“Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, and Aaliyah combine talents in a blend of sex, vampire violence, pulsating rock rhythms, and erotic fantasy in director Michael Rymer’s vision of Anne Rice’s third novel in the “Vampire Chronicles.””
When I first saw Queen of the Damned on the big screen, I was a teenager, trying desperately to get just a hint of the vampire thrills that I felt from Anne Rice’s novels in vibrant colour. At the time that it was released on circuit, vampire literature was not considered the teenager bible that it is today. Most of the time, I was forced to hide my copies of the Vampire Chronicles, lest they get thrown away as garbage intended to influence my fragile mind. So it was a guilty pleasure of mine to be able to slip into the cinema (on my own) and watch the first film adaptation of an Anne Rice vampire story since Interview with the Vampire.
I walked out mesmerised by the colours, the music, the incorporation of music video shots with story footage, and the casting. At first, I was perfectly willing to ignore gaping holes in the entire make-up of the film just for these shiny trinkets. But, by the time I got home, I realised that the relationship between this film and I just would not last.
They tricksed us, Precious.
It is watching this film that makes me fully understand the distaste the author has for fan-fiction. It has its place, but to me, this particular instance of it, ruined a beautiful book. Two actually, if you take into consideration the fact that most of what we see in the film is, in fact, a part of The Vampire Lestat. And yes, this is fan-fiction:
“Fanfiction is when someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, tv show, movie, etc, and create(sic) their own story based on it. Sometimes people will take characters from one movie and put them in another, which is called a cross-over.”
– A quote taken from Urban Dictionary.
Honestly, this film was designed to mangle and set fire to a plot which should be done justice to on the big screen. Eight years! We waited eight years to see another one of Rice’s works committed to the screen following Interview, and we’re treated to this?
- Since when are Marius and Magnus interchangeable?! Not to shine too close a light on the massive gaping plot-shredding that’s happening here, but were we – the general public – and the producers of this farce reading the same books? Yes, I get it, you saw that the relationship between Lestat and Marius is kind of what Lestat did not have with Magnus (Lucky him, I say), but is COMPLETELY rewriting the story entirely necessary, just so that you can abstractly say that Marius was a mentor to Lestat? On a side note, however, I must commend the script-writers here for pulling off the Marius trait of packing-up-and-leaving-whenever-someone-disappoints-him. Still, not an excuse for deciding that pivotal characters are much of a muchness.
- Heaven forbid we have a vampire movie without a love interest… Congratulations on getting Jesse’s history almost correct: Good job! However, you lose all those points you just earned by completely negating the love that Lestat felt for Akasha, and vice versa.
- Let’s take these twins, and make them one person. Then we’ll give her the more prominent twin’s name, and pretend that the other one never existed. Again, I don’t mean to sound like I’m witch-hunting here, but the book is partly named after what Mekare became at the close… You could have, at least, done her the decency of including her in the movie.
- Other important characters? Who are these other important characters you speak of? We’ll just include them in the ‘group of interesting-looking people’ bringing up the rear. Fun fact: did you know, that Armand, Pandora, Mael , and Khayman feature in this film? Yes folks, they do indeed. But you’ll only know this if you pay attention to minute detail or watch the removed scenes on certain copies. Evidentially, the characters that readers have grown to love are not very important, as, out of four of them, they are afforded two whole lines. Don’t even get me started on how yet more pivotal characters were heinously cheated by not even being included in this movie. Gabrielle? Louis? No? Apparently not.
These are just a few of the pet peeves I have dug-up regarding this film in the eleven years since its release.
“Rice’s complex, sprawling novel is rendered virtually incomprehensible by a combination of lacklustre direction, risible dialogue and shoddy effects.”
– Rotten Tomatoes Review
Vincent Perez: I love Vincent Perez. I loved him in Swept from the Sea and The Crow, among others. And I do agree, his demeanour has potential as far as the character of Marius is concerned. But every time I see him in a role now, I have this nervous tick that tempts me to throw shoes at the screen following a near-miss interpretation of a character I really adore.
Lena Olin: Exquisite woman, very powerful presence. Actually, she felt like a perfect fit for Maharet. It’s a pity, then, that like Vincent Perez, I can hardly stand to watch her in anything anymore.
Stuart Townsend: I honestly have nothing bad to say about this man. Tom Cruise left his very large shoes under this casting chair, and Townsend did what he could with what he was given. On playfulness I give him an ‘A’ for effort. But as far as capturing the personality of Lestat is concerned, I felt that he missed it entirely. In his defence, it must be difficult to squeeze emotion from the role when you’re instructed to act-out over two centuries’ of feeling in less than two hours.
Let this be a lesson in part: The next time a producer feels the need to squish two heavy, adored, and perfect books into one surprisingly short movie, said producer should find a tree, stop, and smoke whatever grows on that tree until the urge passes.
The worst thing about this movie is that fifty per-cent of the people I engage in conversation regarding it don’t even realise that there was a book long before there was this train-wreck of a film.
There has been a lot of talk floating around of a reboot of the Vampire Chronicles in film. Let’s bloody hope they get that ball rolling soon.