All those fears of Anne Rice fans that were more or less averted with the Interview with the Vampire adaptation come back in a rush of melodrama, posing, and Marilyn Manson nonsense. In this yellow brick roadkill of a film, Queen of the Damned is a sprawling overblown mess leaving you with the almost inconceivable notion that you actually prefer a film that has Tom Cruise in it.The standard for vampires on screen (be it the big or small screen) is now Joss Whedon's vampire series. Even when things are better than Buffy you are still making comparisons. Buffy is the benchmark.
You compare the heroes, the vampires, the coolness, the story, the dialogue or the action, how the vampires die, or the rules for vampire living. They're either better or worse than Buffy, but either way Buffy is on your mind.
Lestat (Townsend) is feeling a little left out after being buried for a few decades, and so decides to become a rock star. Kind of like all rock stars I guess. The twist though is that Lestat is going to use his rock star-ness to tell the world of vampires. That's a big no no in vampire etiquette and brings the wrath of most vampires that prefer the hidden world of dark alleys, secret attacks and dodgy Goth nightclubs.
Letat's actions also bring the attention of two women. One, Jesse (Moreau) a vampire investigator who is probably a little too keen and Akasha (Aaliyah) the Queen of all vampires who didn't really like all that keep hidden business in the first place.
While all your Goth friends will hurtle themselves to this movie like a cloud of bats, all the rest of you should probably give it a miss and stay at home and start a petition to get Eliza Dushku back on Buffy.
It's probably all Townsend's fault. All that Irish charm he had in About Adam was sucked out of him. He combines the style of Eric Draven and all the high camp silliness and I'm-taking-myself-far-too-seriously-ness of Marilyn Manson to gives us these I'm-too-sexy-to-even-breathe looks. Which I guess makes sense on paper, but on screen it makes you cringe.
I'd feel far too cold to criticise Aaliyah given her fate after filming. But really, that's the only reason not to castigate her performance.
In these sort of films you usually find someone doing his/her best for the team. This time it's Perez who as Marius gives an air of refinement and emotion that is lacking elsewhere. Moreau also looks decorously angsty and passionate in her effort as Jesse.
The film looks sweet and the story is something you will buy if you've already bought Rice's book. Yet Rymer's direction leaves you colder than the film's protagonists.
There were rumours that once Warner knew how the film was to turn out, the plans were to just release it straight to video. That's the most telling thing about this film. It just doesn't work and straight to video probably would have been a deserved fate.
To think that Rymer made the aching Angel Baby, just makes things worse.Stick with Buffy.