Saturday, August 2, 2008

The X-Files: I Want To Believe - Review

The title says it all really - I Want To Believe. I really did want to believe that this film would make up for a lacklustre series finale, get the show out to a mainstream audience again and lay the foundation to a series of movies. I did want to believe all that but now having seen the film, I know in my heart that is not going to happen. As you have probably already guessed I am a massive X-Files fan, I have been since the show first aired on TV. In fact only 18 months ago I purchased all 9 series on DVD and when I first heard that a sequel was in development I was very excited to see Mulder and Scully back in action.

The thing that had me most curious was how they were going to pick up the story again after the series finale when both Mulder and Scully were on the lam from the FBI. To be honest I'm not that impressed with the way they resolved that situation. They basically just swept the whole situation under the carpet in order to get the story moving. I can understand the decision though as it was likely made in order to try and keep things simple to try and not confuse newcomers to the X-Files.

The most enjoyable thing for me about the movie was the interaction between Mulder and Scully. The chemistry between the two in the series was always one of the most interesting aspects of the show. I was glad to see that with this movie the chemistry was still definitely there and that their relationship had developed in exactly the way I wanted to see. I've always liked David Duchovny as an actor and it was great to see him back as Mulder. The same goes for Gillian Anderson and Scully. Both actors just seemed to fall back into the groove. The casting of Billy Connolly was an interesting choice. I know that he is a good actor but he isn't really given much to do here other than look confused and/or creepy at various times.

The director Chris Carter has done a fantastic job in getting the movie to feel exactly like the series. I loved the use of the titles and the exact font from the series that is printed on screen to set the scenes, nice touch. There is also a great cameo from a past character that hits all the right nostaglic notes. I did like the fact that the movie reminded me of the show but this is also perhaps its biggest downfall. There is nothing particularly cinematic about the film at all. There are no particularly impressive sweeping shots of the locations, no big action set pieces or amazing special effects. The story is actually very underwhelming from a sci-fi/horror point of view. They also give Scully a subplot that keeps her away from most of the action. Unfortunately for me this subplot fell flat and I'd have rathered seeing Mulder and Scully working closer together for longer. If this was an episode of the show, which it could very well be then it would only rank as decent episode. It certainly isn't among the very best like Jose Chung's From Outerspace, Home or The Post Modern Prometheus.

Having underwhelmed at the boxoffice on its release in the US with a $10M haul I think it unlikely that we'll see any further adventures in cinemas. I think though that there could be a future for the X-Files as a series of direct to DVD films. I know that they did all they could to appeal to a wider audience by omitting an alien storyline and refraining from talking too much about the past but I knew that it wouldn't work. The show finished six years ago and even then it wasn't at the popular heights it had been four years earlier. In the end it is just a case of too little, too late. If your not a fan of the X-Files feel free to drop a star from my rating.


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