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Movie Review - The X-Files: I Want to Believe

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  • Movies
Last response: in Entertainment
July 29, 2008 3:40:20 PM

Review by Travis Meacham.

David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and series creator Chris Carter all return for another "X-Files" movie but is a alien-and-mythology free storyline the right way to bring these characters back to the screen?

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/07/29/x-files2_review/

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July 29, 2008 4:28:10 PM

I think one of the gaping holes no one has touched in regards to this movie is this: Mulder is wanted by the FBI, hiding in recluse over the past six years for (supposedly) killing a man. He was sentenced to death but was broken free by Skinner and Scully. However Mulder isn't alone in his recluse; he's shacked up with Scully after all this time who, in turn, is a highly-respectable surgeon at Lady of Sorrows Hospital. So the big question is this: did no one at the FBI ever think to follow her back to the house? Scully said the FBI could have captured him long ago, but chose to ignore him. That seemed like a plot progression cop-out.

This I didn't get, nor did I understand her whining about his involvement with the case after pushing him into it. It reminded me of a girlfriend giving me a game, and then compain about me playing it. HELLO??

The problem with "I Want to Believe" is that it fizzled out at the end; you don't get the sense of protagonist vs. antagonist. There's no real struggle between good guy and bad guy, and for X-Files fans who already know how Mulder will eventually die (3x04), the one small nugget of conflict is utterly pointless.

The baseline of "I Want to Believe" is the relationship between Mulder and Scully, how the relationship has evolved, and where it lies beyond the film. It's a typical crime drama laced with hints of the supernatural and radical science. It's about obsession on both their parts (Mulder to save the FBI agents, Scully to save the boy that reminds her of her own son William), and how obsession can obliterate that relationship.

Unfortunately, the movie is just a drama, dwarfed by other blockbuster movies like The Dark Knight, Handcock, Hellboy II and Iron Man. We're accustomed to going to the movies and have our cages rattled by over-the-top visual effects and ear-popping explosive sounds. "I Want to Believe" dismisses all of that and offers a drama, a love-story.

As an X-Files fan, I'm naturally biased (if you couldn't already tell by my forum nick). I liked the movie overall despite the fizzled-out ending. It felt more like a minute reboot, re-introducing the characters before getting into the heavy mythology. The story gives you plenty of ideas to chew on as well: would God act through a convicted pedophile? The whole concept is great, especially Father Joseph's conflict with Scully and his psychic tie to the antagonist. It may take a bit of processing to unravel the plot progression and how everything comes together. Scully, who questions her faith, treats the dying boy for a reason. Father Joseph, who questions his gift despite molesting altar boys, knows the FBI agent is alive for a reason. It's all X-Files goodness with a cool Frankenstein twist.

"X-Files: I Want to Believe" is aptly named. Mulder wants to believe he can still alter the future events each case at a time. Scully wants to believe that she can save a boy's life. They both want to believe that their relationship can work despite their obsessions to make a difference. Roger Ebert nailed it right on the head (review): "the movie works like thrillers used to work, before they were required to contain villains the size of buildings."
July 29, 2008 6:51:33 PM

Well I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds a tad disappointing story wise. I am a fan of the series, but I'm more in the realm of the way Travis looks at the series. I mean the relationship with scully and mulder has always been an evolving part of the show, but I like the science fiction aspect of the show mostly.

This is the first I've read a review and looked at anything concerning the story. And I have to say I do have trepidations concerning the film at this point now. I don't think it sounds bad... but definitely not what I was wanting/expecting from a new X-Files movie.

Good review as usual Travis, and exfileme's comments give me a bit more hope for the film. Still sounds like it's worth a trip to the theater, but for me it don't sound like it will live up to the old series :( 
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August 1, 2008 7:33:27 AM

I was a fan of the show especially of the whole alien conspiracy and coverup story. They could have easily gone the way of the "Forgotten" and made a really good movie. When I first saw the trailer it just seemed so unappealing, it didn't even seem like a continuation of the first movie or anything like it.
Looks like this is a rental.

Thanks for the review.
August 1, 2008 6:34:01 PM

i haven't seen it yet either... but i just have this idea that it was made more for a general audience instead of to appeal to x files fans.

they did an interview w\ the main charactors and they both said they didn't remember much of the shows plot themselves... not that i remember every detail but i was hoping for this movie to be more of an addition to the tv show, not just a sub-plot movie.
August 3, 2008 5:49:02 PM

I saw it and was quite disappointed. They played up the ex/not/Catholic priest/physic/ pedophile thing rather poorly. He had unkempt hippy hair - absolutely unbelievable for one.
I guess the political left influence there turned me off.
The mood of the film was very slow, it kind of lumbered along, and the "extrasensory" portions were poorly done and the timing was off. The "raid" with Skinner toward the end had a bit of excitement, so it wasn't a total loss, but then there was a sidestory with Scully that was poorly done.
It seemed to me they had some Catholic/pedophile hangup they couldn't get over. Perhaps one of the producers was actually molested as a child, and was seeing so much more than was being put onto the screen.
Then of course the little heart tugger, the sick child... also so poorly done, what were they doing, a stupid soap opera side ?
Sorry, overall it was awful.
I left glad it was over and didn't think of it at all by the time I got to my vehicle.
It as just so dreary, so whiney, so partially politicized. Heck, Skinner's character was even bland to dull.
What was missing ? Uhh.. confrontation - high emotion that was believable - no sense of DEEP into things...
Dull, bland, not sharp edged, sludges along....
I also agree with the few plot mistakes pointed out already.
When Mulder is first seen "in the X-Files agent room" - or so it seemed, it was a letdown as well.... like they wren't really there - it was an alternet set or something...
No CLARITY in the film.
August 4, 2008 2:58:17 PM

As a fan of the show... having seen most of it; I have to say that this movie sucked. I had low expectations coming in to see it and those were not even met I don't think.

I hope it didn't cost very much to make this movie... they would have been just as good off making it a 2 hour tv special.

so many things didn't add up... their was nothing relating to the x files to get mulder involved in the movie to begin with aside from the psycic guy... idk.... horrible movie.