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QUEEN OF THE DAMNED [BLU-RAY]
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Michael Rymer

Starring:
Aaliyah
Stuart Townsend
Marguerite Moreau

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After being asleep inside his coffin for hundreds of years, the Vampire Lastat (Stuart Townsend) wakes up in the present day to becomeÖ a rock star. After topping the charts and announcing his single live on-stage concert, it is apparent that the vampires of the world are mad at him and thus want to kill him. Throw in Lestatís desire for power, his lust for the innocence of humans, a final confrontation with NAME (Aaliyah), and a soundtrack by KORN front-man Jonathan Davis, and you have yourself QUEEN OF THE DAMNED.
Is it good movie?
When TWILIGHT was released (and its sequels), it appeared that it was setting a new trend of pale-faced pretty boys as blood-thirsty vampires. But no, apparently this trend of wimpy bloodsuckers has been going strong since 2001, with QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, based on The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. Somewhat a sequel to INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, with the same characters but none of the creative team coming back for another round, QUEEN OF THE DAMNED is a hot mess of vampire garbage, and unlucky for us, itís finally getting its undeserved Blu-ray release.

The movie itself is almost unwatchable at this point, thanks to the crappy soundtrack and the lame-o special effects. Whether the Blu-ray is to blame for the effects looking so horrendous or not, I canít really say as this was my first viewing of the film, but I will say that the slo-mo / fast-mo effects of the vampires jumping around and showing off their vampire skills were blurry and worse than most made-for-TV movies (then and now). The soundtrack plays a big part of the movie, since Lestat is a rock star now (WTF?), and all the original music is from KORNís Jonathan Davis. Back when this was released, he was kind of a big deal. NowÖ his presence in the movie just dates it to the late Ď90s, and thatís not a good thing. I was a fan of KORN back in high school, but itís one of those things when you look back and ask ďwhat the hell were you thinking?Ē.

Stuart Townsend as Lestat is a boring choice of casting, as he doesnít offer much except for a pretty face (I guess). Which brings me to my second point about it being totally unwatchable: because of his make-up and his hair, the dude is a spitting image of hottie Kiera Knightley. Seriously, she could have been his stand-in for half of the movieís close-up shots, and I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. Weird.

This was the movie Aaliyah made before her untimely death, and itís a damn shame, as itís a movie that nobody should be remembered by. Sheís not an actor by trade, so her performance isnít all that hot here either, and honestlyÖ I know that the she is the title role of the film (the Queen of the Damned), but she felt more like a secondary character to everybody else. Again, weird. What the hell were the filmmakers thinking? Anne Rice was hot shit after INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, so I get trying to bank off that gravy train, but QUEEN OF THE DAMNED lost everything INTERVIEW had going for it and replaced it with utter garbage.

Video / Audio
Video: The Blu-ray is allegedly in full HD 1080p. But it looks more like a spiffied version of the DVD releases, with just the edges smoothed. I rarely feel like a Blu-ray release is just an upconvert of the DVD, but thatís exactly what it felt like for this one.

Audio: Again, the sound is in 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, but it didnít feel or sound as crisp or as epic as DTS should. It felt flat and one dimensional, just as you would expect from its DVD copy.

The Extras
Note: All the extra features are straight from the filmís original DVD release, so nothing new on the extras front.

Commentary by Michael Rymer, Jorge Saralegui, and Richard Gibbs: Listen to the director and the producers talk about the film in this by-the-books commentary, one that should be seen/heard by only those who absolutely love this movie.

The Music of Lestat: Making the Soundtrack: This little featurette goes into detail about how Jonathan Davis et al. went into making the music as seen in the movie. Marilyn Manson and other big rocker names of the era are interviewed and if you're into the music, you might dig this.

Creating the Vampires: Stuart Townsend and the rest of the cast and crew talk about what it was like filming all the flying scenes in the movie, using wires, a team of stuntment, and green screen. Special effects are also explored here... too bad it's all a bit dated and not very exciting...

Aaliyah Remembered: A tribute to Aaliyah, who died before the film's release.

Slept So Long: The song "Slept So Long", as it's featured in the film during the big concert scene.

Not Meant for Me: The song "Not Meant for Me", as it's featured in the film during the big concert scene.

Deleted Scenes: A number of scenes, deleted or extended (13 in all), are presented along with little blurbs/excerpts as to why the scene was cut from the final film. This is kind of cool, but there's no option to Play All, which is a damn shame since there are so many.

Gag Reel: Outtakes and goofs from the filming of QUEEN OF THE DAMNED with goofy showtunes music playing in the background. Ah yes, this is what DVDs used to provide back when a ton of effort was given to DVD special features. Silly stuff, but kind of fun too.

Music: Four key music videos as seen in the movie are presented here. If you're a fan of the soundtrack, the late 90s goth scene, or KORN's Jonathan Davis, then this is the featurette for you! Theatrical Trailer: Yay! The film's original theatrical trailer!

Last Call
QUEEN OF THE DAMNED is a sorry excuse of a vampire movie. Having the infamous character of the vampire Lestat become a rock star to that of the tune of KORN puts him right up there with Edward from the TWILIGHT series. The Blu-ray appears to be just a re-purpose of the DVD, which is such a shoddy and cheap way to release anything, thus making this Blu-ray a complete FAIL on all fronts. Do not buy, rent, or even borrow this thing.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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