Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adapting the Vampire

Queen of the Damned
Starring: Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Marguerite Moreau & Vincent Perez
Director: Michael Rymer
Release Date: 22 February 2002
DVD Release Date: 27 August 2002
Approx Time: 101mins
Genre: Vampire, Horror
Rated: R

I've must've seen this movie about five times in my life, since its DVD release - even I knew back in '02 that this movie wasn't worth my while - I can strongly state that I never recall watching it. There's evidence that I have - I know how Akasha is taken down at the end. I know that Lestat calls out other vampires. I know there's some blonde haired vampire that doesn't seem to fit quite in the movie and I know there's a cute girl named Jesse in it that Lestat loves - for some reason that's never made clear. But most of all, I know it because the only reason that drew me into watching the movie - having never been interested in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles before, Interview with the Vampire included. The movie, by the way, ignores the existence of Interview and who could blame them? This movie came out eight years after the fact. - was the fact that Jonathan Davis of Korn was responsible for the soundtrack/score

A story with Lestat and no mention of Louis seems a tad cheap. Louis is Lestat's love and vice versa, even though they seem to ignore the matter. Without his affection for Louis, the character Lestat just flops over. Not even the ever powerful blood of Akasha can save it. 

I can't begin to tell you what the movie's about - it's something between a mash up of The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned mixed in with some water to tame it a bit with a toss of we-don't-give-a-fuck on the side. And I'm not stating the movie isn't worth the watch - you can get a few guffaws from it due to its complete and utter lack of storyline - but it's something you wanna do on Bad Movie Mondays. 

Though, I won't deny that Stuart Townsend and the late Aaliyah had some chemistry in the film. Being her second film role - the first being Romeo Must Die - she played the part of former Egyptian queen turn Vampire Mother well. 

And while I get why the homo-eroticism of the novels was toned down quite a bit - without Louis, well let's face it - giving Lestat a love interest in Jesse seemed to cheapen the character, as well. 

Now don't peg me as one of those book readers who think the adaptation should stay true to the book, but it mustn't betray it either. Now I see betrayal on two levels: when the movie is almost word per word as the novel - think No Country for Old Men - and when the film just takes a massive shit on the novel's story - think Lost World. Now No Country for Old Men was an excellent movie, but staying too true to the novel keeps readers sitting out on the fun. 

Anyway, the final rating for the film is two stars. The extra star, of course, going to Jonathan Davis who was screwed out of a great soundtrack when Korn's record company pulled the plug on the original recordings of the tracks. If you must, own the film, can I suggest getting it with Gothika? It might not be the best film of the world, but together, they make a pretty decent deal.

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