Queen of the Damned (2002) Movie Review
Written By: JEH
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Michael Rymer
Producers: Jorge Saralegui
Writers: Scott Abbott, Michael Petroni
Date Released: February 22, 2002
Aaliyah as Queen Akasha
Stuart Townsend as Lestat
Marguerite Moreau as Jesse
Vincent Perez as Marius
Paul McGann as David Talbot
Lena Olin as Maharet
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
After two centuries of slumber, the vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend) awakens to find out that the world has changed dramatically. Then, he decides to join a punk rock band as their leader and vocalist. Gaining fame and becoming the new Rock God, he draws the attention of vampire enthusiast Jesse (Marguerite Moreau) and his maker Marius (Vincent Perez). His music also awakens the queen of the damned, Akasha (Aaliyah), who wants to make Lestat her new king.
As expected from a vampire movie, blood will make an appearance. However, the sight of blood is minimal. When you do see blood, it isn’t convincing. The vampires might seem violent and blood-thirsty, but the special effects don’t give that feeling. SFX feels lacking and could be done better. Scenes where you would expect a bloody mess are often conveniently blocked or shot from a far angle. The only notable scene that might shock viewers is a man’s heart getting ripped out and consumed.
The Grave Review
Queen of the Damned (2002) is the result of forcefully combining two beloved books, The Vampire Lestat (1976) and The Queen of the Damned (1988), into one movie. The movie aimed to follow the success of the Interview with the Vampire adaptation but failed to impress both the audience and the book author herself, Anne Rice.
The image, history, and allure that Anne Rice has established for her vampires were completely disregarded by the screenplay writers. It seems like they opened the books and skimmed through random pages. Then, made assumptions on the story and wrote the script.
Lestat’s background story puts a temporary halt on the movie’s cheesiness. Viewers begin to understand Lestat and why he chose to become the leader of a punk rock band after his slumber. The awakening of Queen Akasha also made the story a little bit more interesting. Her presence was strong when she first appeared, but the hype quickly died. This is what made the movie even more frustrating. The stories of Lestat and Akasha could’ve been fleshed out, and the history of the vampires should’ve gotten the spotlight it deserves. But the writers focused on putting a lot of elements together and forgot to give it depth. Too much introduced, too little explained.
The ending was the final nail in the coffin. Jesse’s baffling desire to become to be a vampire was fulfilled by Lestat. Then, the pair becomes lovers ready to explore the world for the entirety of their immortal lives. This happened out of nowhere, and the pair’s relationship is criminally rushed, just like everything else in the movie.
The movie’s saving grace is the music. It sets the dark mood of the movie and boosts the charm of Lestat. From the romantic violin tunes to the angsy rock music, you’ll understand why Lestat’s music awakened the queen of the damned herself.
If you’re a fan of the books, you might want to skip this movie. The writers changed the story, omitted important characters, and failed to capture the spark of the original story. But if you’re just looking for a fun movie to watch when boredom strikes, give it a try. Visually, the movie still satisfies. Also, it can still provide entertainment when not taken seriously.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Queen of the Damned (2002) two and one-half graves out of five graves.
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