Queen of the Damned, the latest big screen adaptation of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, is brought to life through the vision of director Michael Rymer. Although destined to capture a movie goer’s taste for fantasy, the film is surprisingly shallow, leaving some areas unfulfilled.
Stuart Townsend revives the role of Lestat (played by Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire), a lonely, frustrated vampire disappointed with the fate of immortality. Lestat wants a change in his dull and drab lifestyle. Centuries of sleep and sucking blood isn’t intriguing anymore, so he decides to create a rock band, gaining immediate fame and fortune faster than you can say Britney Spears.
Lestat, with a bleeding thirst for infamy, upsets fellow immortals. Breaking all the vampire rules one by one, Lestat’s songs reveal coveted vampire secrets. His music, however, is enchanting enough to awake Queen Akasha (Aaliyah), the mother of all vampires.
Akasha, sexy and selfishly evil, is completely struck by Lestat’s rebellious and animalistic nature. Not used to being refused, she seeks Lestat’s companionship and seeks to rule the world once again.
The opening of Queen of the Damned is visually stimulating, combining excellent music and quick editing with Lestat’s self-reflective voice-over, offering an engaging look into the vampire realm. As the film continues, however, it loses speed but doesn’t sacrifice other visual elements such as costume and set design.
It’s somewhat disappointing to see Aaliyah the title character enter the film an hour into it, and even more disappointing to hear a computerized version of her voice. Although her dialogue is short and her presence in the film is not as immense as the trailers depict, what is revealed is an excellent actress making the most of her role.
Likewise, the other actors in the film are impressive. Unfortunately, despite the occasionally witty dialogue, the script doesn’t allow for a true showcase of talent and skill.
Visually, Queen of the Damned is reminiscent of so many other action films like The Mummy and The Matrix. Sadly, there is nothing below the surface. What you see vampire gore, lust, and special effects is exactly what you get.