|By Zach Patterson||Wednesday, 6 Aug 2008|
I started watching the X-Files some time around the second or third season, and from then on, I followed the show devoutly until the end of its run. For me and some others here on this site, the show was pretty much essential watching every week. I remember watching the first movie in theaters, buying the soundtracks, picking up the games, etc. However, the show began to sputter a little towards the end, and aside from an excellent finale, the show really had just run its course. However, after seeing teasers for a new X-Files movie, I began to get irrationally excited again, perhaps to rekindle those teenage halcyon days when this show was on top of the world. Well, after seeing it and dwelling on it for awhile, I definitely have come away disappointed. To say “I Want To Believe” goes in a completely different direction than I imagined is an understatement. And I think most people who didn’t watch the show won’t get as much out of it as others who watched it all. However, I don’t think this is a terrible movie by any means. It’s not what I imagined in my head, and the movie definitely seems to be a lot less of an epic, big story than I thought it would be, but it weaves a competent tale together using one of the best on screen duos from the 1990′s. A quick rundown of the plot: an FBI agent goes missing and it’s believed she was kidnapped. The only lead the FBI have is a pedophile priest, Father Joe Crissman, who claims God has been sending visions of the crime to him. Using Father Joe, the FBI uncover small traces related to the crime, but are concerned that with the limited time frame to uncover a missing person rapidly expiring, they may need outside help to figure out if Joe is really having visions and investigate the odd circumstances of this case. At this point, the FBI agents in charge of the investigation (played by Xhibit and Amanda Peet) contact Dana Scully (now a doctor and no longer with the FBI) to ask for her to contact Fox Mulder to help with the case, and in return, he’s off the hook for any wrongdoing in the past. From there, they both get connected to the case and what actually happened to the missing agent. So it is actually a fairly tame setup. There’s no giant monster in the sewers, or aliens, or town of vampires or anything like that. Instead, a good deal of the movie deals with the Father Joe character and dissecting who he is and if he is for real, and exploring his morality and faith. He’s actually an interesting character that you could make an argument for or against pretty convincingly as to whether he should have been the focus in the movie. In some ways, he steals a lot of scenes, and you can’t help but wonder about the enigma behind his character, which is classic X-Files “mysterious character” syndrome that you saw in a lot of supporting characters. On the other hand, it almost seemed like they needed a few more scenes with him to complete the story, because he disappears after being so instrumental to the first part of the movie, and you never really get the answers you want about him. But, the movie exchanges that for more investigative and action sequences, which is good, but it wasn’t paced terribly well. It also crams most of the really weird X-Files supernatural/strange stuff into the last 20 mins, which was necessary to hide the secret of the movie for so long, but it still felt like a lot of the movie could have been any sort of thriller movie. So it was unbalanced in that aspect too. Also, for being a movie that was supposed to be its own thing and anyone could jump in and enjoy it, it definitely had its fair share of moments that seemed “fan only” references with no explanation and a complete lack of exposition about what the current relationship between Mulder and Scully is. It almost seemed like some crucial scenes of Mulder and Scully interaction were left on the cutting room floor. One minute they seem like they are the usual professional relationship, the next, it’s a bedroom pillow talk scene? Buh? If there is one big failure in the movie, it is that these two characters are not given more focus. Their “will they won’t they” relationship throughout the series was one of the reason that people watched for so long, and the fact that it is left so up in the air and undefined is a major source of irritation to me. Maybe a director’s cut DVD sometime will correct this, but I was certainly let down in this aspect. Also, aside from Father Joe, the new characters for this movie weren’t too gripping. The order essay agents played by Xhibit and Peet are pretty lifeless characters and aren’t given much to do. On the plus side, Skinner returns briefly, and he’s a total badass. I think my last big complaint is that some of the movie uses “Signs” logic. You know, the logic where something a character says in the movie that doesn’t seem to mean anything at the time then becomes prophetic, even though the connections they ask you to draw for it are pretty farfetched. While there’s no “Swing away, Merrill” stuff here, some of it made me roll my eyes and scratch my head at the logic behind it. I mean, without giving too much away, if someone says to you “Don’t give up”, are you really going to hunt them down later and confront them about why they said that, and then risk putting a child through hell based on that? I get that part of the movie was dealing with belief and faith, and in some ways, that answers my question. But, it was just clumsily handled, as was most of the dialogue about fighting against the “darkness”. Likewise, the way that Scully finds Mulder at the end of the movie is both unlikely and unrealistic. There were some parts I did really enjoy. For one, Mulder and Scully as characters were still pretty spot on to how they acted in the show, and had some pretty good scenes investigating the crime. It was just good to see them back. Also, as much as I said I was disappointed, I think it was wise to go with a standalone plot. It might not have been what I expected, but it was an interesting movie to watch, and certainly kept me guessing throughout. On this same line of thinking, it wasn’t just trying to stuff every character from the series into the movie and rehash a conspiracy plot all over again, and they opted to show what has happened since the series ended. Additionally, one thing Ebert pointed out in his review that I agree with is that this movie is a bit of a throwback type movie. There help with your paper are no explosions and I didn’t really see any CG. If there was any, it was extremely brief. It’s a movie that could have been made 50 years ago just as easily, i spy cell phone for free and there’s a certain
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charm to a timeless movie like that. The plot was also paced in such a way as an older movie spy with just a phone number would have been. It doesn’t hit you fast and hard or best
essay writtenhave lots of modern effects in it. Some will claim it’s dull, but I like the idea of how the creators of the series approached it. Many X-Files cases were throwbacks and references to 50′s horror comics and movies, and the cheap essay climax in this movie seems like it was pulled right from some black and white Horror flick. Overall, the movie is pretty mediocre, sadly, but, like watching any of the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies after the series had ended, I couldn’t help but enjoy seeing the actors back in their old roles and getting a little more mileage out of them. This one isn’t as good as the original movie, and really most of the series, but for fans, it’s worth watching. For everyone else, well, just know it’s a decent movie based on great source material.