It doesn't take a long time to make a strong impression. As the Spanish proverb goes, the love that's half as long is twice as sweet. That's how the viscious yet refined killer Hannibal Lecter became such a popular film icon after The Silence of the Lambs, despite less than 17 minutes of screentime. People may begin by coveting what they see every day, but they become fascinated by that which is offered and then denied.
When NECA offered a version of Hannibal Lecter in Cult Classics Series 5, they were breaking new ground - Lecter (or more specifically, Anthony Hopkins) was one of those magical licenses that McFarlane Toys had told fans for years could "never" be made. That original figure proved popular enough that Hannibal is back in an all-new incarnation. This isn't an official part of Cult Classics 6 - it's just being released as a Cult Classic at the same time CC6 is coming out. Yeah.
One of the complaints about the CC5 figure was that it was just a lump strapped to a gurney. It had the famous mask, but lacked dynamism. You can only be so frightening when you're strapped down, you know? This version certainly corrects that. Taken from the scene in which Lecter escapes the temporary cell set up in the Shelby County Courthouse, this is a much more threatening rendition of Thomas Harris's serial killer creation.
Hannibal has traded in his neon orange pants for an all-white uniform comprising a T-shirt, trousers and plain sneakers.
The shirt is tight, stretching over an aging man's body, and is tucked in at the waist. This allows us to see one of the true-to-life details that would have been easy to overlook: Hannibal isn't wearing a belt. His shoes don't have any laces, either. Those are the things taken away from prisoners to keep them from easily hanging themselves. It wouldn't have looked immediately out of place if the sculpt still had them, but the fact that they were omitted shows a great attention to detail. A good sculpt is about more than wrinkly clothes.
The likeness that was apparently so difficult to get looks amazing. While the sculpt on the first figure was, as we said, "not as 'dead-on' as it could be," this one is closer to Hopkins' real appearance. The fine, thin wrinkles on his face don't make him look too old, but neither does he look like a young man with crow's feet. The hairline, the eyes, the mouth... honestly, everything about this Hannibal edges out the previous Hannibal.
NECA is still having some trouble
with Hannibal's burgeoning bald spot, but they've improved from thir last attempt. On that figure, the thinning hair was depicted by a perfect square of bright pink paint on his crown. Yeah, it was pretty terrible. This time, they actually flattened out the sculpt in that area (since the hair wouldn't be as full, natch) and brushed it lightly with flesh-tone paint. From a distance, it does suggest a bald spot, but it just doesn't work up close. Still, it shows improvement.
Dr. Lecter's head is an even 7" from the ground, though the figure would technically be a little taller, since he has his hand raised above his head. No, he's not asking a question, he's giving Lt. Bill Boyle
a beatdown with his own nightstick. The figure is only intened to be displayed in this one pose, so it only moves at the ankles, left shoulder and neck. No, that isn't a ton of articulation, but can we forgive it because it does such a good job re-creating the scene? Maybe, but it still would have been vastly preferable if the figure had more than one pose.
Since Hannibal has't quite made his escape, yet, he comes with a display base (which is also handy because his feet are too small for his body, and the base has a peg to keep him standing). The base is one corner of his temporary cell, with a hardwood floor, section of rug, and two truncated walls of steel bars. The bars are 8" tall and the floor adds an extra ¼" beneath that.
Lecter's dinner tray lies discarded in the corner,
and it's a full-sculpted piece. The silver serving tray has a folded napkin, a spilled paper cup, and a plate with steak [lamb chops (extra rare) --ed.], potatoes, corn and peas. A pepper shaker is next to the plate - the salt shaker has fallen onto the floor. As have a lighter, a pocket knife, and the guard's keys. Oh yeah, this isn't going to end well.
Other than the aforementioned bald spot, the paint on this figure is really nice. The scattered items
on the base all have several unique paint apps, adding to the realism. The rug is just a big sticker, but some of the floorboards are darker than the others. Hannibal's prison uniform shows what a wash on a white-clad figure is supposed to look like: gray, not blue. The serial number printed on his shirt (B5160-8) is crisp, and his hair is the proper shade (the last figure's was too dark). Hannibal is covered in blood splatter, from his attack on the guard, and that varies from figure to figure. Not wildly, but to a noticable extent. His mouth and chin are bright red, having bitten Sgt. Jimmy Pembry in the neck.
The new Cult Classics Hannibal
Lecter is a step up from the CC5 version in almost every way - the articulation is still lackluster. This is definitely an iconic look and a memorable scene, meaning that all we need now is a box set of Dr. Lecter in his blue jumpsuit, facing off with Agent Starling from behind the plexiglass.
Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his role as the (not so) good doctor, though his name was almost changed to Gideon Quinn. Since the character had appeared in 1986's Manhunter, producer Dino De Laurentiis owned the cinematic rights to them. And as Manhunter was mostly a flop, he let the new production use the names for nothing. Now Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lector is one of the most recognizable villains in movie history, and with CC6, NECA allows you to put one of his most vicious moments on your shelf.