*** Official "THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for The Queen of the Damned. Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
    All HTF member film reviews of The Queen of the Damned should be posted to this thread.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
  2. Anthony R

    Anthony R Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 5, 2001
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    I just saw it today. Having read all of the negative buzz, I went in with low expectations. I was hoping it would be a fun movie, even though I knew it would be vastly different from the novel, which is one of my favorites. I had heard it described as "sort of like a Goth-style Matrix," and that idea intrigued me, that it might benefit from that sort of "cool factor." So here are my thoughts, as a big fan of the novel version.

    Well, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit up until after the concert scene. I thought Townsend was fine as Lestat, though at times he seemed to speak with a strange, unidentifiable accent. Despite his dark hair, he more closely resembles Lestat than Tom Cruise did, being lean and somewhat androgynous. He is able to convey a certain prowling sense of menace and intensity, is at times seductive, and has a certain charisma. I thought the biggest fault with his performance was probably that he is so brooding and fatalistic all of the time, and lacks the sense of spontaniety, reckless abandon, rebelliousness, and wit that characterized Lestat in the novels and even in the film Interview with the Vampire. As a result, he’s not very likable, but sufficiently creepy.

    I liked Aaliyah. I felt she succeeded in effectively conveying a sense of real evil and confidence in the way she slinks around and casually immolates other vampires. She hams it up and has fun with the role. I also thought Marguareite Moreau was good as Jesse, and was the only one who injects any real human emotion into the story. But the biggest pleasant surprise for me was Vincent Perez as Marius, even though he is nothing like the dignified, powerful ancient in the novel. Instead, except for a few early scenes, he comes across as naive and benign, and likable because of the way he contrasts with the evil, brooding characters. He also adds humor to several scenes.

    One disappointment for me was that there really weren’t that many action scenes (I knew beforehand that it would never come close to suggesting the complexity and emotion of the novel, so I figured cool action scenes would be the movies’ only saving grace). But most of what we did get was pretty cool-- I thought the concert scene was the best part of the movie. I liked the way Rymer builds tension as he reveals the threatening vampires in the audience (whom we know are after Lestat). And the fight onstage was really cool, especially the way Marius jumps in and joins the fight, and also the way Akasha makes her entrance.

    But then I thought the movie fell apart. Up until then, it had held my interest and I thought it had done a decent job at conveying certain story elements from the novel. I liked Lestat’s history and discovery of the King and Queen, and the love story didn’t harm the movie as much as I was afraid, probably because it was so perfunctory. But after the concert, other potentially interesting story elements are glossed over, and no attempt is made to make them interesting or exciting. Akasha does not appear to want any power or status, for example. I knew we weren’t going to get the complex villain we got in the novel, but I would have accepted a mad vampire who wants to take over the world. But she apparently just wants to litter beaches with bodies. Even Lestat doesn’t understand it. And there is no sense that Lestat is really seduced or tempted by his time with Akasha, so their apparent alliance when they confront Maharet and the others makes no sense. Is he her lapdog all of a sudden because of their one-night stand?

    And then there is the matter of Maharet and her friends-- they appear out of nowhere and have just enough screen time to establish the fact that there is a group of vampires who have congregated somewhere so that Lestat and Akasha can have a final showdown with them. Only Maharet’s character is given a quick explanation, and then Akasha shows up and the final confronation takes place, and it makes absolutely no sense and is just silly and poorly done. The only hope here was to create an well-crafted action scene but we don’t even get that. We have no idea who these other vampires are or how much power they have compared to Akasha (apparently they are Pandora, Armand, Mael, and Khayman, but I only know that from reading the web sites). So when they inexplicably hurl themselves at Akasha we don’t know what to think, and there is no real tension. And why does Armand apparently survive, but the others burn up? The whole thing just seemed anti-climatic.

    Anyway, feel free to let me know if you guys agree or disagree with any of my reactions.

  3. Chris Lynch

    Chris Lynch Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 29, 2001
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    I just got through seeing it myself, and my opinions almost mirror yours.

    The concert was the best scene. The way it presented itself, it built like the final confrontation was going to take place there. Deep down I knew it wouldn't, because there still more story left to be told, but it almost would have worked. I also found Marius to be one of the most interesting characters of the movie.

    One of the reasons I felt the movie fell apart after the concert was the sudden change in the emphasis of the movie. I had conflicting desires; on one hand, I felt Maharet's group should have been more developed--that was a group with a LOT of interesting history--and played more of a role in the movie overall, so that their stature at the final confrontation would have had more impact. On the other hand, I really didn't like the way Lestat just took a backseat to almost all the action in the finale, he was developed as the lead character, I felt he should remain so. I understand I couldn't have both (either it is Lestat's movie or the ensembles movie, with Lestat involved), but I wound up with neither.

    And although I enjoyed most of it, I felt that the history lesson on Lestat could have been truncated a little. Since it is impossible to cram all the stuff from the novel(s) in there, give us what is absolutely nessessary and get on with it. Plus, from what I understand, they dropped a little bit of The Vampire Lestat in there as well, so it felt like the proper ending was being crowded by the backstory.

    I am writing, by the way, from the perspective of someone who hasn't read the books, but has friends who are big fans (including my girlfriend) who tell me small stories from these books like they're pieces of folklore. Which is an interesting way to be exposed to Anne Rice. This movie was not perfect, but I really enjoyed my popcorn, and I had a good time.

    edit: P.S. I really enjoyed Aaliyah's performance. She was scary, very sexy, and she hung on to a pretty intimidating role. It breaks my heart I won't get to see her grace the screen in future films.
  4. steve jaros

    steve jaros Second Unit

    Sep 30, 1997
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    Baton Rouge, LA
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    1994's "Interview with the Vampire" was clearly an "A-movie" - a big budget, heavily hyped film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. It also did very decent box office, topping 100 million dollars.

    So why is QOTD a "B-movie"? That is, a smaller budget film with basically a cast of no-names, the late Aalyiah being the only one with any kind of "star" profile?

    I would have figured that, given the success of the first film, QOTD would have also been a big budget, A-list film as well. Anyone know what happened back at the studio?
  5. Ryan L B

    Ryan L B Supporting Actor

    Feb 5, 2002
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    who knows, maybe there were no MAJOR big time movie actresses who wanted the main part.
  6. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

    Feb 1, 2002
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    Here's a review from a student who has never read or seen any previous vampire movies including interview with the vampire. So this opinion is based on what I saw in this movie alone.
    The movie is a bloody thriller that lacks innovative special effects producing a gothic/Korn appeal.
    The movie portrays a story about how 200 years ago, a vampire named Lestat is spawned from a man named Marius. Lestat decides to spontaneously awaken during present time and reveal himself to the public as a Korn punk rock singer. Upon his revealing the secret of existance of the vampires to the world, he angers other vampires who then try to kill him.
    Meanwhile a human woman named Jesse? becomes intrigued with Lestat and longs to become a vampire to join her Aunt. She becomes Lestat's human love and represents compassion in Lestat's eternal conscience. Lestat then becomes unwilling to bring her to damnation.
    In the end, Lestat performs a punk rock concert (actually Korn) in front of the world while the vampires are lured to kill him. During the concert, a semi-matrix battle scene involving flash like movements and cloak martial arts provides plenty of eye candy. Marius then comes to help Lestat as they are overwhelmed as he makes a toad entrance. (Toad in X-man who stomps people) When the 2 become surrounded and in despair, the Queen of the Damned then makes her appearance. She effortlessly incinerates the vampires to floating ash in more (mediocre) special effects as she bursts through the stage as an entrance.
    Without spoiling the end, the queen joins powers with Lestat and they attempt to rule the world with only the remaining vampires able to stop them.
    Aaliya fit the role a little too well and I do not like the way it ends her career "as a Queen of the damned". As a vampire her skin should have been perfect like Lestat's but her forehead revewled otherwise.
    IMO the best special effects scene was in the end in the spiderweb display of black skin and ashes. Every thing else reminded me of effects seen on television. Also the cockroaches on a coffin were a little uncalled for in the openening scene. For some reason I could only picture Korn performing as Lestat's band played, so that didn't work out well. The queen as a statue was OK until the painted hand began to move in an unstone like manner.
    For audio: Excellent for Korn lovers who would like to hear 3 new Korn tracks as well as Orgy and some Disturbed in a THX certified audiophile heaven. In a climactic scene involving the Queen, the volume levels increase accordingly and really fill the theater with Korn. [​IMG] Not much low frequencies for bass but there were a lot of noticeable ambient sounds like rainfall, water fountains, and background talking.
    Trailers were dissapointing as there was nothing new, the fright scenes were predictable and therefore not startling. In conclusion the movie is a sexy gothic thriller with bloody fangs and heart squishing gore. A predictable storyline linked with action sequences and intimate vampire love making. I give it a 7/10 for letting me hear a strong punk soundtrack in an audio system I could never afford. [​IMG]
  7. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

    Oct 26, 2000
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  8. Demetri K

    Demetri K Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 29, 2001
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    I just saw Queen of the Damned. I thought it was a pretty good flick, Although some things bothered me in it, I feel it was very entertaining. Just wanted to get your take on it!!
  9. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

    Mar 23, 2000
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    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but wasn't the Queen (Akasha) a statue in the book? I thought she manipulated society from her shell, of sorts, never moving. From what I'm hearing (and seeing from trailers) she's this fiesty hot mama that gets her kicks by going toe-to-toe with all kinds of folks.
  10. Anthony R

    Anthony R Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 5, 2001
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    In the novel, she was essentially in a statue-like trance for thousands of years before being woken by Lestat's music and going forth with her plan to dominate the world. One difference was that she retained her statue-like appearance as she walked around. Both she and Maharet had skin like alabaster because they were 6,000 years old. And their hair and clothes never appeared to be made of statue.
  11. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

    Mar 7, 2001
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    Brooklyn, NY
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    Damin J. Toell
    what was up with the odd blurring effect on people's faces during close-ups? it was pretty jarring, considering that a) no blur existed on long shots, making for a feeling of inconsistency, and b) it ended up looking very low-res-video-like in picture quality.

    as for overall thoughts, i didn't care for the film it all. it felt like it had straight-to-video written all over it; meangingful character development and pacing were mostly non-existent. i've never read the books (except for about 50 pages of "Interview"), but my girlfriend, an avid Rice reader, thought the film was a terrible adaptation.

  12. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Jun 17, 1999
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    This film was definitely made specifically to retain the rights to the Vampire Chronicles. I have no idea why they'd go to the effort though, since it seems they don't CARE enough to make a quality Vampire Chronicles film. It's like they threw out "The Vampire Lestat" and "Queen of the Damned" and said "your goal is to make it slightly better than Dracula 2000".
    The Positives
    - Blood as vampires tears. This was established in the novel and NOT kept in "Interview". It was nice to see that nod to the history.
    - Maharet's grand family. Though barely introduced, this was a compelling facet of Maharet (and Mekare). It was nice that it was kept in, though I imagine non-readers barely understood the point.
    - Lestat's rock career. This seemed pretty true to the book, even if they did skip over the novel that he wrote (which Jesse could easily pick up at any bookseller).
    The Negatives
    - Mekare (mewho?) she's a hugely important character and she's just excised
    - The lack of history of Akasha and Maharet/Mekare. How did Akasha and M&M come to be? I think this would interest audiences as it was one of the best parts of QotD
    - The immoliation of various high level vampires at will. I'm pretty sure Pandora is still alive, though this film would have you beleive otherwise. Those who must be unnamed were supposedly some of the more prominent Vampires (including Armand to my surprise) but I had no clue who was supposed to be whom. I can only imagine that Armand was one of the men, and Pandora was one of the women.
    - Marius Created Lestat - excuse me?
    - Lestat Created Jesse - excuse me?
    - They completely glazed over WHY Marius was keeping the King and Queen. "Those who must be kept" or how his situation came to be.
    - Lestat has no mommy. Though this was no big surprise, it was still upsetting. I figured she was axed when his dad wasn't in Interview.
    - Louis is no more. Apparently Louis decided to stay in hiding for the rest of his life.
    I might have to read the books to come up with more, but I have no doubt there are other glaring omissions and changes. I know that running time is a concern, but I think that if QotD was well made it could sustain a running time. As it _was_ made I had trouble not laughing at points - particularly the rock concert.
    Seeing how well Peter Jackson did at Lord of the Rings I imagined that the Vampire Chronicles could do well to be made back to back (The Vampire Lestat as it's own movie) but with more reflection I think the Vampires really belong on Showtime or HBO. More Showtime as it seems more "their thing". Twenty Episodes each for the 5 core books (including the one where she inserted vampires because it wouldn't sell without them) with the ancillary books intertwined as necessary.
    This may never come to be as Anne decided to put her seal of approval on this flick. I wonder if she saw a different film than I did. Or perhaps in a different state. I guess we'll have to wait until WB is going to lose their rights again. Part of me hopes this film doesn't do well, but it looks like they are already on track to make a profit.
  13. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

    Oct 10, 2000
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    QOTD (filmed mostly in Australia) cost $80 million Aussie dollars, or around $40 million US. Not comparable to some bigger movies, but hardly a low-budget production.

    The director, Michael Rymer, had previously filmed a well-regarded Australian drama called ANGEL BABY, which won Australian actress Jaqueline MacKenzie a Best Actress AFI award (the Australian equivalent of the Oscars) down here in the mid-90's. I don't think Rymer had ever shown any inclination to make a genre movie till QOTD. There are Government rules in Australia that require a certain number of Australian crew members to be used if overseas productions want to get a certain tax break during their shoot. Rymer has a director's credit on QOTD but reports in industry magazines down here (along with what I've heard repeatedly from folks who worked on the shoot) is that Rymer was basically a sock puppet, with most of the creative control being wielded by the American producers.

    QUEEN OF THE DAMNED sat on the shelf for a long while and had begun to be reported locally as a probable direct-to-video release (the most costly one in Australian film history) until Aaliyah died in that plane crash. The resultant publicity gave studio execs the impetus they needed to do some quick reshoots to prepare the film for a hasty theatrical release. From the reviews I've read, the film hasn't pleased too many people, but I imagine Rymer (who I've heard is a decent guy) was well paid for his time.
  14. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

    Jan 6, 1999
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    I was reading all the Vampire Chornicles
    for the first time right when Queen of the Damned
    was being released in its first non-hardcover pressing,
    and I was obsessed.
    I have to say I really thought the film played
    like a Clif's Notes version of the the last
    third of The Vampire Lestat
    and the last half of The Queen of the Damned,
    only if this was Clif's Notes, I'd want a refund,
    because whole sections and pages missing
    in the Clif's Notes version too!
    I liked the scenes of Akasha when Lestat wakes
    her up the first time. In fact, I may buy the
    DVD just for that scene. Also, the scenes
    with Lestat and his band worked better for
    me than I thought they would, as did the
    scenes where, without too much effort, Akasha
    can pretty much burst any younger vampire
    into flames.
    But, The film failed to mention
    that since Akasha's blood is the pure source
    of vampiric power, that one who gets to drink
    from her is going to be MUCH stronger than
    90% of the vampires out there. Frankly, even
    without Akasha's intervetion, based on the books,
    it is doubtful the maybe 200 year old vampires at
    the concert would've been able to suceed in
    killing Lestat...
    It is also why, when Louis
    and Claudia set him to flame in
    Interview With The Vampire,
    he survives...his blood is too powerful
    because he drank from Akasha PRIOR to
    when he made Louis and Claudia.
    But the rest of the movie was more poorly
    realized than I could even imagine.
    (And I'd heard all the awful reports.)
    I realise they needed to simplify things,
    but it astounds me that they would try to
    jump over The Vampre Lestat,
    just to get to Queen of the Damned,
    in doing so they did a huge disservice to both
    I knew they would never get away with the
    book's resolution of Akasha, which is too bad,
    because the books had a much more interesting
    If you kill Akasha, all vampires will die,
    because all vampiric powers are seated in her,
    and to kill her it to kill all vampires.
    It would be like trying to turn on your
    computer, but if you rip out the electrical
    current, it is dead...And in the book, all the
    vampires get weak as they attack Akasha because
    they are weakening her...not because she fights back.
    And, as gross as it was in the book, the much
    gorier resolution (of the book) was more
    poetic and hooked right back into the spirituality
    of Merkare and Maharet.
    And, when Akasha first relveals her plans to
    Lestat in the book, there is a whole
    philosophy to her plan, and the viewer thinks,
    "She is right!", which
    explains why Lestat, with his cavlier attitude
    towards consequences, would go off with her.
    I totally rooted for Akasha in the book
    until I heard what Maharet, Enkil and Marius
    had to say about her and her past.
    In the film it is all totally hokey, and really
    makes no sense whatsoever.
    Finally, I do think that Stewart and Alliyah
    did very good jobs with their parts considering
    what they were working with... I wasn't thrilled
    that Alliyah got cast, but was more than happy with
    her performance.
    And, yes, John B is right- The movie missed many
    opportunities, most notably, the inclusion of Lestat's
    mother, who everyone I know thinks is one of the best
    characters, and while Louis was not integral to
    either Lestat's story or Akasha's awakening, it would
    have been nice to see him included.
    Lestat's story in an of itself is really quite
    quite good, and I wish they had just stuck to
    focussing on one book and making it as good as it
    could be, which would've taken 3 hours in a very
    Harry Potter and
    Lord of the Rings manner.
    If anything comes from those two films, it is the
    hope that good, highly engaging
    literary works don't get this kind of hack job
    again, because all the things that make the books
    best sellers are non-existant in this film.
  15. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

    Feb 1, 2002
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    M. Walker do you push enter every line? because your post looks like a giant slim column at my screen resolution.

    My friend got the sound track and I found out the lead singer of Korn (Jonathan davis) sang lyrics to songs like Redeemer while other bands played the instrumentals such as Static X.
  16. Sam Hatch

    Sam Hatch Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 22, 2000
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    Jon Davis also appeared in one scene before the concert as a ticket scalper.
    What's weirder is that he co-wrote the score with the original keyboardist from Oingo Boingo. Two great bands that I could have never imagined working together.
  17. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 30, 2001
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    it is really good to read that people here who have read all of the "Chronicles" still enjoyed the film to some extent. I have read the Chronicles three times, plus every other vampire-related book by Anne Rice.

    How soon will a movie like this make it to video??? My gf refuses to see this movie with me and I won't go to it alone.
  18. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

    Jan 6, 1999
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    I'd be shocked if The Queen of the Damned
    doesn't find its way to DVD by August. And, even
    stating that, I bet it will be sooner. Strike
    while it is still in people's minds for a film
    this mixed.

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