Queen of the Damned (2002) Michael Rymer

Production Budget: $35 million
Worldwide Gross: $45 million

I liked Interview with the Vampire (both the book and the movie).  It was a good attempt at expanding the vampire mythos and had an interesting perspective.  Rice’s other books however were (in my opinion of course) increasingly outlandish and terrible.  Interview is about a vampire named Louis who is basically giving some random journalist his biography.  Louis was created by Lestat to be a companion.  They had their differences but for the most part we follow Louis.  Lestat though, kind of had a Boba Fett effect, where fans thought him a badass and the coolest character.  So subsequently the rest of the series had more Lestat in it.

What is odd about Queen of the Damned is how strange the tone of the movie is.  I mean, just listen to this plot for a sec.  A vampire gets fed up with life so he goes into basically a comatose state.  He is woken up because he loves rock music and joins a band.  His gimmick is proclaims to the world he is a vampire which people oddly enough just buy into.  He doesn’t show his powers or eat people in public.  Lestat just says he’s a vampire and everyone just accepts it and asks him earnestly what it is like.  Is there a word worse than gullible?  Anyway this is a big no no in vampire society because their life is built upon living in shadows.  Lestat has a big concert which is basically an invitation for the pissed off vampires to rip him apart.  Lestat’s sire , Marius, and the oldest vampire known Akasha (Aaliyah) are also intrigued by the actions of Lestat.

That plot sounds really campy doesn’t it?  A metal vampire trying to deliver the most badass concert of all time?  All you need to complete the package is a rock off with Satan.  Yet that’s strange when you switch between that and a more straight faced look at Lestat’s origins.  As a result, the movie as a whole suffers from the bipolar tone.  The story wants to be straight but everyone camps it up like you wouldn’t believe.

The plot is okay but gets dull in the middle.  You have the setup of Lestat creating this concert to basically be a troublemaker and the obvious end is at the concert.  The middle is just padded out with a bunch of Lestat’s acquaintances coming to him going “You know this is a bad idea right?”  We also get a terrible subplot involving a woman named Jessica who is part of an order of paranormal watchers.  Basically she is a Lestat groupie who falls for Lestat in the same way my girlfriend swoons over Edward Cullen.  For being a paranormal investigator, she knows fuck all about vampires and who despite wanting to be one, gets shocked by the fact vampires eat people (surprise surprise).  This side plot is one big waste of time.

The finale comes about when Akasha saves Lestat and wants him to be her vampire king.  Apparently she admires his big vampire balls for standing up to all of vampire society.  This part of the movie really felt rushed.  They needed a main antagonist but they don’t really spend any time building her up.  I’m sure in the book they do but it’s like they were concerned with keeping it around 90 minutes.

Stuart Townsend is not that good as Lestat.  He has the look of a punk rocker vamp but I don’t necessarily buy him as the character in the previous movie.  Townsend camps it up and you could argue that is the character of Lestat but I think differently.  Tom Cruise did a good job of making Lestat a lovable, arrogant, cocky little prick.  Townsend opts just to ham it up.  The movie was slightly affected by the fact prior to the film’s release Aaliyah died.  To her credit, as far as singer turned actors go, she isn’t too bad (of course she only had two roles to judge from).  Here she does an alright job as this sexy black widow of a vampire.  Her accent is cringe worthy but thankfully she doesn’t say too much.  My big disappointment is with Vincent Perez who is a great but underused actor (you may just know him from Crow 2).  He is alright but doesn’t really have much to work with.  Special note: Claudia Black is in this movie all of two seconds before getting killed.

This movie just feels small both in its budget and in its scope.  It’s hard to get into it because the story wants to be straight but you have hammy dialog and actors all camping it up.  There are few bits here and there that I liked and which keep me from saying it flat out sucks but this is not a good movie.

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