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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The X-Files: I Want To Believe

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE (2008)

Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner, Mitch Pileggi, Callum Keith Rennie, Adam Godley, Alex Diakun, Nicki Aycox, Fagin Woodcock, Marco Niccoli, Carrie Ruscheinsky and Spencer Maybee.

Screenplay by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.

Directed by Chris Carter.

Distributed by 20th Century Fox.  104 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

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The X-Files - I Want To Believe

It's been six years since the TV series The X-Files limped off television after losing both of its main stars and most of its ratings luster.  It's been ten years since the show last attempted to upgrade to movie theaters with the somewhat underwhelming X-Files movie and even longer since the series was a real buzz title.  I find it hard to believe that much of anyone, even former fans of the old series, has been waiting around for The X-Files: I Want To Believe.

Therefore, it is rather surprising that this film was ever made.  This is made doubly confusing because the complicated (or convoluted) conspiracy mystery which was such a vital part of the series and never cleared up back then is not really delved into here.  They briefly touch on Agent Fox Mulder's sister's alien abduction and a few other things from the series, but mostly I Want To Believe is a stand-alone story which could have just as easily been an extended episode from any point in the series' run with just a little tweaking.   

As it turns out, it would have been a relatively good extended episode of the series - but it still feels like there is no real reason that this should be a movie, rather than, say, a made-for-TV special.  The moving to the cinema does not really add anything here.  The violence is not really any more graphic than an average episode of the show, and the additional sex is limited to one short shot of a headless corpse's breasts - a shot which easily could be trimmed without losing anything.  Hell, the movie is rated PG-13.  How can you have a serial killer film which is rated PG-13?  And if you do, why not just make it a TV movie?  But I digress.

For whatever the reason, X-Files: I Want To Believe was released to theaters.  However, I expect it will really capture its audience, if it ever does, upon the video release.

The story starts years after agents Mulder and Scully have left their government jobs.  Scully has taken a job as a doctor for a Catholic children's hospital.  Mulder (Duchovny) has become an essential hermit, holed up in a tiny shack, exploring his conspiracy theories and essentially being anti-social to everyone but his old partner.

A series of serial murders has the Agency reach out to Scully because they need Mulder's paranormal expertise.  A disgraced former priest/pedophile has been having visions of the crime.  Scottish comedian Billy Connolly brings extraordinary depth and insight into this distasteful character - he is certainly the most interesting new character here by far.  (Amanda Peet and rapper Xzibit are pretty much wasted in underwritten roles as the pregnant local sheriff and a bristly FBI contact.)

The plot gets a little overly dense - touching on scandals of the Catholic Church, the Russian mob and black market organ transplants.  There is also a completely superfluous subplot of Scully insisting on using experimental surgery to save an ill young boy.  Despite some atmospheric setup, the actual reason behind the crime is a bit of a disappointment. It is basically an old urban legend brought to life. 

If you liked the X-Files series, then you should enjoy this return to the well.  If you never got the series, nothing changes here.  The X-Files - I Want to Believe is, more than anything else, a film made specifically for the fans.  I hope for the filmmakers' sake that there are still enough of those fans around to make it worth the effort.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: November 28, 2008.

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Copyright 2008   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: November 28, 2008.

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