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QUEEN OF THE DAMNED Reviews Pouring In!! It Sucked!!

Hey folks, Harry here... Got a call from Mysterio last night who turned down the blender blades to tell me that this flick blew like those gals on the corner of Hollywood and Gardner... the ones with the goatees and moustache and brownish hair with alleged highlights and the cellulite packed fishnets that are torn just a little so that they get ya in the mood to run screaming from the town. Anyway, his review is coming soon, but till then, here's what a couple of AICNers thought...

Just got back from the screening of QOTD here on the West Coast.

It's doesn't deserve to go direct to video, as was first reported. However, the movie is pretty boring overall....but the big surprise -- Aaliyah was GREAT. Not in it very long (one of the myriad of problems the hardcore die-hard Anne Rice fans won't like), it's sad to see her on-screen as she has INCREDIBLE presence. She may have been a huge star in films. Her scene where she wipes out a whole bar of vampires is GREAT!!

But the problems in this are the perfs. Everyone is bland, and the girl playing Jessie is AWFUL.

The film runs 105 minutes and it feels 20 too long. The first half is better because it focuses on information from the VAMPIRE LESTAT novel, but when they get back to QOTD, it falls apart. They miss out on all the cool parts of that novel and focus on all the mythology of the Chronicles and not the great moments.

Like I said, bland, boring. Stuart Townsend does a passable Lestat, Vincent Perez is a bland Marius, Lena Olin is just awful as is the aforememtioned girl, Jessie.

Not much to give away, but if you read the book, you probably won't like the film.

That's all from here....

Pike Bishop

Earhart is next...

Earhart reporting in after tonight’s test screening of “The Queen of the Damned". Spoilers be here.

Sigh. Where to begin. Disappointment permeates the air.

Hardcore Anne Rice fans are gonna hate this. Anne Rice is gonna hate this. The uninitiated might just find themselves confused, as my companion did. Yet I’d say it’s worth seeing if only for one thing: Aaliyah.

A huge fan of almost everything vampire with Anne Rice at the head of the list, I was excited about this one. But I figured out in the first ten minutes that I’d either need to let go of my hopes for seeing the book presented on screen or settle in for an unpleasant evening. The story is at best loosely based on the book. Stuart Townsend does a two hour Jim Morrison/Ziggy Stardust impression complete with too-tight leather pants and iridescent eyeshadow. Vincent Perez portrays a leering Marius in the worst case of bad casting since Kevin Costner as Robin Hood. Other favorite characters (Khayman, Mael) were so physically ridiculous they drew laughter every time they appeared. Costumes generally looked like they’d been rented from the local temporary Halloween shop.

Still, this has a few great things in it’s favor:

Aaliyah, Aaliyah, Aaliyah. I’d never heard of this lady before, and she just knocked me out. I couldn’t tear my eyes off her. How sorry I am that I’ll only get to see her in the next Matrix movie. She was spot-on perfect as the Queen of the Damned. Her initial scene in which Akasha enters a vampire bar and kills everyone in her path was visually stunning and drew raucous applause. She clearly cared a great deal about doing a good job with this role and it shows. She seems to move in slow motion, catlike. She is mysterious, electric.

Marius’ island, an apparent amalgam of locations from the book, was gorgeous inside and out.

A subtle new take on bullet time is used very effectively for super-human vampire motion including "flying". It’s impressive without being distracting.

The music. I have never been a fan of metal or anything close to it, yet this is what the book clearly calls for, and the filmmakers have chosen well. I know nothing of which bands or artists were used, but the flavor was just right, heavy with a sexy edge.

But what the hell is up with: two fangs on each side of every vampires’ mouth? The wall with the "tree of the Great Family" bleeding as Lestat "kills" Jesse? Vampires with glowing eyes? Jesse’s Princess Leia/Mickey Mouse hairdo and roadkill bear coat when she visits a vampire coven? Lestat taking Jesse flying in a hopelessly lame sequence to show her what it’s like to be a vampire (is this a vampire movie or freaking Peter Pan)? Lestat and Jesse kissing and skipping off into their apparent happy couplehood at the end?

If you’re a hardcore Anne Rice fan you might find it hard to forgive: Lestat walking around in the sunlight and Akasha telling him her blood has given him the strength for it; Marius being the one to give Lestat the Dark Gift; Lestat as the constantly remorseful killer; David Talbot as a 40 year old man; and trivially (but I’d say importantly) Lestat with brown hair.

On the other hand, if you’ve never read the book, you might enjoy it. Or you might just find yourself perplexed. Character development was clearly weak, and my viewing companion felt like everything needed inside knowledge he didn’t have. In spite of a quick initial voice over, he was confused about why Lestat rose from the grave just to join a rock band, especially one so wacky. People applauded when the words "Talamasca Headquarters" appeared on screen, and again whenever Aaliyah appeared, adding to the mystery for someone who’s not "in the know".

Okay, so this is a schizophrenic review. The Anne Rice fan in me was appalled, the general vampire fan was intrigued and entertained. On the whole I’d say yes, go see it, but don’t expect fireworks.

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