Newest Review: ... greatest mystery; the bizarre timing of this release. Six years after the show's final episode, interest had waned, resulting in a corres... more
The mystery of the dead cash cow
The X Files - I Want To Believe (DVD)
Member Name: stevek181
The X Files - I Want To Believe (DVD)
Advantages: Chance for fans to see Mulder & Scully again but not a lot else.
Disadvantages: Poor script and plot will disappoint fans and non-fans alike.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
"X Files: I Want To Believe" is the ultimate mystery film; the mystery being, unfortunately, why it ever got made in the first place.
If it is a final goodbye to two beloved, iconic characters, it comes across as a damp squib. Mulder and Scully share precious little screen time together and, even in those fleeting moments, lack any chemistry or spark. The sexual tension between them has evaporated since they have become an item and not really been replaced by anything else. Both find it hard to recreate characters they had, in truth, long since left behind.
Possibly it is intended as a finale to the much loved show, but it barely scratches the surface of the intrigue and supernatural mystery that made the programme so popular. Whilst the need to avoid getting bogged down in complicated conspiracy theories and explanations is understandable, the viewer is left with an unsatisfying, plodding and generic drama/thriller with vague supernatural undertones. There doesn't seem to be any need for Mulder and Scully to be involved at all, except I suppose to generate a bit of extra revenue.
And herein lies the greatest mystery; the bizarre timing of this release. Six years after the show's final episode, interest had waned, resulting in a correspondingly low take at the box office. Even after all that time, I could've understood the point if it turned out to be an explosive finale, or even a dramatic prelude to an XFiles comeback, but instead it is a stand-alone. What, in that case, is the point?
The plot revolves around a missing FBI agent and psychic/paedophile/priest/walking cliche Father Joe (Billy Connelly). Father Joe has psychic visions about the case and the FBI call upon their former supernatural-investigating agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to help them out. The reluctant Scully, now a doctor, is "tired of looking into looking into the darkness" and reluctant to get involved but, as always, Mulder is drawn in against Scully's better judgement. Are the paedo-priest's revelations genuine or the work of a desperate and possibly insane mind attempting to make up for past evils? And, if they are real, will they be able decipher his visions and rescue the missing FBI agent before it's too late?
The film isn't entirely without merit. It looks pretty good for starters; filmed in snow covered landscapes that emphasize the ever-present but hidden menace. Billy Connelly looks the part of a soul in torment and his performance is decent, given the clichéd character he is playing. Duchovny's performance is lazy but reasonable enough whilst Anderson outshines everyone on screen.
However, it is difficult to get away from the feeling that this is a fairly forgettable episode of the X-Files, dragged out into feature length format. Although of reasonable quality, it feels very much a paint-by-numbers thriller with clichéd characters and low-budget action. It asks questions as faith, particularly as part of an almost irrelevant sub-story involving a seriously ill child and stem-cell research, but it's all kind of GSCE Religious Studies debate-esque.
I was never hugely into the X-Files, I always watched the odd episode (which I generally enjoyed) and intended to watch more, but never quite got round to it. Even from my detached point of view though, I can see that the film lacks the geeky-cool appeal of the series and much of the style and panache that made it such a hit. I just can't see too many redeeming features here; for a fan it's a bit of a pointless disappointment, nothing's revealed here except that the previously dynamic duo got older and bitter (and Mulder grew a mad hillbilly beard). And as a standalone film, there's absolutely nothing to make it stand out from the run-of-the-mill, fatigued thriller that it is. To top it all, even the title is crap.
Length: 104 Minutes
Ratings: Pretty low all round, scoring 5.8/10 on IMDB and 32% on Rotten Tomatoes
Family Suitability: It was given a 15 Certificate for some fairly gory scenes, mild swearing and discussions about paedophiles and child abuse.
Director (and creator of the original X-Files series) Chris Carter seems a bit out of his depth here. X-Files: I Want To Believe is a pretty dull thriller that comes across as a feature-length episode stretched beyond breaking point. Technically, it is a reasonable effort, but it lacks in style. The dialogue, some decent Mulder one-liners apart, is poor and the whole movie is a bit under-developed with a patched together plot and fairly unbelievable scenarios involving an enemy whose lack of nous would make a scoobie-doo villain blush. Not recommended.
The truth is out there. As are better films.
Summary: Mediocre padded-out epsiode of hit TV show
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