The X-Files: I Want to Believe

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Film review by: Witney Seibold





            After a nine-year run on network TV, and a six-year hiatus, you would think a 2008 revival of “The X-Files” would be more of an event. I was a fan of the series, and while it was a pleasure to see familiar characters Mulder and Scully back in action again, it was something of a letdown to see them doing the same things they did in any given middling episode of the series: investigating possible psychics, alternately believing and being skeptical, and working through their sexual tension. I don’t necessarily want them wrapping up all the loose ends in the story-arc-heavy (and admittedly awful) final seasons, but I at least expected them to address the need for a post-Cold-War-paranoia-themed show (Alien abductions! Government conspiracies! Cover-ups! The 1990s!) in the cynical and horrifying, Bush Jr.-run, Iraq War II atmosphere.



            So “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” doesn’t dissect the need for “The X-Files” in the present, nor does it incorporate a huge “important” story involving the lives of every man, woman, and child on the planet. But it does manage to have enough smarts and tension to be a perfectly enjoyable thriller in its own rights. In fact, by keeping it small, “Believe” manages to stay humble, quaint, intimate, and involving. Perhaps even giving it crossover appeal.



            The story: Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson, still sexy) has quit the FBI and is now working in a Catholic hospital. Fox Mulder (David Duchovny, still sexy) has become a nutty bearded recluse, obsessing over the usual thing (aliens, psychics, etc.). A hotshot agent named (*cough cough*) Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet, still sexy) calls the two of them out of retirement to help find an abducted agent who may be in the clutches of a demented serial killer. Why Scully and Mulder? Well, Whitney has also enlisted the help of one Fr. Joseph Crissman (Scottish comedian Billy Connolly… what the hell, still sexy) a convicted pedophile priest with alleged psychic powers. It’s Crissman’s job to stand on frozen lakes and shout things like “There’s something below the ice!,” while Scully and Mulder determine if what he’s saying is true.



            Mulder takes to the field again like a nutty duck to paranormal water, and even seems to have something of a flirtation with Whitney (despite him and Scully having parented a child together). Scully on the other hand has problems with the death she encounters in the field, and has trouble working with a pedophile. She also has her own subplot in which she wants to try a risky procedure on one of her ailing patients.



            Eventually more people are kidnapped, and a group of wicked doctors is unearthed. Wacky stuff. Oh, and Xzibit (who played the bear in “Hoodwinked”) also plays an FBI agent. And yes, Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) appears.



            “Believe” was written by series regular Frank Spotnitz and series creator Chris Carter, and was directed by Carter. The atmosphere is cold and gloomy, every speaks in hushed tones, and every acts so deadly serious. Just like the series! Usually when a TV series is adapted for cinema, a common complaint is that the film is just like a long episode of the series. This is true of “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” but that’s not necessarily a criticism. While I did want to believe that it could do something bigger and grander, I was content with another long episode.



            Not really a last hurrah, this film, but a graceful bow-out.




Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 6:41 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You forgot “Mitch Pileggi…still sexy”. Yeah, I had a bit of a thing for Skinner. What of it?!! And no, I never saw “Shocker”, which might have snapped me out of it…

  2. Irma…

    an interesting take on a fun topic….

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