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

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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6 Responses to “MONKEY REVIEW: The X Files: I Want To Believe”

  1. key Says:

    That was a very fair and thoughtful review. I would not have considered this movie at all until I read your review of it. Cheers.

  2. John Says:

    You make some good points. I liked the atmosphere of the movie as well but my problem was the story. I haven’t seen every X-Files show but the ones I’ve seen have all had more compelling stories than this movie. Maybe I needed to be more of an X-Files fan to really appreciate the Mulder/Scully relationship.

  3. hmks Says:

    I agree ~ it felt like an episode, not a summer blockbuster. I didn’t mind, but would have liked to have more exploration of the alien theme instead of the religion versus science theme. I guess they went with a topic that is currently being debated, but I prefer aliens!!!

    ~Heidi
    http://www.HeidiTown.com

  4. radiondn Says:

    Heidi –

    I’ve read that had this movie been a success, Chris Carter would have made a movie with an alien theme, based on the show’s established mythology. While the movie will probably end up being profitable, it seems unlikely that a third X Files movie will be made. I think this movie would have done better had it been released in the fall, say in October or so, in time for Halloween.

  5. radiondn Says:

    John –

    I’d agree with you that the story wasn’t as compelling as some of the best episodes of the series. I still enjoyed it, and was interested to see how Mulder and Scully wrestled with the moral and ethical questions raised by the case. I thought Gillian Anderson did a good job expressing Scully’s anger and anguish, particularly in the second half of the movie.

  6. radiondn Says:

    key –

    Thanks for your comments!


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