- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by David Medsker
or a show that got its kicks out of asking question after question about what be believe to be true, “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” inspires a few questions of its own, but of a much simpler nature. For starters, why does this movie even exist? It has been ten years since Mulder and Scully made their debut on the big screen, and six years since the show went off the air. Was anyone really asking for a sequel? It feels as in-demand and noteworthy as a movie starring the cast of “The O.C.” or “Malcolm in the Middle.” Successful shows all, but…done.
Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is practicing medicine at a church-run facility, when FBI Agent Drummy (Xzibit, the most unlikely Fed in movie history) approaches her asking if she knows how they can contact Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), who was disgraced on trumped-up charges years earlier, for help on a new case. Scully contacts him, and Fox says he’ll do it if Scully will help him, something she’s reluctant to do for a number of reasons. For starters, she has a very sick boy that she’s caring for, and to top that, the Feds’ main assistance on the case is from a former priest (Billy Connolly) who claims to have “visions,” which no one in the Bureau believes for a second save Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet), a “believer” who personally requested Mulder’s involvement.
It’s amusing to think that “X-Files” creator Chris Carter – and this movie’s co-writer and director – went with a self-contained, ‘monster of the week’ angle for a movie so far past its sell-by date. The idea, of course, is that this will make the movie more appealing to people who aren’t well steeped in the show’s complex mythology, but really, who else is there but the diehard fans of the show that are excited to see this in the first place? As crazy as it sounds from a marketing perspective, they should have gone the opposite route: do it for the diehards and forget everybody else, because if you make the diehards happy, they’ll come back and see it again. Instead, they made it for everyone, and in the end they will not score repeat viewings from anyone.
There is another, more basic reason why they should have avoided the ‘monster of the week’ scenario: it doesn’t lend itself well to a full-length feature film. Because the plot is drawn out over an hour longer than your typical episode, there is little in the way of suspense. There are some disturbing moments, but from the viewer’s perspective, the bad guys are hiding in plain sight, making it difficult to get too involved in any of it. Even when they insert some scenes of Mulder and Scully addressing their past (including a scene where they’re inexplicably in bed together after not speaking for ages), it feels forced and unnatural. Duchovny and Anderson pick up right where they left off in terms of being their characters, but it’s hard to care.
There was a movie to be had here, but it should have been had four years ago, and with a more involved story line. As it is, “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” is a day late and a dollar short on a number of levels. Mulder, Scully, and X-Philes the world over deserve better than this.
Ultimate X-Philes Edition Review:
The single-disc Blu-ray release of “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” is almost as disappointing as the movie itself. If you didn’t fall asleep in theaters, you will while listening to the audio commentary by director Chris Carter and co-writer Frank Spotnitz, which is also available as a picture-in-picture video track. Additionally, you can’t even view the in-movie features (like behind-the-scenes footage and interviews) while watching the movie, and the included deleted scenes and gag reel are a waste of time. There are really only three extras worth mentioning: the comprehensive, 86-minute making-of featurette “Trust No One,” a highly enjoyable production featurette (“Body Parts”) with special make-up effects guru Bill Terezakis, and “The X-Files Complete Timeline,” which includes a description and accompanying video clip for every episode in the series, as well as both movies.