The X-Files: I Want to Believe

July 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Movies

Squeezed in the middle of a summer full of superheroes (with superhype!), 20th Century Fox decided to try and put a hammock up before all the summer comedies come out (”Pineapple Express”, “The Rocker”, and “Tropic Thunder” are all on deck), and lazily threw in a movie that will certainly have Xphiles lined up…but what about the rest of the moviegoing public? Unfortunately, I think they’ll be less than impressed, because this movie may put you to sleep.

I am an admitted “X-Files” slave. I first caught eyes to it several months before its airing in 1993, seeing that guy from “The Red Shoe Diaries” was going to play an FBI agent about aliens. At the time, I was so into UFO stuff I would go online and download any .TXT files I could on UFO documentation and what not. I was also a fan of shows like “Sightings” and “Unsolved Mysteries”. “The X-Files” was my bread and butter for years–our generation’s “Star Trek”, until the show completely fell off its wheels sometime during the 5th season, and the summer film “The X-Files: Fight the Future”, was pretty much the end for me. I did come back to the show to watch the last episode, and was disappointed with how thrown together it was. It was primarily a clip show that didn’t push anything forward. Its only purpose seemed to be a trip down memory lane for fanboys and girls. It was one of the bigger let downs in TV history, in my opinion.

If anyone is hoping for a redemption, unfortunately, “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” suffers from that same notion. Instead of crafting something bigger and better, Chris Carter seems to have taken an old episode (could have been called “Harvester”) and gave it a melodramatic subplot involving stem cell research (and lamely using it as a tie-in to the main plot). He also makes Scully and Mulder a painful couple, no longer clouded by sexual tension and intellectual tension. Now they’re just The Bickersons. It’s a shame when a franchise is ruined by other hands, but it’s an absolute travesty when it’s ruined by its own creator. George Lucas is the master of this. And it looks like Chris Carter wants to believe…that he can be a part of that club too.

The plot mainly revolves around a psychic priest, formerly charged with 37 child molestations that have left his reputation somewhat less than respectable, but he seems to know a lot about a missing FBI agent, and finds body parts hidden deep in ice and snow (side note: what is Chris Carter’s obsession with snow and ice when it comes to X-Files movies? This is the summer time! I don’t need any reminders about one of our worst recent winters!). Mulder and Scully are reunited but not by contract or by want–Mulder wants to believe the guy, Scully thinks he’s just a con artist. And Scully doesn’t want to be involved because she’s got her own things going on: a boy with an illness that can’t be treated, and she thinks she can treat it.

Scully stumbles upon a plot while researching stem cell research (on Google, of all places) that has a connection to the body parts fiasco. What ends up happening in the climax is we see something you would definitely have seen in an episode of “The X-Files”. Pretty gross, and pretty weird.

But as I said, this is a MOVIE. There should be something BIGGER at work here. Instead it’s just a mismash of thematic cliches about God and science, and what belief is and what faith is, and it’s just so done to death that it just makes this movie bland. There are also inconsistencies about the science of what happens in the movie that it just doesn’t seem like Carter did his homework.

Diehards may enjoy this; there were a few people in the theatre that ate up EVERY single X-Filesism, and the return of one of the show’s most prominent and reluctantly likable characters. But anyone who wasn’t a fan of the show may just think of this as a giant bore. I’m a fan of it and I found it boring. So, save your money on this one unless you are really starving for some “X-Files”.

Or just get your copies of the DVDs or VHSs and watch some good episodes. If you’re a fan, I know you have them.

My rating: 😕

Family value: The intensity of the movie may be a little too much for any kid under the age of 14. And some of the visuals may be a bit much for them.