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The X Files: I Want To Believe (2008)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Special Edition)
Genres:
Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction, Supernatural Thriller
Director:
Chris Carter Chris Carter
Starring:
David Duchovny David Duchovny
Gillian Anderson Gillian Anderson
Amanda Peet Amanda Peet
Billy Connolly Billy Connolly
Xzibit Xzibit

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 30, 2008
The final episode of "The X-Files" aired on May 19, 2002, just over six-years ago. By that time, David Duchovny was barely popping up on the series and Robert Patrick had been brought in to serve as Agent Scully's right-hand man. The last time "The X-Files" was seen in theatres was in the Summer of 1998 when the first film hit. So why - after all these years - would series creator Chris Carter decide it was time to bring Mulder & Scully back to life? If you would have asked me this six months ago, my response would have been, "Who cares - bring it on!" Having watched the film now, I can't help but feel that the final nail has been hammered into the coffin that once was the greatest science fiction series on television. "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" is the second film based on the series and director Chris Carter intended the film to be a stand-alone picture; a film that didn't require previous knowledge of the series, the first film, or the characters. He has stated that he wanted to make a creepy horror story that stood on its own merits. Well, if that was his intention, I have to say that he has failed pretty miserably. "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" works on some levels, and in the end I am probably giving it a slight recommendation, but it's nowhere close to as strong as the first film or the very best episodes in the series. Creator Chris Carter should have spent more time developing the story and then really delivered on what true fans of the series have been waiting for - answers to many question still 'out there' thanks to the series.

The opening sequence of this film writes a check that the rest of the picture cannot cash. We see two scenes cutting back-and-forth between one another. We see a young F.B.I. agent (Xantha Radley) coming home and being accosted by two assailants. We also see a line of F.B.I. agents walking across an iced over pond, headed by Father Joe (Billy Connolly). This sequence is very well shot and got me rather excited. We then find out that Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) now spends her time diagnosing terminally ill children at a Catholic hospital and that Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) spends his time locked in his room, tearing out newspaper clippings and still obsessing over conspiracy theories. Mulder is summoned by the F.B.I. - specifically Agent Whitney (Amanda Peet) and Agent Drummy (Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner) - to help in the case of the missing F.B.I. agent and he coaxes Scully into assisting him in the investigation. Father Joe is a former priest and convicted pedophile who claims to have visions that are leading him to important clues in the case. Scully, as always, is the skeptic and can't get over Father Joe's past to believe him. At the center of all of this is the relationship between Mulder and Scully, which has gone in some surprising and not unexpected directions since the last time we left our paranormal duo. The film wants to be about faith and the battle between good and evil and it wants to show what the power of belief can do. All the film ends up doing is reminding us of how amazing the series once was.

Problems from the beginning: The central storyline is just not very interesting. It involves two missing women and body parts being frozen in the ice. It involves a mad scientist and his lab and the evil experiments he carries out there. But, keep in mind this film is rated PG-13, so we really don't get a lot when we look into that lab of his. We get one genuinely creepy shot of a severed head moving while unattached from its body, but that's it. My favorite "The X-Files" episodes were the ones that involving the paranormal or the extraterrestrial. "I Want to Believe" doesn't really have any sort of supernatural entity to it whatsoever. And with a location like the one they had and with a terrific supporting character like Father Joe, they really could have done something special with the story. I was not invested in any of the side characters in this film. Mulder and Scully held my attention, and rightfully so, but everyone else just seemed to be serving the purposes of what I consider to be a lackluster script. Amanda Peet is not particularly interesting, and the surprise event that happens involving her characters really leaves us with no emotion, especially since the lead characters treat it with such breezy sentimentality. Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner seems like it was more stunt casting than anything else. I have to imagine there were better actors out there for that role than a rapper/wannabe actor. The ending of the film also leaves a sad taste in the audience's mouth because it ends the film on such an odd note for the series. That's not how "The X-Files" should end. Even in trying to create a stand-alone picture, you have to hold true to something.

As mentioned earlier, I had great appreciation for that opening sequence; I just wish the rest of the film could have continued that excellence. I thought David Duchovny and, especially, Gillian Anderson slipped back into their roles with comfort and ease. Anderson, in this film, seemed more like the Scully from Seasons 1 & 2 of the series than the Scully who ended the series. The always great character actor Billy Connolly delivers a mesmerizing performance in a role that should have been surrounded by better material. And, a series regular pops up towards the end and offers just the right amount of nostalgia for the picture. Another compliment I can hand Chris Carter and his crew is that they kept the plot details secret and it paid off. I didn't know what to expect from the two lead characters, and had heard nothing about the plot of the film - other than the details that the trailer have away. This provided a couple of genuine plot twists that I didn't see coming and that I really found engaging and worthwhile. As I mentioned earlier, I am recommending this film, and a lot of that has to do with those plot twists and how well they were presented. I think fans of the series are going to appreciate them more than the average movie goer, but it was nice to see that Chris Carter did try to give hardcore fans something to take away from the theatre.

So, should you see "The X-Files: I Want to Believe"? Sure. Why not? There are far worse films for you to spend your $9.00 on these days. If you were a fan of the series or a fan of the first film, you might enjoy more aspects of the new picture, but I don't think you'll love it. The sad thing is that this film only grossed close to $10 million at the box office opening weekend, which means this likely was the final nail in the coffin that was "The X-Files". It's a shame. I would love to see Mulder and Scully handle more cases and I would love to see those two characters get another chance to shine...but in higher quality material. If you really want an authentic "X-Files" fix, dig up the episode "Home" from Season 5 of the series...that is probably my favorite episode of the show to date and I think that will be enough to find you satiated. Also, and this is a side not, I am sick and tired of casting directors constantly trying to make an audience believe that someone who looks as stunning as Amanda Peet would not only be an F.B.I. agent but also be stationed at the worst possible area in the country for someone like her. Maybe that's the way it happens in real life, but I rarely see an F.B.I. agent that looks that amazing. Cut us some friggin' slack.

6/10.
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Edd #1: Edd - added 07/30/2008, 11:15 AM
This movie was unintentionally funny. I know they tried to seem funny with the George W. Bush thing, but the guy at the pool sounded rediculous. Boring movie anyways. Frankenstein? Come on. Gimme some aliens. 5/10
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 07/30/2008, 11:59 AM
I thought the George W. Bush thing was hilarious...and I think that's what they were going for. Lots of people forget how quirky and funny the television series was, at times. It always had a nice sense of humor.
George Snow #3: George Snow - added 01/02/2009, 01:57 AM
I enjoyed this. It is mediocre compared to the best TV episodes. But, it was like visiting old friends, they're never as exciting as they were when they were younger. It was nice to see Mulder and Scully living together.
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