US Release Date: 02-22-2002
Directed by: Michael Rymer
- Stuart Townsend, as
- Marguerite Moreau, as
- Aaliyah, as
- Vincent Perez, as
- Paul McGann, as
- David Talbot
- Lena Olin, as
- Christian Manon, as
- Bruce Spence as
Marguerite Moreau and Stuart Townsend in Queen of the Damned.
There are three basic categories of people who will want to see this movie, Anne Rice fans, Aaliyah fans and vampire movie fans. Each group will leave the theater with a vastly different impression. Anne Rice fans will be the most disappointed since the movie is only very loosely based on the third novel in the legendary Vampire Chronicles book series. Of course all movies based on books make changes but here they are many and baffling choices. Fans of the late pop star Aaliyah should not go in expecting her to star in the movie as the posters suggest. She actually has relatively little screen time but does manage to satisfy when she is on screen. For those who just love watching blood suckers in action, especially younger fans, The Queen of the Damned should satisfy. It is fast paced, edited like an MTV video and features lots of raucous music and beautiful people, both living and undead.
The plot centers around the vampire Lestat who awakens after napping for more than a hundred years to find himself in a very different world from the one he left. He soon becomes a rock star by turning his lifestyle (or rather un-lifestyle) into a sure fire publicity gimmick. Of course this breaks the time honored code among the night stalkers of keeping in the shadows. He soon has every vampire this side of Transylvania after him including Akasha an ancient Egyptian 'Queen Mother' of all vampires.
The movie is campy fun, full of beautiful people, decent special effects and enough gore to satisfy fans of the genre. Just don't expect to see the novel brought to life or you will be sorely disappointed.
By the way, who knew that even Egyptian vampires speak with Hungarian accents?
Aaliyah in Queen of the Damned.
I can tell you right away which of Patrick's three categories I fall into. I am a HUGE Anne Rice fan and was therefore, as Patrick stated, hugely disappointed with this pathetic attempt at turning what is a great book, into a movie.
I went into the theater expecting to see changes, any movie adapted from a book, inevitably has differences. Even Harry Potter, despite everyone's claims that it was exactly like the book, had some small changes. I was not prepared however to see a movie which kept the character names the same and a few of the basic plot points, but which threw out the entire rest of the book. The changes were so many and so drastic, that I could not focus on the movie in any way.
I think I can best sum up this review by listing just some of the many changes which were made...
1) Jesse and Lestat meet in London and fall in love, in the book they meet only in the final chapter of the book and definitely do NOT fall in love
2) David Talbot is played by a man in his 30's instead of his 70's
3) Lestat is made into a vampire by Marius on an island in the Mediterranean Sea, in the book he is made by Magnus, in Paris.
4) Maharet has a twin sister in the book and it is these two who kill Akasha by eating her heart and her brain. The movie does not end this way.
5) Lestat's mother is no where to be found in the movie, neither is Louis, or Daniel
6) Lestat kills indiscriminately in the movie, and not just the evil doer, as he does in the book.
7) 95% of the back story, telling the history of the vampires is cut from the movie
8) 99% of Jesse's life story is cut from the movie, including her time in New Orleans
9) It is Lestat who makes Jesse into a vampire in the movie and not Maharet as in the book
10) The movie sucks, the book did not.
Whether you will enjoy this movie if you haven't read the book, I don't know. But I can tell you with certainty that if you have read it, stay away from this movie!!!!!!
Vincent Perez as Marius.
Other than that she was a singer who died shortly after this movie was made, I know nothing about Aaliyah. Although I have read Interview with a Vampire, I am not a huge fan of the Anne Rice novels. So that leaves me in the vampire movie fan category.
Like many vampire stories, this one takes liberty with the vampire myth. Whereas the Underworld series shows a weaker vampire, Queen of the Damned has vampires that are far more God-like. They fly about, and move at the speed of light, as well as know things that are happening miles away. Akasha has powers never before seen in a vampire movie. With a wave of her hand she can incinerate another vampire.
Scott complained about the many changes this movie makes to the book. Whereas the changes themselves never bothered me, as I did not know them, I was left with a feeling that many details were missing. The coven of vampires that attack Akasha are not given enough explanation. The relationship of Maharet and Jesse is also vague. I learned in Interview with a Vampire that Rices vampires have long histories and elaborate underground societies. This movie treats vampires as far to common. They have their own bar in London, that anyone may walk into.
Lestat coming out to the world as a vampire is the weakest part of the plot. His motive is to draw out other vampires. I am not sure why? He hangs out at the vampire bar in London. The stupidest scene is when he gives an interview to a large crowd of reporters and one of them seriously asks him if he will draw out other vampires by he himself coming out of the proverbial closet. Or in his case casket. Do these reporters actually think he is a vampire? Later, Jesse remarks that she thought Lestat was just a rocker with a gimmick. The movie is undecided on how the public sees Lestat.
Like the character Batman, the more a vampire is seen and heard the less mythical he becomes. Lestat being a rock star is like Batman telling the world he is Bruce Wayne. I did not like Lestat in this movie. I preferred Marius. He created Lestat for companionship and acted as his teacher. Marius was the guardian of the King and Queen vampire. This movie never said how or why he had that responsibility, but I wanted to know more about him. Lestat is basically just a trouble maker who decides at the last minute to be a hero.
Photos © Copyright Warner Bros. (2002)