a critiQal film review Queen of the Damned (2002)

Plot: Lestat (Townsend) is a vampire. He's gotten bored and lonely with living forever, and has been sleeping for quite a while. Now he's awoken to a changed world, and something he loves: music. He becomes a rock star and dares other vampires to show themselves to the world, as he has done. Meanwhile, the Queen of the Undead, Akasha (Aaliyah), rises again. But is she coming to destroy Lestat, or join him?

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  • ...if you've seen Interview With A Vampire, this film will only disappoint.

Following the commercial success of Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), it was almost inevitable that another of Anne Rice’s vampire stories would make it to the big screen. Combining her novels The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned, Queen Of The Damned seeks a baser audience than Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) did, and becomes just another horror/slasher flick.

It was sad to see Aaliyah (Romeo Must Die (2000)) have to make this movie her last appearance (Aaliyah died shortly after filming this). There seemed to be a potential for her making a run as an actress after Romeo Must Die (2000), but this movie doesn’t let Aaliyah act. She just has to walk around hissing and flicking her fingers a lot. That’s about it.

Townsend, as Lestat, doesn’t hold a candle to Cruise’s Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) Lestat. He’s okay, but doesn’t seem to exude that vampiric effect as Cruise did.

All of the other characters are little more than bit characters, and don’t appear onscreen much at all. Moreau (Jesse Reeves in this film) does do a little bit of acting, but not too much. The camera’s eye is mostly fixated on Lestat (Aaliyah doesn’t even put in an appearance until halfway into the movie).

The plot was okay, but the way it was played out was what did the major damage. Almost half the movie seemed to be little more than back story, which was a bit boring. I think the studio made a major mistake in combining the two books into one movie. Separate them, pay attention to what happens in each, and the movies would be much more enjoyable.

This movie’s plot had the feel of someone just jotting notes on a napkin – hastily done, and a bit of a disconnection between scenes. The whole “love story” between Jesse and Lestat, for example. You don’t really have a firm grasp of why Jesse is so taken by Lestat, and lose interest in the movie even further.

The special effects were pretty much the only redeeming part of this film, mostly in the fire sequences and the after-image effect (showing the vampires moving faster than the human eye). Special effects do not a movie make, however.

I think the major problem with this movie is Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994). If that hadn’t come out first (with a lot of major names, including Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, and Antonio Banderas), you wouldn’t find yourself comparing the two so often. For example, Townsend’s Lestat would stand up better with no previous Lestat to compare him to.

If you are going to see this film, watch it before you see Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994). You’ll enjoy this movie more, and Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) will seem just that much better.

If you have seen Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), skip this Queen of the Damned.

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