Damn my cursed memory.
I can't remember too much about Anne Rice's novels, #'s 2 & 3 in The Vampire Chronicles, The Vampire Lestat & Queen of the Damned. I think I remember liking them some what, but not too much else.
So this movie comes out, Queen Of The Damned, based on both those books really, despite it being named for only one of them, and I don't know where to lay blame. Is the movie flawed for not following the books, or are the flaws directly related to the books. I'm pretty sure the books were much better than the movie.
There's a lot to complain about here, the biggest obvious complaint is how lowly of a film this is compared to it's predecessor, Neil Jordan's take on Anne Rice's on own script for Interview With The Vampire, a movie that I think was really great in and of itself, and in the top three vampire movies specifically. But if Interview was in the Merchant Ivory league of vamp flicks, Damned is definitely of the MTV league, all style and very little substance. That's not to say that I didn't like the style, obviously as a vampire aficionado, I really liked the look of the movie. Call me crazy, stupid, or just plain pathetic, I like the whole vampire look. I like the pale skin, the semi-Victorian clothes, the dark hair, and yeah, call me sick and twisted and hopelessly perverted, but blood on a fem-vamp's lips is quite the turn on.
Here's another big complaint, this movie just does not seem to be any sort of continuation of Interview. It just doesn't seem to logically follow it at all, and I may be nit-picking, but Stuart Townsend's casting as Lestat de Lioncourt kinda bugs me too.
Don't get me wrong, he did a good job, but this guy replaces Tom Cruise, and like it or not, Tom Cruise is a good actor. Besides, there was all this noise when he was cast as Lestat in the first movie, and how Lestat was blond, and Cruise looked weird with a dye job, etc. Well, here Lestat's a brunette (can a guy be a "brunette"?), so it was all for not.
Then there's Vincent Perez playing Marius. Again, my memory is very bad, but I'm pretty sure he was written as a noble, well respected man in the books, if a bit of a loner. Well here Perez plays him way too over the top for my taste. I mean, I know Anne Rice is all about homo-eroticism, and I really don't think I'm a homophobe at all, but Perez played Marius as if he was freaking Paul Lynde.
(Well there's an obscure reference from left field.)
Marguerite Moreau plays Jessie, a sort of paranormal investigator who's drawn to Lestat. I like Moreau. I liked her here, as her appearance and her performance were both very nice. I recently saw her in Wet Hot American Summer, and she was good there too. I hope her roles get better though, as her next role will be on a Sci Fi Channel mini-series, Firestarter: Rekindled, in which I THINK she plays a a grown up version of Drew Barrymore's character from the original.
An actor named Matthew Newton is credited as playing Armand in this film, and I only mention it because I feel the original Armand, Antonio Banderas, was the weakest link in Interview, but hell, in this movie, I couldn't even tell you who Armand was, so that show's you the importance of the character here.
Claudia Black, a woman who I think is strikingly attractive despite being rather unattractive is credited as playing Pandora. Now I dunno, but in this movie Pandora seemed like quite the throwaway character, and I actually felt kinda bad for Claudia because she got so little screen time, BUT, like Armand, Pandora got her own book in the Vampire Chronicles, so I don't know what to tell you…
Then of course there's Aaliyah.
I'm sorry, I mean no disrespect, and I truly was sorry to hear of her untimely and tragic death, but when I heard that she had been cast as Akasha, the queen of the vampires, well I was more than a little disappointed. I can't sit here and tell you who I would have preferred, because I don't know, but I just knew she was wrong for the part. And it really had nothing to do with here race, even though I feel there is a significant difference between an African American and an Egyptyian. I just didn't think she fit the role, and I'm sorry, I stand by that opinion. Did she do a bad job? No, not really, but it could have been a better fit. In fact, the entire character could have been handled better.
I do think it's kind of sad that this poor girl's legacy will involve this role, this movie. I hope people remember her for her music and her sweet smile, and not for this movie, or even her last movie, but I never saw it, so I'll just leave it at that…
So all I've done so far is criticize this movie, but I can't say I didn't really like it.
I can't even say I was that disappointed because I knew going in it wasn't gonna be too great, and I already had the misgivings about Aaliyah.
But like I said, in general I like the look of the movie, and it had one really great aspect… the music!
Jonathan Davis, lead singer of Korn, co-wrote the music for this film, and it fucking rocks! A lot of his part was for the songs that the now rock star Lestat performs in the movie, and it basically sounds like Korn, but with a darker, more supernatural edge. Halfway through the movie I had made a mental note to go pick up the soundtrack. Well as I write this I haven't picked it up yet, but it's definitely a rocking soundtrack indeed.
So no, Queen of the Damned is not a very good movie, but if you like vampires, it's pretty much a must.