I’ll bet you would not have expected that an X-Files movie would contain neither aliens nor government conspiracies. Even the so-called psychic phenomenon involved in X-Files: I Want To Believe is highly suspect. So why do they need special agent Fox Mulder to come out of hiding so badly that apparently the government is willing to forgive the trumped up murder charges of which he was convicted in the TV series finale? Beats me. At first that seemed like the only problem with this unforgiveably-bad big-screen installment in the X-Files franchise. As the story progressed (if you can call it that), Scully seemed totally pre-occupied with a largely unrelated medical case she was working on (she left the FBI to work as a full-time physician). The movie kept flipping back and forth between Mulder consulting on the case of a missing female agent with a potential psychic link to a pedophile ex-priest and the Grey’s Anatomy-style medical melodrama in Scully’s story (Will she be able to devote herself to fighting the good fight and also work out her relationship issues with Mulder? Aargh! That’s so not an X-Files question!)
There’s an attempt to bring back the theme of “believer vs. skeptic” that ran throughout the TV series, but again, it kept going back and forth. First Mulder believes, but then he doesn’t, then Scully believes, but then can’t accept that God would give visions to a former pedophile… blah blah blah. It’s all been done before on the show with so much more subtlety and sophistication. As you can probably tell, there’s almost nothing positive that I can say about this movie, but here goes: both the leads have aged very well. Anderson looks beautiful as always, and Duchovny doesn’t seem to look any older at all. They both have no trouble with the script they’re given, and the times when they do go a little off the rails, drama-wise, I will blame on the director. One thing they do get right is the moodiness and griminess that has always been part of the X-Files style. Unfortunately that style also makes things worse when the story is already incredibly boring and pointless. (Oh well, I tried.) In case it’s not obvious, I am a true x-phile and I really loved this show, so it makes me almost sad to admit that an hour into the movie I seriously wanted to leave the theatre (and that feeling never left until the credits rolled). I promise I’m not just being a fan-boy here. One of my most anticipated movies of the year is probably the worst movie I have seen in the last several years. Imagine my pain to have to give this movie a mere 2 out of 5
What if I had made X-Files: I Want To Believe?
For starters, I would not have written off the ending of the TV series so easily just by saying “All is forgiven”. The point of the finale was that the government conspiracy never dies. Plus, they were gearing up for an all-out invasion in 2012. Granted, I know that I’d need to make the movie accessible to a wide audience, so I’d have to keep the series mythology to a minimum, but I wouldn’t negate it altogether. Perhaps (given the global nature of political drama these days), instead of the FBI having Mulder consult for them, the U.N. could come back into the picture seeking his expertise. It could expand the scope of the X-Files franchise, making the story more international. Explore how there must have been alien influences in other parts of the world (they took a few trips outside of the U.S. even in the TV show). Or, if aliens have been done to death, use that psychic angle (the potential of the human mind and all that), but maybe it could be a corporate cover-up instead. There’s so many ways to go rather than a thread-bare retread of stuff they’ve already done quite well in the past. Now I’ve got to go cleanse my palate with some X-Files DVDs — where’s that fluke-man episode?