Saturday, September 3, 2011

Queen Of The Damned; Movie/Book Review

Over the course of doing these blogs you will learn that I am a lover of vampires...and Anne Rice vampires are some of my favorites. I started reading Anne Rice when I was 15 with her first novel, Interview With The Vampire, but it was the third book in her Vampire Chronicles that became and still is my favorite: The Queen of The Damned.



 As a book, Queen Of The Damned is a continuation of the last book, The Vampire Lestat, but the film version which came out in 2002 is a combination of the two...more or less. Actually, it is better to view Queen Of The Damned as its own movie based on the next two books instead of a follow up to Interview Of The Vampire film released in 1994. I think this is probably one reason why most people find the movie a failure to the The Vampire Chronicles legacy but let's try to look at it through rose-tinted glasses as a film of its own merit.
 


Film plot: Leather-clad, sometimes shirtless vampire Lestat De Lioncourt is awakened from centuries of sleep by the sounds of a glam, goth-metal band and then takes it over as their lead singer when it appears he has the vocals of Korn front man Jonathan Davis to bring the band to world-wide success. The band is now called The Vampire Lestat (great use of the second book title in a subtle way but not subtle for Lestat's ego) and in the lyrics of their songs, the secret world of the vampires is being revealed and the other vampires of the world are not happy.

 Do you have anything you want to say to the other vampires listening out there?
  As a matter of fact, I do. Come out, come out, wherever you are. 
 Besides pissing off the vampires of the world, Lestat also happens to get the attention of Jesse Reeves, red-headed researcher for the secret society of paranormal studies known as the Talamasca. She becomes fascinated with Lestat when she learns he is a real vampire and learns his origins and it leads her down the road of being would be love interest/stalker/ groupie of the vampire kind. Too bad for everyone when Lestat's vocals and music become so powerful that they awaken, Akasha, the mother of all vampires known as...The Queen of The Damned. Drawn by the ever rebellious Lestat, Akasha kills her husband, abducts our anti-hero vampire as her new king and plots to kill all of the other vampires of the world and destroy the human race.

With Lestat in danger, Jesse becomes even further involved in the world of vampires, when her aunt, Maharet, and Lestat's maker, Marius, come together with characters I call "Vampires too awesome to garner appropriate screen time as they did in the books" to try and stop Akasha.

This is the movie's basic plot which omits greats amount of back story from the novel, great vampire characters are reduced to cameos and independent Jesse from the book becomes a rather dull school girl with a crush archetype. Although I hate how they change Jesse, I have to admit I would go a little puppy-dog eyed for Stuart Townsend...and his portrayal as Lestat any day. If I'm going to watch a movie with vampires, I could find better ones I admit but there is something about Queen of The Damned that just keeps bringing me back to watch and enjoy it every time.

 Despite all of the cons of rushed scripting, changing some characters and omitting others one pro I will stand behind is that I love Aaliyah as Akasha. Even though she was known more for her phenomenal music career and her role in this film was greatly diminished from the Akasha in the novel due to the writing of the script, every minute that Aaliyah is on screen you can't help but watch her and it is clear that if she had not been taken from us sooner, Aaliyah could have been another great singer/actress superstar like Jennifer Lopez.

Final Words: If you like movies made from a book, the book will always be better but if you want a movie with an awesome soundtrack, Queen of The Damned is a great flick to watch. If you haven't seen this movie, I recommend giving it a shot...but I recommend that you if you would rather read the book, do it after watching the movie and then go get the other Vampire Chronicle novels by Anne Rice and be amazed by how much better you feel that you actually read a book instead of vegging out in front of the television for once!!

Next blog: Underworld



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