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Queen of the Damned
DVD disk
Oct 7, 2004 By: JoBlo
Queen of the Damned order
Director:
Michael Rymer

Actors:
Stuart Townsend
Aaliyah
Vincent Perez

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Vampire Lestat wakes up after a long-ass sleepy-time and decides to rejoin our world, but this time in the form of a rock star. He also lets everyone know that he is indeed a vampire, and invites all other vamps to come out and join him. Unimpressed with his invitation, the rest of the bloodsuckers plan an attack on Lestat during one of his concerts and oh yeah...the queen of all the vamps also wakes up and joins the party. A shitty movie ensues.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
What/who the heck is this movie about anyway? It's titled QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, but the damn queen barely shows up for about 15 minutes of the entire movie, and doesn't really do much more than growl and talk funny. Was it about Lestat? If so, the role was certainly played well by Stuart Townsend, but the poor chap's given nothing to work with in terms of script. (INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is one of my favorite vamp movies of all-time, and thankfully Tom Cruise turned the lead role in this film down-- for obvious reasons). And who the heck was that chick who was following Lestat for the entire picture? We didn't get much background on her either, and even less reasons to give half a shit about her. As for all the vampires in the movie, well...there really weren't many to begin with and from the ones we did get to see...most were interchangeable and rarely given any substance at all (and what was up with Lena Olin's character?). And that was essentially this film's overall problem: all flash, zero substance!

It basically throws every camera trick in the book at us in the hopes that we won't notice how much it actually blows. Even the super fast-motion stuff with the vampires was neat at first, but by the time they did it for the 20th time...it looked cheesy and just took me out of any suspense that was supposed to have been built up by that point (thankfully, there was no suspense built up anyway). The sad part is that I really dug the premise of the flick with this vampire "coming out of the closet" so to speak, becoming a rock star and well...not much else. The "human world" is rarely shown or discussed, the rock star angle is barely touched upon, there's some sort of relationship that's brushed over and all we get instead is lame narration, idiotic insert shots, unnecessary flashbacks, stupid showdowns and the next thing you know...the movie's over.

And if you're gonna rent this puppy to see an "Aaliyah movie" (her last, before she died in a plane crash in August 2001), think again because she doesn't even show up once before 50 minutes of the film have passed. Her actual "entrance" scene is probably one of the film's only highlights, with her ditty with that dude's heart as its only real creep moment. Yum-yum. Basically, the film didn't make much sense to me, it didn't introduce me to any characters that I cared or knew much about, it tossed over-the-top camera tricks in my face and barely made any connections between its scenes. Overall, it sucked. See it for Townsend without his shirt and the groovy tunes, otherwise, rent INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE again and enjoy a really good vampire story with substance and characters who you care about. Suck on this!
THE EXTRAS
Extras are always tough to watch after an especially lame movie, but a lot of the times, they will tend to win your favor when you see and hear all of the hard work and intentions behind it. In this case, I started off by listening to the full-length commentary track with director Michael Rymer, producer Jorge Saralegui and composer Richard Gibbs. Thankfully, they were all sitting in the same room, so it wasn't as shitty as it could have been. The track itself is actually quite informative and with little stoppages, but I was really taken aback by its first 30 minutes, which consisted of the men basically talking about all of the DIFFERENT things they did from the two books, on which this film is based. They spent most of the first half hour explaining why they decided to change this or change that from Anne Rice's successful novels, which pretty much explained how and where this film went wrong. These bozos thought that they could improve on a great thing by making it their own?? Bad idea, dudes...bad idea.

There were also 3 featurettes on the disc, the first of which is called "Creating the Vampires" which lasted about 10 minutes and was actually pretty cool. It showcased all of the wire stuff that they did in the movie, as well as the make-up and effects. Pretty neat, if you like seeing that kind of "behind the scenes" stuff. The second featurette was called "Aaliyah Remembered" which I was actually hoping would be more substantial (since I didn't know much about her before her untimely death), but it was only about 3 minutes long and barely grazed over anything in her career. The third featurette spoke about the music in the film, entitled "The Music of Lestat", with interviews with many of the band leaders who participated on the soundtrack, including Jonathan Davis, the lead singer of Korn, who basically put it all together with Richard Gibbs. Interesting for hard rock music fans like me.

The disc also included no less than 13 deleted scenes, which for once, could actually have helped the film make more sense and come together more as a whole. Most of the scenes were interesting and useful to the final product, and the filmmakers even admitted to "regretting" not having used some in the movie (I guess they had to appease the studios with a short runtime?). One of the things that's explained a lot better in these scenes were the rest of the vampires (apparently called The Ancients) who get more of a background here, as well as the lead girl in the film, Jesse, for whom we get a greater background check as well. The dvd also includes a pretty cool 3-minute gag reel, set to some goofy music, which is a good time to watch, 4 music videos, extended concert sequences of Lestat from the picture, a production still gallery, the theatrical trailer and all that other basic fun stuff. All in all, a good set of extras for anyone who is interested in knowing more about the film and how they messed it all up.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The movie sucks the bag but if you really love your vampire stuff and want to kill some time watching an experiment gone awry...you might want to pick it up for fun, or just to check out its full plate of extras, which kind of explain why things went so skewed in the production (don't try to improve or change something that's already been established as a success fellas...you ain't there yet!). All in all, a lame flick with solid features, so I'm half and half on recommending it.
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