Queen of the Damned (Movie)

“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.””

lestat

 

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?

Marius

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Casting:

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.

Maharet

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.

Armand

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.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Devika Fernando February 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Argh, just reading your article gets me fuming again.
    Luckily, I never got to watch the movie at the time it had come out and I had read the books. Just as recently as a couple of years ago did I throw myself into cold water and watch the movie. I watched it one time and thought: What the hell?! Watched it a second time with breaks in between the scenes to think whether it was me getting everything wrong or indeed the movie getting everything wrong. *sigh* I did watch it another time afterwards and tried very hard to completely forget about the novel and came away with much the same reaction like you right after going to the cinema. 😉
    Once again, you speak my mind. Sometimes I catch myself wishing Lestat would exist and beat the crap out of anyone ever involved with the movie. Blow them up into cinders, Brat Prince, they are not worthy!!!
    Oh, and I could NEVER imagine Marius like he was played… Whereas I thought Aaliyah was the best cast choice in comparison with the others though she couldn’t do the role full justice either.

    • Reply Lafaeyette February 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Oh wouldn’t that be sweet justice! If he took revenge on all of them for portraying him so very poorly in the movie 😀

      • Reply rozy March 11, 2014 at 4:13 am

        Don’t blame the actors blame the script writers.

        • Reply Carmen Dominique March 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

          I don’t blame the actors at all. I love almost all of them. But the movie offends me on a personal level. I cannot watch it without a snarky remark here or there.

          • Hook in Mouth May 22, 2014 at 10:51 pm

            I could not stop talking pointing out everything they changed and I was the only person in my house that read it so I looked like a freak. One of its many flaws is that it had the band Korn in it as The Vampire Lestat band. Literally the only people who like Korn are little kids and retards. Such a horrible movie… you can still buy copies of QotD with the movie cover on it…

  • Reply Mary Lietz March 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    When I first heard Queen of the Damned was being made into a movie, I was thrilled. That was one of my favorite books. The I saw the movie. I wish you could unsee a movie. What that movie did to the book was so disturbing. I hated everything about it. It just should not have been made. Worst movie ever.

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Worst. Movie. Ever.

  • Reply Silver April 6, 2013 at 2:50 am

    About this movie, I can say I liked the soundtrack (I like rock)… but the story? I said “Oh, god why??” because they destroyed the good work Rice did on the book. Lucky me, I read the book before the movie came.

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Yes, thank God for that 😀

  • Reply Kimberly April 6, 2013 at 4:28 am

    So nice to read others thoughts on this movie. Your review is spot on! This film disappoints in so many ways, more than any other beloved book/failed movie ever has.

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 6, 2013 at 8:26 am

      Thanks, Kimberly. Yes, I do have to agree. I become practically heart=broken every time I think about it.

  • Reply seer kennel May 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Well.. {{grin}} I’m going to swim against the tide here, I actually watched the film and enjoyed it – as much as I enjoy any schlock ‘spook’ show ;). I have for the most part managed to divorce novels from films with success before going into the experience, so I often do alright with films others hate with (justified) passion. But, no, no way in Anne’s universe or any other was this QotD. And it is the unfortunate reason that I’m wary of any possibility that there may yet be a Chronicles franchise.. Although.. given the relative justice that Jackson managed with the Middle Earth tales, perhaps someone with similar vision might yet do justice to Anne’s vampires :). I won’t be holding my breath..

  • Reply Jessica June 21, 2014 at 6:24 am

    The only thing I really liked about this film was the music. Also, I though Jessie was turned into a vampire by her Aunt not Lestat. I might be wrong, since it has been awhile since I read Queen of The Damned.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique July 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      You are right. She was fed a great deal of blood by Mael, but she was turned by Maharet… The whole Jesse/Lestat love story was just hollywood being hollywood.

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