The Movie Buffer

Thursday, July 31, 2008

X-Files: I Want to Believe

I went into this film really wanting to love it. I loved the series, well, most of it and I liked the first movie. With ten years and six years separating those memories and this film, I felt that absence would make my heart grow fonder. But the film was pretty ho-hum. 

I’d heard right off the bat the film was like an extended episode (or two episodes combined), which was great news for me but as I read on they really meant was it looks and feels like a television show rather than a feature film. They spent 30 million making this movie and I struggle to see where it all went. The casting was probably the biggest expense because there was very little in the effects department. I guess getting Xzibit broke the bank.

Resurrecting characters is more than a trend these days, it’s an epidemic and in most cases it’s a case of a last cash grab or to reinvigorate a stagnant career. But David Duchovny is on a hit show, Califonication, and Gillian Anderson has been nominated for numerous awards for her other projects. So, maybe this one was just for fun. Anyway, Duchovny and Anderson play their famous characters almost perfectly. Neither of the actors has markedly aged or changed from the last time we saw them so, the illusion of a seamless transition works. Though Scully is a lot more churchy in this film than I liked or remembered her being from the series.  

With the X-files basically wrapped up, there is a new breed of mysterious cases that the FBI is handling and they need to bring in a couple of experts to help solve a peculiar case. Scully is tapped to track down Mulder and with a little persuading the duo are back in the thick of things. Agent Whitney (Amanda Peet) is the new Agent Mulder and she’s conducting an investigation to track down a lost agent with the help of a pedophilic priest, who seems to be a psychic medium. It’s a pretty decent plotline, but there is a main diversion from this that hampers the flow of the story.  

During her time away from the bureau, Scully practices at a church run hospital, where she is treating a boy with a currently incurable brain disorder. She continues to treat the boy even though her options are quickly disappearing. There is some hope of treatment, but there is an ethical debate because it requires stem cells. Holy cripes, this is getting heavy! So, the priests are against doing anything and letting God do His thing with the boy. I actually find it pretty jarring when Scully makes her decision because it doesn’t seem like she hesitates even though she’s put to dilemma that is personally gut-wrenching, her child had some problems plus she’s catholic, and scientifically dubious, the treatment is experimental.

I had hoped that this film was going to be great, but I should have looked at it a little more objectively. I liked the movie and there was enough new material as well as key references to the series to elicit some hoots and hollering from the crowd. I wish I could recommend this film to everyone, but it was really made for fans and not to win anyone over. 


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