MONKEY REVIEW: The X Files: I Want To Believe
August 3, 2008
Having now seen the second feature film based on the popular television series featuring David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, two FBI agents who investigate paranormal cases, I can see why Chris Carter’s The X Files: I Want To Believe failed to drum up much of an audience for itself: It was advertised as a summer blockbuster, and whatever else it may be, that’s precisely what it is not. Instead, it’s a much more modestly scaled film than its cinematic predecessor The X Files: Fight The Future, which was, in fact, conceived as a blockbuster, and featured the kind of costly and impressive special effects that are all but absent from this current entry. The X Files: I Want To Believe takes place about six years after the conclusion of the series, and focuses on a missing persons case involving an FBI agent and a defrocked priest (Billy Connolly) that may or may not be psychic. Scully is now a doctor in a hospital, and lives with Mulder, who is leading a hermit existence hiding out from the FBI and past charges against him related to his work with the now defunct X Files. The movie plays like a really good episode of the series, and serves up an atmosphere of increasing mystery, fear and suspense, qualities all too often missing from most of Hollywood’s recent so called “thrillers.” It’s also funny when it needs to be, and the story has the kind of ethical and moral dimensions to it one does not expect out of a summer movie. Mulder and Scully aren’t married, but may as well be, though instead of sentimentalizing their relationship, the movie complicates it, underscoring the difficulties they experience making things work as a couple. Both characters are here conflicted, complex and highly emotional people who are very committed to their ideas, values and interests, even as those things strain their relationship. Duchovny and Anderson are both very good, though Anderson is really given a chance to shine in the second half of the movie. I would recommend without question The X Files: I Want To Believe to longtime X Files fan, but also to anyone looking for a good thriller aimed for once at adults. There are no big explosions or gunfights, but The X Files: I Want To Believe thrills, anyway. It’s not a strong enough work to call it a capstone to the X Files legacy, but if this turns out to be the last we see of Mulder and Scully, there’s a end credits sequence that makes for a lovely send-off.
MONKEY RATING: ONE MONKEY
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