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3.4 out of 5 stars
Queen of the Damned
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2002
I think people went into this movie thinking that they would hate it. Especially some fans. I'm an Anne Rice fan and I'll say this: it doesn't follow the book completely, but I liked it quite a bit.
To sum it up, Queen of the Damned is actually made up of the second and third books of the Vampire Chronicals consisting of chunks from both Queen of the Damned and The Vampire Lestat. It may be called Queen of the Damned, and the posters focus on Akasha, but it really is about Lestat (which is what Queen was about anyway.)
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this movie, but went into it with an open mind. I liked Interview, but didn't care for the choice of Tom (over the top) Cruise as Lestat. The choice of Stewart Townsend was WELL casted as he slithers about reeking of sexuality, just like Lestat; too bad he wasn't the original choice for Interview.
In terms of the storyline, to incorporate or base a movie on both books is a difficult task that can fail and unfortunately, it did in some areas. From reading the negative reviews about QOTD, too much was incorporated into the storyline without explaining the background of each (i.e., Akasha is the first of the vampire bloodline and when her life ceases to exist, so do all the vampires created beneath her.) Stuff like this is never explained and anyone who has never read the books can understandably be confused.
I was more excited by seeing the characters I became so familiar with come to life, but we are only focusing on specific characters in this flick. Namely, Akasha, Marius, Lestat, Jesse and Maharet. All the others are present, but most of them don't even have a single line. Vampires such as Mael, Armand and Pandora are present, but have such a small screen presence that it is disappointing considering they had larger roles in the books. Also, the movie is heavily edited. In the beginning, when Lestat comes across the band "Satan's Night Out" the shots go immediately from "You're a Vampire? LOL!" to "Are you going to kill us?" Obviously there was a chunk of conversation cut out from them to laugh at him and then be frightened of him -- it's illogical. These are probably going to be on the DVD later. Methinks they should have obviously done two movies and both books, but the "need" for bang-em-up scenes led to skipping the second book and doing the third. Somewhat disappointing there as I feel the storyline suffered.
The storyline is choppy, but the visuals are just stunning. We're not talking Matrix-like effects of jumping and such, but imagery, setting the tone of the movie, sets and glowing eyes... I really felt like I was seeing the world of vampires through theirs. It reminded me of a really good Goth video and I found myself really pulled in. On another note, if you're into heavier Korn-type music you will definitely get a blast out of the soundtrack.
All in all, I was really pleased with this. I went into this movie knowing that to capture the whole storyline would be impossible and understanding that artistic licenses would be taken. With that in mind, any fan with this attitude would enjoy this movie for the creation it's become. Give it a shot -- you might be surprised how much you like it.
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72 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2003
*sigh* Where to begin? When Interview with the Vampire (the movie) came out when I was in sixth grade, I was immediately hooked, and I devoured the original 4 Vampire Chronicle books one after the other. I fell in love with Lestat, I felt Louis' was wonderful. When I heard they were making a movie version of Queen of the Damned, I was glad, yet surprised, because The Vampire Lestat (book 2) is actually my favorite of the series, and I would have liked to have seen that as a movie. Now begins my rant.
There's plenty of things I could say about this movie doing no justice to the feel and/or deep and layered plot of the book. However, since it is a movie and not the book, I'll try not to get that specific (i.e., Marius didn't make Lestat, but that doesn't make that much of a difference...does it?) What really [ticked] me off about this is that instead of taking one book's plot and trying to fully develop and explain the story, they shoved a bunch of [junk] into ninety minutes and made it loud, shiny, and polished. And let's not forget the kung fu.
1) I loved Tom Cruise as Lestat, but...Stuart Townsend was hot. I'll admit it. He played the modern Lestat quite well, and I'm willing to say that his hair is *dark* blond. That doesn't quite make up for his brown eyes, however. :)
2) Aaliyah. Not bad; she certainly looked pretty, but what was up with that stupid Hungarian accent? And she had basically no character development, which brings me to
3) NO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!! The only reason I recognized half of the "ancients" in the movie was by their costumes, because God forbid we should actually mention their names!!
4) Why did we have to have that stupid "romance" [stuff]? Can't we just accept Lestat as being androgynous/bisexual and not give him a little teenybopper girlfriend?
5) This wasn't even good as a plain old "vampire" movie. They used the same crap we've seen hundreds of times before. "This is how you become a vampire. This is what you do as a vampire. I love you, but you're a mortal. No, I cannot bring you into my world. Well, now that you're dying, I guess I can." And so on.
6) The soundtrack is rather well done.
So in closing, PLEASE, I implore you, do not base your like/dislike of the Vampire Chronicle BOOKS on seeing this one film. As another reviewer said, READ THEM. READ THEM NOW. They are fascinating. They are better than this movie. This movie is pretty. But it is not good.
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2002
What an awful adaption of a wonderful book. Pretty much everything important to plot and character development is chucked for this MTV style borefest. And so many questions! Why does the french Lestat have a Hungarian accent? Why is the 30 year old Jesse a teeny-bopper who dresses like Britney Spears? Where is Louis, Lestat's REAL love interest? Why does Lestat wear eyeshadow that makes him look like he has two black eyes? Since when is Marius Lestat's maker? Why does Armand look like a freaky she-man creature? Pandora dies?! Where is Maharet's twin, Mekare? Akasha was black rather than Egyptian?
I did not recognize this story at all. The characters were comical cartoons of what they are in the book and the first film. Townsend has not the slightest clue who Lestat is. He would have done well to take some cues from watching Tom Cruise's performance in Interview With the Vampire. Perez is entirely too young to be Marius. A gross case of miscasting there. What's more, who ever understands a word he says? And Jesse as the lovestruck fan of Lestat may be the worst crime of all. Jessica Reeves is a mature, brilliant scholar who hardly has a romantic interest in Lestat. OR vice versa. I realize Hollywood prefers to shy away from homosexual overtones in mainstream films, but COME ON! That's part of what made the books so interesting to read! The relationships were not based on sexual attraction, but attraction of the mind and soul. Aalyah is the best part of the film, but even she is most times reduced to machine-like behavior and lines so cliche it made me flinch. The soundtrack is good. Buy it instead of this worthless film. If you want to see a film that sticks closely to the novels, get Interview With the Vampire.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2002
This movie was positively terrible. I am a big Anne Rice, and except for the fact that they were some of the same characters, it had nothing to do with the book. HOW CAN THEY DO THAT??!!! they should have just madea different movie and had some similarities. at least then i would be an alright movie. I HATED THIS MOVIE!!! I am now going to tell you why it is so bad.
First of all, Stuart Townsend did play a good Lestat, but first they have to get his story straight. MARIUS DID NOOOOT MAKE HIM!!! Lestat was about a century old before he even met Marius. a renegade vampire name Magnus made Lestat.
Next, Akasha is not so powerful that she can be awake during the day. Lestat definitely can't. No matter how powerful you are, even if the sun doesn't affect you, all vampires sleep in the daytime.
And how could they leave out so many characters?? Like Lestat's two fledglings, Gabrielle and Louis(from Interview with the Vampire). How could they leave out Marius' two fledglings, Armand and Pandora. What about Armand's fledling, Daniel? Maharet's two feldglins Mael and Eric, and by the way, Maharet made Jesse, and before Akasha even came!!! All of these characters were in the book, AND then finally they killed Akasha wrong. Maharet's twin, Mekare, came and killed her, and ate her heart and brain, making her the new Queen of the Damned. AAAHHH!! and then there are numerous other slip-ups! any anne rice fan, do NOT go to see this. no matter how much you wanna judge it by urself, u will be so irritated. i know that i am!!
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84 of 111 people found the following review helpful
Literary adaptations are a tricky thing at the best of times, but "Queen of the Damned" is to "Lord of the Rings" what Ziploc bags are to fine china. Adapted from Anne Rice's novel of the same name, "Queen" is overstuffed, flashy, disjointed, and sure to offend Rice's die-hard fans.

The Vampire Lestat is back. Only now Lestat (Stuart Townsend) has awakened and joined a nu-metal band, becoming a universally adored rock star -- and proclaims to the world that he wants vampires to not hide anymore. Needless to say, this proclaimation makes him hotter than ever among humans, but irks his fellow vampires no end.

But his music is more than popular -- it somehow wakes the ancient Egyptian vampire Akasha (Aaliyah), who is the mother (or grandmother, or great-grandmother...) of all vampires. Akasha is incredibly powerful, able to walk out in the sun and burn her enemies alive. And she's besotted with Lestat -- except that he learns that she is more evil and destructive than he dreamed.

Despite being described as a sequel to "Interview With the Vampire," "Queen" is a whole different animal. Rather than a sumptuous Old-World look, there's a pyrotechnic MTV look that makes the whole movie look dated already. It certainly doesn't help that the filmmakers also cram in half of Rice's second novel as well as all of her third. It makes the movie feel like it's about to explode.

Forget for a second about whether it was adapted faithfully or not. Instead, note that Scott Abbott's scripting is atrocious. Since Rice reportedly offered to do the script for free, it's a shame that they didn't take her offer -- surely she could've done better than "Boo!" "Boo back!". And fans of MTV-derived direction will love the handling of it, though director Michael Rymer tries to cover up his lack of talent with flash and fire.

Stuart Townsend (also known as the man who was ALMOST Aragorn) simply bombs as Lestat. He lacks charm, sex appeal, presence and charisma in this role, as if he's overwhelmed by it. The late Aaliyah, on the other hand, has enormous presence even though she's required to basically bellydance her way through the film. Margaret Moreau is unimpressive as Talamasca groupie Jesse, although she fares better than Townsend.

The second big-screen Anne Rice flick is a textbook example of how NOT to adapt a book -- flaccid characters, idiotic scripting and cheap direction. All the blood has been sucked from this "Queen."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2002
I'm a gracious fan of Anne Rice, and as said before they hacked the book horribly. I anticipated the release of this movie, because i love the vampire chronicles. Yet on opening night they just killed it. I bet the movie was great for those who never read the book or loved it. It bothered me that Marius was said to have made Lestat. Or that they never made a reference to Louis or Claudia, saying he was always alone. Or the time he spent with Armand. Where was Mekare... The ancients were never named in the movie. Something else agitated me was the fact is that they made it a love story of Lestat and Jessie..
Oh well, I know I'm not alone in my feelings. Not that the movie was all that bad, but I just really loved the book...
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2002
Anne Rice has been my favorite author for as long as I can remember, so when I read that they were turning another one of her books into a movie, I was truly excited, yet instantly wary. Just the obvious fact that they went from Interview to Queen, skipping the middleman (Vampire Lestat) was a warning. Yet I went to the theater, plunked down my five dollars, and spent the next couple of hours, as I'm sure most other Anne Rice fans did, in hell. Grossly obvious mistakes (such as Lestat's maker) made me wonder if the screen writer or any other member of the crew had even bothered to read the book or The Vampire Chronicles itself in the first place. After walking out of the theater, I was so angry at the [translation] of such an amazing novel that I didn't even know where to begin in my criticism. I'm by no means a person who gets easily upset (especially by something as trivial as a film), but to put it bluntly, they slaughtered the book, seemingly taking the character's names and then doing whatever they wanted with them with no regards to the actual plot of the book. However, if one can overlook the fact the movie was a terrible adaption and look at it in terms of just a regular film, then my criticism becomes a little less harsh! Amazing special effects and dazzling performances by Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend make this movie worth the 2 stars I gave it. An unbelievble soundstrack compliments the film, and a very well-placed and appropriate Jonathan Davis cameo lightens the film's somber mood. While it was a horrible adaption, as movie, it stands in it's own right. Anyone who has not read the books will probably enjoy it. Worth seeing, just don't go into with any great expectations.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2004
Queen of the Damned, shortly, is an "adaptation" of Rice's otherwise fabulous third book in her Vampire Chronicles Trilogy (I do not consider the books after Queen of the Damned to be included in the Vampire Chronicles). The story follows the life of a Vampire, Lestat, and the mother of all vampires, Akasha, who wants the world in her hands.

I didn't watch the film in the theaters, having heard from my friends that they hated it - and most of them have never read the book. But because of pure curiosity, I rented the DVD.

And what did I see? Purely total dissapointment.

One of the biggest dissapointments of the movie was the cast. Yes, Stuart Townsend was sexy, he was gothic, he was cat-like...but he wasn't Lestat. In "Interview with the Vampire", Tom Cruise brought Lestat to life. He had Lestat's charm and with...he truly protrayed himself as The Brat Prince. Townsend, however, lacked the charisma and charm. He was nothing more than a sex-starved kitten that likes to lure teenage girls into his hands in order to "feed" upon them. The fact that the Lestat in "Queen of the Damned" was enough for me to hurl the DVD out the window. Lestat fed upon the evil doer - not innocent young girls wanting to have sex with a rockstar. Why the director decided to do this was insane.

Other actors also added to the dissappointment - Maurius was too flamboyant, too happy for most of the time - and they also hinted at times that he was evil - even though he wasn't. Other actors were hardly in the movie long enough for me to judge on their acting abilities, and sadly, that included Aaliyah as well. The only two characters which I will praise in their acting abilities is the actor that played as David Talbot, and Aaliyah.

The second dissapointment was the fact that the MOVIE REFUSED TO FOLLOW THE BOOK! Yes, I understand that it is an adaptation. Lord of the Rings, Interview with the Vampire, the Princess Bride, and Harry Potter are also adaptations, yet for most of the time, they remained true to the book. True, Arwen did not rescue Frodo and Harry's father didn't play as Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, but these changes are minor and do not affect the story as a whole. Yet, in Queen of the Damned, the changes are so large that they destroyed the entire book. Jesse played in the role which should have rightfully been Louis's, Maharet's twin was gone and she played a signficant role to the entire story, Marius was not Lestat's maker, and Daniel, who played such an important role in the book was missing along with Louis. Jesse became Lestat's lover, even though in the story, they only exchanged a few words between each other, and nothing more. The protrayal of vampires being androgynous creatures that did not care for sex yet are able to sensuously interact with other vampires and humans of either sex is also thrown out the window along with all the emotions that the entire story is suppose to evoke in all of us. Akasha's philosophy was gone, Marius's philosphy was gone, and the tragedy and pain was also gone. Without the pain, the tragedy, and the philosphy, the movie became nothing.

Instead, all we get is a shallow-minded movie with a plot that a three-year old could follow. I could understand why this movie would easily appeal to the gothic teenager with Townsend's sexy attitude and how the whole romantic story caught up with Jesse sacrifcing her life for Lestat and how he turned her into a vampire at the end to save her life. Although it's a nice idea, it was nothing even close to what the true story of Queen of the Damned is...and because of this, all you get is a shallow b-grade chick flick with bad morals, bad philosophy, bad acting, bad effects, and a bad story. A pure insult to Rice and Rice's fans...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2002
Combining The Vampire Lestat and the Queen of the Damned novels into one screenplay was, ahem, damned to suffer massive story cuts because of the intricate and detailed background of a dozen or so characters involved. The amount of detail always was the strength of the Vampire Chronicles, in my opinion, and they were certainly worth the read.
That said, the question remains, without the detail and extra characters, can the basic story of Lestat's re-awakening of the Queen of all vampires be entertaining and sufficient enough to sustain itself? While I can not answer the question with a glowing appraisal, I will certainly admit that it did a decent job of combining all of the basic elements into a stand alone movie. The fact that this movie can stand on it's own without any ties to the prequel, Interview with the Vampire, is one of it's assets. You do not need any fore-knowledge of the characters, books, or prequel movie in order to watch this.
Even though it fits into it's own little package does not mean it was packed very well. There were some plot holes, some of which could have been filled by simply restoring the "Ancients" scenes that were on the dvd. I understand, as the dvd points out, that they were left out because it introduced another subplot and characters that would add unnecessary confusion. While I agree with their reasoning, I do think they should have somehow salvaged the scene so that while the introductions of the ancients would have been left out, Maharet's few lines about Akasha's reign of destruction and the vampire's responsibility should have remained. They would have added a needed sense of urgency and motivation that would have made the final confrontation with Akasha and the ancients a bit more reasonable and satisfying.
The character of Jessie is supposed to be the human link for the viewer to empathize through as they are taken into the world of vampires. In some scenes, this works adequately, but on the whole, Jessie's motivations, while they are explained, seem kind of empty. I am not sure if I can fault the actress or script, but when the movie was over, I still felt ambivalent about the character's experiences.
There were other elements that were not as fleshed out as they could be. The paranormal Talamasca needed a bit more background about their vampire tracking as did the character of Maharet and her family tree. Like Jessie, they were given some explanation, but I think a couple more lines of dialogue would have helped.
As I mentioned, the movie did a decent job of the basic story, but massive changes were made from the source material. Characters were dropped completely, or merged together, and huge sections of character history were removed. Most notably, Lestat's history is extremely compacted and revised. Nonetheless, there are some things that remained that I thought were done pretty well. The character of Lestat in this picture is rebellious and reckless which is more true to the character than he was portrayed in Interview. Lestat's re-awakening and concert scenes were exactly like I had envisioned when I originally read the book. The character of Akasha was also as I pictured and a very good casting choice.
If you are a fan of the books, and you need the twins, Gabriel, Magnus, and crew, you are going to have difficulty sitting through this. If, on the other hand, you can set that aside and view this as a vampire movie of it's own, unrelated to the chronicles, you will probably enjoy this for the stand-alone vampire flick that it is.
In summary, worth the rental
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2003
I just saw this awful excuse for a movie, and I am going to try my best to keep others from making my mistake!
I have loved Anne Rice since shortly after Interview With A Vampire (the movie) came out. Tom Cruise's portrayal of Lestat, in particular, drew me into the story. Now, true, the character Louis was hard to get behind (accurate to the book; Louis IS kind of a whiner) and Antonio Banderas, though he portrayed Armand beautifully, was physically inappropriate for the role, and the end was a major departure from the book, but the movie held true to the general plot and personalities and feel of Anne Rice's world.
Not so with Queen of the Damned. It seems like the scriptwriters barely gave a nod to the plot; they borrowed the names of characters, but didn't even bother with their actual personalities.
Lestat is a vampire. A self-proclaimed monster. He's not a nice guy. But he also drinks only the blood of the evil doer. I wouldn't call the poor girls he was chasing around in the movie evil doers. And Lestat is in love with humanity. Not just Jesse; he loves the members of his band, he loves David, he loves humans he comes into contact with. Humanity fascinates him
As a note, I do think that with a better script, and a better idea of what he was doing, Stuart Townsend might have been as good a Lestat as Tom Cruise; maybe even better. But for all of you teenyboppers out there who JUST LOVE STUART TOWNSEND OMG!!111!!, I'm sorry, but just because an actor is hot doesn't mean that any movie he does is good. Plus Lestat is blond. It seems like a silly thing to nitpick, but Anne Rice makes SUCH a big deal about it in her descriptions of him that it is in fact important. I mean, Tom Cruise dyed HIS hair for the role in Interview, and pulled it off quite well.
Then there's David. You don't see much of our boy David in the movie, which is ok. The little we saw of him, he was even well-portrayed. Except one little thing. Insiginficant, really, except that it's an essential part of the character. David is in his 70's. Hello?!
Then of course, there's Marius. What did these butchers masquerading as screenwriters do to our lovely artist, our Roman scholar? They turned him into some sort of ... villain! Anyone who has read Vampire Lestat would cringe... To someone who actually read the book ABOUT Marius, his portrayal was perhaps the most painful of all. And to clarify a few key plot points related to Marius; he is NOT Lestat's maker. Teacher, perhaps, friend certainly, but not his maker. Moreover, Marius was trapped under tons of ice for most of the duration of Queen of the Damned; trapped by Akasha when she escaped so that he would not be able to interfere.
And Akasha... Aaliyah was great as Akasha. She was just as I'd pictured her, and the only reason I gave this movie two stars instead of just one. But, for the record, Akasha and Enkil were not actually statues. Their skin looked like marble, but not their clothes or eyes or hair or whatever. They had color, but the morons who wrote the screenplay apparently missed this.
Jesse, along with Maharet and the other ancients, is such a two-dimensional character in this movie I won't even go into them, except to say that it's sad that such characters so essential to the plot were so ignored. Or, in the case of Mekare, Maharet's twin, not mentioned at all.
Now, a few notes about vampire lore. In the vampire club, when Jesse goes in looking for Lestat, claiming a relationship with the ancient Marius, one of the vampires tells her all of the ancients are dead. There is a reason for this belief. Just before Marius' time, Akasha and Enkil, her king, were dragged out into the sun by their keeper, in a bid to end their existence. While Akasha and Enkil only acquired a deep tan, because Akasha, who was the mother of ALL vampires, was burned, so every single other vampire was burned. New vampires were immolated; older vampires didn't die, but existed in agony. Vampires were nearly wiped out. Akasha's blood did NOT bequeath Lestat the ability to walk in the sunlight with no fear. If Akasha had actually walked into the sun, or through the fire, most of the vampiric population would have exploded into flame.
Last of all, worst of all, is the plot. The scriptwriters took the most insignificant scene and turned it into the bulk of the movie. Lestat's awakening and discovering of rock music isn't even IN Queen of the Damned, it's in The Vampire Lestat. Moreover, that and the later battle comprise of perhaps two chapters, one out of each book. And yet in the movie, it's more than three quarters of the story! The rich history of the vampires is never touched on, even though it's the bulk of the plot in the book. It's vaguely mentioned that whoever drinks the last drop of Akasha's blood won't survive, but not why; they don't mention that if Akasha dies, all vampires die. And where is Mekere, Maharet's dumb (as in, tongue was cut out, not as in stupid) sister, the one who eventually took Akasha's essence into herself? Where is Akasha's quest to eliminate most men, to elevate women and establish herself as their goddess? Gone. Not even touched on.
This was awful. If you'd never read the book, I can't understand how you could ever follow the plot, and if you did read it, the plot makes you want to rip your own eyes out to make it stop. Hot actors and flashy special effects are no replacement for vivid storytelling and deep characters. Don't waste your money, don't waste your time, DON'T watch this movie.
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