Queen of the Damned

We are the powerful, we should walk fearless in the open!

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * · · · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

Buy Queen of the Damned from

Queen of the Damned image

The Vampire Rule is one of my originals. "Any movie about vampires is good," I so brashly stated and for the most part that is true. Every so often, however, it seems a studio works to break this rule. Queen of the Damned is one such movie. Worse than breaking the coveted Vampyre rule is how badly it treated a series that had so much going for it. Vampire movies need both story and style. Queen had some style but no story. In a genre that can do no harm, Queen of the Damned did much.

I never read the Anne Rice books, but many I know enjoyed them. Hearing a friend recount the book's plot over the phone was more interesting than the two hour movie I watched. It would seem that the movie cut about 90% of the real story and left nothing but hollow characters and some mediocre special effects. Every scene that had much going for it ended up being overacted and leading nowhere. Blade series do more with their parts.

There are different kinds of vampire movies. Subtle ones like John Carpenter's Vampires. Queen didn't know which group it fell into so it fell apart instead. Just when the story gets good, an ancient vampire burns up a bunch of vampires in a goth bar. Just when there's a big vampire fight scene, we're zipped off to some chalet where our main characters can bathe a lot and talk about ruling the world without ever taking any action towards that goal.

In another violation of my rules, the movie puts in a young relatively innocent bystander who acts as our voice in questioning the vampire society. She bumbles around, falling into various nasty situations and always seeming to be pulled out. There's lots of slow moving "almost bitten" scenes and lots of emotional visions that don't clearly show whatever vision we were intended to get. Does Lestat care about her? Does she care about Lestat? Do I care? I can only answer the last sir, I do not. Then we have the queen. For an hour we get build up without a tenth of the real background. When she does show up we get perhaps 30 dead people - far from the majority of earth - before the big anti-climactic ending. Doesn't sound like much of a takeover of the world if you ask me. The book sounded far more interesting, something about a blind vampire eating her brains.

The DVD wasn't terrible. It included a DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack but no directors commentary. The picture was a 16x9 enhanced 2.35 to 1 picture that didn't really blow me away but didn't show any specific disappointments either. This is a perfect example of content screwing up the presentation more than the format or transfer. Bad movies in a good format are still bad.

If I see one more bad vampire movie I am going to have to reevaluate my rule. I love a good vampire flick as much as anyone but when people manage to screw up a movie with so much going for it, there is really a big problem. Perhaps they will fire everyone involved with this picture and reestablish the series with another rendition, or perhaps Hollywood will keep screwing up a good thing with another bad vampire adaptation.