pictured the hair light, almost as if he was an albino.  How else would you have maroon eyes?  I get the feeling that Thomas Harris just likes that imagery, because in another book, he describes a ginger with maroon eyes. (he does not describe the person as a ginger)

Will Graham has to talk to Lecter, who is also communicating with Mr. D, which leads to a big ending in the book.  The ending was relatively close to the movie, leaving out one major thing, but on a whole, it is close.  The part they left out is an injury to Will, which explains in later books, why they just didn’t find him again, to track him.

This book was a slow starter for me.  I don’t know if it was the dread of the journey, or if the book started as a snoozer (and I had read it before), but at first, I’d read a few chapters, then put it down, so that it took me as long to read this book, as it did the other three combined. (Hannibal Rising took 3 days)  About a third of the way through though, I got my rhythm, and really started to pick up my pace.  And by then, the Coronatine was more real, so maybe that is why.

This was Harris’ first book, so maybe it took him a bit to find his legs, and get moving too.  I really don’t know, but I do know that I read 100 pages to finish it, staying up until the wee hours to do it.  As the books go, this was probably my third favorite, behind “Hannibal Rising”, and “Silence of the Lambs”.  Honestly, they’re all great though, so that shouldn’t hold much weight, just my preference.

As always, you can find me @jaycanchu on Twitter and IG, and maybe Snapchat (that checks out).  I post all sorts of stuff, from art, to reminders of all my great articles you may have missed, to pies, to cats (shout out to Panda, Chloe, and of course Blizzard the Wizard), some comics, to dumb jokes and opinions.

Check out the rest of the #spoilerverse, and you’ll see just how untalented I am compared to the rest of them, from the K Files, to MoonPie, Eli, and the rest of the gang that are too numerous to mention, but I have in said past articles.

I have nothing clever
Mista J                                                     

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