X-Files: I Want to Believe
It is very uncommon for a television series to come to the movies after years of being off the air. Sure the one notable exception is the original ‘Star Trek’ but other than that the TV shows that make this transition are extremely rare. I am not talking about something like ‘Charlie’s Angels’ where the series was used as a basis for a re-imagined movie with a new cast. For a film to reunite the original cast and crew is just about unheard of. The exception that proves the rule is ‘The X-Files’. The original series ran for an almost unprecedented nine seasons, quite an accomplishment for a science fiction oriented TV show. Between the fifth and sixth season, there was a movie released ‘The X-Files: Fight the Future’ that did well enough due in large part to the legion of faithful fans. That movie bridged the gap between the two seasons and continued the extraterrestrial story arc that was one of the dominant themes of the series. The second film, ‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’ came around six years after the series concluded. Since there was not to be a new season of the TV series to follow up after this film, it was decided to make it more of a stand-alone film. This was a mixture of good and bad news for the fans. They go,t another chance to see their heroes; FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) finally back in action. This was particularly important to the many X-Files fans out there the reappearance of Scully and Mulder was fantastic. They had parted ways towards the end of the TV series and were mostly replaced by new cast members. This was a chance to revisit the old school X-Files. Not unusual for a sequel flick the budget for this one was slashed from $66 million for the first movie to a mere $30 million. This is miniscule for a major studio-backed Sci-Fi flick. While it did not do as well as hoped in the theaters, there is a DVD and Blu-ray release that is certain to be welcomed by the fan base if for no other reason than completeness. The film is better than m, ost based on TV sequel films and should be considered more on its own merits than an extension of the show.
The writing team of Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz reunite for the script of this movie. Carter created the original series along with Spotnitz was responsible for most of the major storylines and screenplays for it. Spotnitz filled in the time between the end of the X Files and this movie with another re-imagined cult classic horror TV series ‘ Night Stalker’ to keep his hand in an associated genre. Since the ninth and final season of the series ended with a cliffhanger that would not be resolved Carter and Spotnitz had to come up with a means to reunite the two leads naturally and more importantly in a fashion that would not be rejected by the fans. The faithful followers of this series are well known for their attention to detail. Any deviation from the established mythos of the story would result in a rebellion online and in the convention circuit. It appears that the idea of continuing the major storylines of the series was too much to handle and would result in a feeling of teasing the fans. Since there are no plans to resurrect the series it was better that this was a stand-alone story set in the universe of the X Files. This did give a little more leeway to the writers to play with the story having pulled away from the usual arcs. This was met with mixed reactions from the fans. Many fans wanted to see Scully and Mulder back fighting the Syndicate and aliens; Others were just satisfied to see them together again after so many years apart. Being an isolated story also allows the audience unfamiliar with the X Files and its complex back stories to enjoy a reasonably solid Sci-Fi thriller. It is just that after devoting so many years to those back stories, the die-hard fan will be disappointed with this screenplay. It just doesn’t enfold you as the series did. This was common in the old comic days when they would slip in an issue that put the current plot aside to concentrate on character development. Unfortunately, in this film, the characters were so well defined already that they seem like ghosts of their former selves.
Carter may have only directed a handful of episodes for the series, but he was the mastermind behind it. It takes the reigns here as a director who gave fans a lot of hope for the film. Without the foundation of the series mythology, this film has to work harder to tell the story at hand. He also had to contend with the stars taking on roles they left behind years ago. It has to be difficult for any actor to revisit a well-established role. Both of the main actors worked hard to put the roles of Scully and Mulder behind and expand their considerable acting talents. The characters were back, but there was a certain spark in the performances that was missing. After playing characters in the midst of such complex plot lines, this story was too thin to showcase what they are capable of doing properly.
Now six years after the end of the series Scully has returned to her career in medicine. She is now on staff at Our Lady of Sorrows hospital. To her surprise, she is approached by FBI Special Agent Mosley Drummy (Xzibit). He needs to locate the now fugitive ex-agent Mulder. In return for his help in a certain difficult and important case, the FBI will call off their search for Mulder and drop any outstanding charges that might be pending. Several young women have gone missing, and one of them is an FBI agent, Monica Bannan (Xantha Radley). Of course, Scully knows the whereabouts of Mulder; his is living in a small house nearby. Initially he believes this is just a trap by the FBI but eventually, Scully talks him into it. The one clue that the FBI has is a paranormal one; hence the need for Mulder. A former priest Father Joe Fitzgerald Crissman (Billy Connolly) has been having visions involving details of the crimes. He was defrocked for pedophilia. In typical fashion, Mulder wants to believe, but Scully is disgusted by the ex-priest and discounts his so-called visions. One of the agents on the case is Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) who is familiar with Mulder and Scully’s X Files days and feels this is the only option available to solve the crimes. It does turn out that over the years Mulder and Scully have moved on from their old tension-filled relationship and is a secret couple at this point. They follow the clues and find that there are more to Father Joe’s visions than meet the eye.
The film does not work as an extension of the series but does manage to hold together as a spooky thriller. The acting could have been more expressive but is passable. Fox has released the film on both DVD and Blu-ray. In the high definition version, the technical qualities are fantastic. The colors are rich and vibrant with a stark contrast perfect to show off your high-end system. The audio is in DTS HD which will give your speakers a workout, but the subwoofer is mostly silent here. There is little in the way of spectacular explosions that most subwoofer fans wait for. As with the first film, there is a slew of extras to keep you going after the final credits end.
Posted 12/06/08 Posted 08/05/2018