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Views From The Vortex – Retro Reviews – Dave Reviews X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE



Posted by Steve

Good friend of the site and occasional guest host of the podcast Dave joins the GOO team as a reviewer of all things sci-fi.   For his first outing, Dave gives his views on last year’s much maligned X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE.  What did this uber sci-fi geek/X-Phile think? Read on:

x_files_i_want_to_believe.jpgBefore I go into my review, please make note that I am an X-files fanatic.  I lived and died by that show, first on Fridays and then on Sunday nights.  Towards the end of its run, the show seemed to be running on fumes.  Some of its charm and originality were gone, which seems to happen with most shows that run past five or six seasons.  That said, I loved the show, maybe more than any before it or since, and  I wanted to love this film…instead I just liked it a lot.

I knew beforehand that the movie was a stand alone story about the FBI needing Mulder and Scully’s help with a missing person’s case that involved some psychic undertones.  Therefore, to us X-PHILES, it was going to be a “Monster of the Week” episode.  I had mixed feelings about this, but I ultimately decided it was for the better because new X-files fans could be made.  Maybe I was wrong.   I’m still not sure, but understand that I enjoyed this film very much, especially since I saw it with my father, a fellow X-phile.
What was great about this movie was the look and feel of the story.  The scenery was beautiful and the locations were brilliant for this story.  While some have used this to criticize the movie by saying it was like an episode instead of a movie.  I can agree with that, especially compared to the first film, Fight the Future.  However, it was awesome to hear Mark Snow’s X-files music again.  Not just the main theme, but all the other additions as well.  Like many fans, I enjoyed his run on Smallville, but his music for the X-files holds a specia l place in this reviewer’s heart.

I enjoyed the story, but I thought a return to the screen should have included some sort of paranormal creature(s).  I remember during the filming for the movie, it was rumored that the story would focus on Werewolves. Maybe it should have been more than a rumor…

To its credit, the story here is frightening, but not in the traditional X-files way.  A modern Frankenstein story is scary, but only a borderline paranormal story.

What the movie ultimately secceeded in  was making me miss the show.  I think there is a lot to be said for that as I have seen most X-files episodes more than three times.  It was so great to see Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, and even Walter Skinner on the screen again.

The Mulder-Scully relationship was very strong and it felt very natural.  Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny still have that chemistry that they always had in the series.  One particular scene stands out where Scully and Mulder have a stern talk about where they are in their lives.  Scully’s journey with her faith mirrors Mulder’s journey back into the “darkness” and finding his place in life once again.
Then there is the character Father Joe, played by the fantastic Billy Connelly.  This role, while grotesque, was very brilliant.  Let me explain: Father Joe was a convicted pedophile thirty-seven times over…but you still cared about the character to some degree.  Not necessarily about him, but our journey through him.  He is seeking God’s forgiveness for his unspeakable acts and through this, he believes, he has gained a psychic ability. While this is never conclusive, I was left with the feeling that maybe no one is beyond redemption…who’s to say?
The supporting cast was very X-files-esque.    Of course, Amanda Peet and Xzibit stand out on name recognition.  Neither character really make or break the story.  They are there to support Mulder and to a lesser extent Scully. X-FILE: I WANT TO BELIEVE is a nice revisiting to these characters for die hard fans.  We see character progression, mystery, and the feel of the old X-files coming over us as we watched.

In the end, I am very glad to see these characters again.  It’s like seeing old friends again.  Because of all the negativity and non publicity by Fox, I can’t help but feel a bit let down.  With the ominous date of December 22, 2012 approaching, I ask myself…is the truth really out there?  I want to believe that it is.