Thursday, May 7, 2015

Throwback Thursday Review: Queen of the Damned (2002)

Starring: Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau
Directed by: Michael Rymer
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 101 minutes

In my music video series, Miko's Music Connection, I focused on the life and career of R&B singer Aaliyah and briefly mentioned a little movie called Queen of the Damned. I mentioned some of my opinion on the movie, but mainly focused on the connection it had to Aaliyah, one of the stars of the movie. Now that I'm doing Throwback Thursday posts on Muddy Cult, I decided to revisit the movie and review it here for you guys.

Legendary vampire Lestat de Lioncourt has been in hibernation for several years. Once he decides to awaken, Lestat notices how much the world has changed and discovers rock music through a group of people practicing in a garage. Sharing his vocal talents with the members, he becomes part of their band and gains a massive following worldwide. While planning a huge concert in Death Valley, his music catches the attention of Queen Akasha who awakens and searches for Lestat in hopes of making him her king.

Being a fan of Aaliyah, I was looking forward to seeing another movie starring her, even though her part was quite minimal. I also was curious how they finished the movie after her unfortunate accident as well, but I was aware they used CGI for her appearance and later learned that her brother helped with the dubbing of voice (or something). Watching this movie again almost feels like the first time as I hadn't watched the movie from beginning to end since its release in theaters. I have seen bits of pieces here and there on TV, but the experience was interesting, especially knowing a few extra information about the movie.

After seeing the movie in theaters, I remember enjoying it and finding Stuart Townsend quite handsome as Lestat. I was unaware that this movie was supposed to based on an Anne Rice novel and that most of the complaints about the movie were due to it being a poor adaptation...also Anne Rice wasn't too fond of the interpretation either. I skimmed through some IMDb comments mentioning that as well and comparing Tom Cruise from Interview With a Vampire to Stuart Townsend. Unfortunately, I can't really join in such a discussion as I've never read an Anne Rice novel nor have I seen Interview With a Vampire completely. Perhaps I will watch the movie at some point. Watching Queen of the Damned now, I can recognize that Townsend was kinda like any other vampire and he did a good job bringing that sexual, intimidating aura that they possess. I still enjoyed the movie, but the story is a tad bit weak and I'm curious what the source material contained.

The main cast is pretty good and I enjoyed their characters, while the supporting characters seemed to range from good to tolerable. I enjoyed watching Lestat's transformation, interactions, and development throughout the film, despite it falling short in certain places. Jesse Reeves was a slightly unconventional love interesting and I thought she was interesting character for Lestat to encounter, but I wished she stood out more. As much as I love Aaliyah, her portrayal as Queen Akasha was a little awkward to watch in certain places, but I thought she did a good job with the material she was giving. The effects are a bit dated, but they're pretty good for that time. One thing a lot of audiences agreed on is that the soundtrack is pretty cool. It's unfortunate that during the performance scenes with Lestat, his singing voice is dubbed by Jonathan Davis of KoRn. I love KoRn, but the vocals are kinda distracting as they don't match Townsend whatsoever. I would've either used his own vocals or chose someone else to do his singing voice that would fit his speaking voice (and perhaps his appearance).

Back then and now, I never thought this was an amazing, award-winning movie or anything, but I enjoy it just as much as when I first saw it in theaters. Of course, it has its flaws, but nonetheless it is an entertaining movie. It's unique from some vampire movies and the characters are enjoyable enough to watch. The soundtrack is fantastic and matches the tone and theme of the film; it's also nice to listen to as just a compilation album. I suppose if you can forget the that this movie is supposed to be an adaptation of an Anne Rice novel, then this film can be quite enjoyable for the casual moviegoer.

Rating: 3/5

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