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  • Movie: The X-Files: I Want to Believe
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Xzibit, Adam Godley,
  • Written By: Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz
  • Directed By: Chris Carter
  • Distributor: 20th Century Fox


The Zzzzz-Files: I Want to Believe Disappoints

By Scott Mantz     July 24, 2008

Agents Mulder (Duchovny) and Scully (Anderson) back in freezing temps in THE X-FILES:I WANT TO BELIEVE(2008).
© 20th Century Fox
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then fans of The X-Files are going to love seeing former FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully team up again for the first time since the award-winning TV show ended its 9-year run in 2002. Series stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson must be pretty fond of the idea too, despite the fact that they were both so ready to put the show behind them that they barely bothered to show up for the beaten-into-the-ground final season.
But one has to wonder why they bothered at all with the latest installment, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Co-written by series creator Chris Carter and series producer Frank Spotnitz, the story is so weak that it simply doesn't justify the big-screen treatment. Unlike the first X-Files movie (1998's Fight the Future), which was tied to the show's complex mythology, I Want to Believe is a stand-alone movie that even non-fans will supposedly enjoy. That's doubtful, since it's nothing more than a padded, overlong episode, and it's not even a very good one at that.
The benchmark of the TV series was the investigation of paranormal activities (monsters, UFOs, conspiracies) by two opposing FBI agents. Fueled by the search for his sister (who may or may not have been abducted by aliens), Mulder was the believer who took the more skeptical Scully under his wing. It was a mutually beneficial partnership, and their differing views complimented each other until they took their relationship to a more intimate level.
But it's been 6 years since the FBI closed the book on the X-Files. Mulder is banned from his old digs, while Scully is now a practicing surgeon at a children's hospital. Both are drawn back into the fold when a young girl goes missing, and a clairvoyant priest (Billy Connolly) may know where she is. As Scully tries to come to terms with her faith and Mulder simply tries to find his place in life, they both learn the hard way that the truth is still out there.
I Want to Believe is a textbook example of how not to turn a TV series into a feature film. All of the show's signature moments are there: the classic theme song, the texted information at the bottom of the screen, and the eerie music by conductor Mark Snow. But the once-strong chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson is severely lacking, the assisting FBI agents played by Amanda Peet and Xzibit have no identifiable characteristics, and the very talky storyline takes far too long to take shape. In short, it just doesn't “feel” like a movie.
If the film were half its length, it would have made for a generic episode of the TV show's first season. But generic doesn't quite cut it for the big screen, and times have changed—what was fresh and innovative back in 1993 now feels stale and obsolete. Chris Carter may have created The X-Files, but he came up short in making it relevant as a feature film. The truth is still out there, but this time, it hurts: I Want to Believe is a disappointing bore.


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sportwarrior 7/24/2008 3:19:59 AM
Disappointing to hear. I so wanted the X-Files to move past Mulder and Scully and concentrate on Reyes and Doggett as a "next generation" of sorts... But the producers and writers insisted on clinging to the overdeveloped mythology and the familiar - and tired- characters of Mulder and Scully. The fact that this movie not only centered on those two, but reverted back to a non-mythology story while casting someone like Xzibit just kind of screamed disappointment. I wanted to believe this would be good... but I guess it wasn't. Maybe I'll hop it and see for myself.
hanso 7/24/2008 5:03:20 AM
Save yo money for TDK. Xfiles is a renter.
marc0702 7/24/2008 5:53:35 AM
That's disappointing. I'll probably go see it anyway, it'll be fun to just see Mulder and Scully back in any form.
jedibanner 7/24/2008 5:54:22 AM
I guess it looks disapointing from this review but, I will still go watch it. Obviously, they can't bring back the magic that was present in the first seasons of the show (for me, after the movie, everything went to hell) but I'm still interested in seeing it. It's one think to say, ouhhhh, ahhhh, TDK is so good and all, it's true but, it's also nice to have such a variaty of movies this year that appear so good and that give lots of choices in seeing different styles of movie. I still believe....
Wiseguy 7/24/2008 6:10:05 AM
jedibanner, I'm with you. I still plan on checking it out. They just waited too long and people's interest have definitely waned. I even saw some tracking numbers that have Step Brothers beating it, that's a damn shame IMO.
MrOptimusPrime 7/24/2008 6:11:22 AM
I have to agree with jedibanner.......after the first movie the show was dissapointing to me as well. This is not good news but I may still go and see it to judge for myself!!!
WhiteKnight 7/24/2008 6:37:14 AM
I'm not really surprised to hear this. I had quit watching the show by the fourth season, long before the masses had decided it was a train wreck. The first film was good, but it wasn't enough to convince me the show would ever thrill me in the same way it had during the first season. Six years off the air doesn't seem to have done much to remove the stigma The X-Files developed in those last few seasons.
joeybaloney 7/24/2008 6:37:56 AM
Damn. Got to admit the trailers haven't really done anything for me. I want to believe as well but I've a feeling this is too little too late. Hope to see it in the theater but it's far from a priority at this point. Still don't understand why they went with a stand alone instead of with the mythology.
jedibanner 7/24/2008 7:50:34 AM
That is one thing I'm wondering too joeybaloney, why didn't they follow-up with the mythology of the aliens and stuff of the series in this 2nd movie? It feels like they prefered to go general first to ''bring'' the general crowd and built some interest and then if the movie is a hit, they could maybe consider going back to the roots of the myth. One of the biggest part in the X-Files series I didn't like in the end was the whole religion aspect of it. In the begining of the serie, it was all about aliens and us humans being part of their world. After the first movie came out, that's when things started to change dramatically, mostly due to the fact they started filming the serie in the US with a bigger budget so more options could be considered (it's in the commentaries of the 6th season). From there, they started to bring in the religion aspect of aliens and beliefs and for me, that was a big turn off, attched also to the fact that we couldn't seem to get some damm answers. The answer aspect always comes back when people talk about the X-Files but it is a very important part in TV history because I think more and more producers now are paying attention to not just creating myths and mystery but to also bring in some answers from time to time (cue in Lost or BSG for best exemple of how to learn from the X-Files). I guess I still like the X-Files and hope maybe this 2nd movie is better in that sense of bringing mysteries and conclusions, time will tell.
fft5305 7/24/2008 8:04:54 AM
Too bad. I hope this is just an X-Philer's unreasonable expectations being let down by a good movie that simply wasn't good enough, because nothing would be. I doubt it, but I hope so. I'll probably still check this out, if I can, but I'll have to go solo. The wife never really gave X-Files a chance, and has no desire to see the movie.
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