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X-Files Review

X-Files: I Want to Believe: Sadly, a Disappointment

You can count me among the fans — but not the super-fanatics — of The X-Files when it aired in the '90s. I may not have been as insane about it as others, but I kept up with the weird, spooky drama and I looked forward to new episodes. Plus, Gillian Anderson's character, Dana Scully, is a strong, female sci-fi heroine of sorts, and I really looked up to her at the time. Oh, and of course David Duchovny's Fox Mulder was definitely crushworthy so all in all, it was a highlight of my TV-viewing universe. This is why I had nothing but high hopes for X-Files: I Want to Believe, and I tried to ignore those pesky questions during the build up to the release like: "Really, ten years later?" and "Will people still, in fact, want to believe?"

I should also point out that this movie has been promoted as a stand-alone story, meaning that even folks who have little knowledge of the series would be able to get on board and enjoy a dark thriller with a compelling mystery. In fact, details of the plot have been kept so tightly under wraps my assumption was that they must have thought of something really awesome to hinge a new movie around — hence everyone's willingness to get back together years after the series left the airwaves.

Which brings me to the bad news first (and I won't give away spoilers): the so-called "mystery" that has been so shrouded in secrecy is truly nothing very exciting. In fact, it hardly stands up to the most mediocre of episodes, which only adds to my perplexity over this movie. Truth be told, I'm pretty bummed out. To see why,


When the movie opens it has been six years in "real time" since we last saw everyone in the series finale, and we learn that Fox Mulder is no longer with the FBI and is a bit of a recluse (well, we're meant to assume this because he is bearded and sits around clipping newspaper articles like a crazy person). Meanwhile, Scully is a surgeon at Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital where she is personally invested in saving a terminally sick boy, to the displeasure of her colleagues.

Also, two FBI agents (played by Amanda Peet and Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner) are feverishly looking for a missing colleague using the help of a psychic priest named Father Joe (Billy Connolly), but they really need the one agent who has experience with this kind of stuff: Agent Mulder. With the help of Scully the FBI pulls him back in and X-Philes will sigh with relief at how quickly he's back to his obsessive ways.

It's Scully who has probably changed the most; she's no longer just a pragmatic voice of reason, but resolute in her unwillingness to "look into the darkness" any longer. A lot of screen time is focused on faith, losing faith, that darkness, etc. Like the television series, it's dark and brooding, but without a strong case to solve all this analysis and back-and-forth between the two former agents is tepid. It's sad to see these two so empty. I missed the occasional wry glint in Mulder's eye and I wanted to see Scully quit dragging her feet and jump on board the case despite her reservations. But between all that angst and a story that's mostly uninteresting (I wish there had been something extraterrestrial about it, or maybe some magic — anything too crazy to believe!) the whole thing is mostly just so-so.

Still, even after all that head-scratching and some boredom, I love Mulder and respect Scully and I suppose after such a mediocre return to the X-Files that's probably the silver lining. Which is to say: it could have been worse but I wish it were so much better.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Join The Conversation
dlmslp dlmslp 9 years
i liked the movie, but i was expecting a bigger plot. i felt like it was an extended episode of the show. which again, was good, but i just expected something different, like aliens or something.
idawson idawson 9 years
hmm .. well i saw it today and while i did not feel it was a turkey something was missing maybe it is what others had said better suited for the small screen. either that or the time in between the other movies and/or series left me with a bit of detachment from the franchise.
windynini windynini 9 years
What happens at the end of the credits?!!!! My boyfriend rushed me out and I couldn't see.By the way, I didn't think the movie was that bad. Sure, not my ideal, smart, X-Files movie, but it was decent. Plus, we got to see our two favorite FBI agents which is more than enough for me. I was all giddy when I saw them in bed together. Awww, just so cute and comfortable. AHH! Please someone spoil me in regards to the end of the credits, something shippy, foreshadowing something?? I need to know
Kazagirl Kazagirl 9 years
OK so I just got back from the movies and I have to say it wasn't so good. The plot was a bit boring and plain. It truly felt like a really long episode of the X-files. Now what made me happy that I went and saw the movie was the scenes between Mulder and Scully. That was totally the best part of the film for any fan of the show.
BeatBoxANNI BeatBoxANNI 9 years
I can't wait to see this.
northofantastic northofantastic 9 years
Sadly, I think I'll just wait for the DVD release. :(
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Amen, Kawaii!
KawaiiAyu KawaiiAyu 9 years
modegirl: Thanks for pointing out Ebert's review. I totally agree with him, and I couldn't figure out what was bugging me about the movie until I read it. I saw it last night at midnight, as a huge XF fan. I both hate it and love it. I will say the Mulder/Scully of it all is totally fanservice. The plot is very simple, especially for an XF case, but as Ebert said, it WORKS. It IS creepy and it is classically sinster and I think for these days, compared to something like The Dark Knight it is easy to say, its too simple, its too easy, there isn't enough. But I think the simplicity of it worked, and it kept the creepiness going on, which... isn't that what X-Files is all about to begin with? All in all, I think all fans agree, it's not quite what we expected, and maybe not quite the greatest thing we wanted, but I think in the end, it was the proper goodbye to our good agents that we deserved after the thrown together finale 6 years ago. I think with this movie, I finally feel that X-Files has ended on a good note. Also: if anyones going to see it, stick around after the credits ;)
Ginger Ginger 9 years
It's scoring a solid B+ with Yahoo users and 7.5 with IMDB users, so far. For people with short attention spans who covet CGI effects and explosions, this film might not be so interesting. The review here makes me wonder if they watched the whole film, because I saw a number of things that Buzz claims was missing, like the glint in Mulder's eye and some witty exchanges. Scully's reservations were true to the original character.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
MicrochipJoel - I've hated port a potties ever since that episode!!!!! AAAAAAAA I thought the movie was good, it was like an long episode, but my boyfriend Hated it, he kept going to the bathroom, looking around, it was actually quite irritating. If it wasn't his birthday eve I would've been mad at him haha. Kazagirl - Go see it. There's some good scenes there for you!
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Go see and you shall not be disappointed.;)
Kazagirl Kazagirl 9 years
Ok I love the X-files (mostly for the chemistry and romance between M &S) sooooo before I waste $10 to go and see it at the movie theater can someone who saw the movie please tell me if there are any romance (i.e. kissing) scenes between M &S?
The-Pickle The-Pickle 9 years
Um,... I have to agree with Buzz on this one - whose review is echoing what everyone else is saying. And just FYI: X Files is at 37% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ginger Ginger 9 years
Don't listen to Buzz if you're an X-files fan. The movie has more character development and doesn't need to rely on a shiny space ship or other gimmicks to be interesting. In a lot of ways I thought this movie was closer to the early years of the series, when Scully was a strong female character and not so much a victim, as the later season depicted her. Fox and Dan still have the chemistry, and sure there's a little angst, but it's several years later, we're all a little older.
Modegirl Modegirl 9 years
For anyone who is interested, I would suggest reading Roger Ebert's review of this film. He's a film genius and I really enjoyed reading his analysis of the film....I have been and am still very excited to see this film!! I am a HUGE fan of the show and love Mulder and Scully so much. Even if the storyline doesn't live up to expectations, it's still wonderful to see two great actors like Duchovny and Anderson teaming up again to portray two of the best television characters in recent years! I LOVE Mulder =)
MicrochipJoel MicrochipJoel 9 years
Link to my fav episode:
MicrochipJoel MicrochipJoel 9 years
Buzz, when I went to see Dark Knight and the preview for X-files came on I was like, whoa! Is this for real? and then later I saw a preview for what I thought was a video game for Star Wars, but was another soon to be released film for Attack of the Clones animated? What is going on here? In regards to X-Files II, it doesn't suprise me at all the second film did not live up to anyones standards. Can anyone tell me when the sequel to any movie has ever been better than the original (besides Terminator II: Judgement Day)? Not to mention, in the style of MS Vista, released far after the trend and looks out dated... I will however, remember the great stories of the TV Series X-files. My all-time favorite episode being the monster in the Port-a-potty! This makes me want to run out to my local library, rent the dvds, and relive the moments... Chip
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
ehadams - I actually thought the whole time: "Why didn't this just go straight to DVD?" It would work better on the small screen.
Neechee51 Neechee51 9 years
I think they all just whipped something together to make a few more $$$$ off the show before the whole thing was forgotten.
ehadams ehadams 9 years
I think I will wait for the dvd for this.
blondie829 blondie829 9 years
ehh i don't want to see it since the reviews are awful and i'd rather remember the x-files on a high note
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
Bummer that it's not getting great reviews. I'll probably see it soon anyway, i love mulder and scully
JCP0240 JCP0240 9 years
Planning on seeing it tomorrow night, so i haven't read your review yet. I am still hoping it will be great. So disappointing that they finally make this movie and it doesn't live up to it's potential.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Sigh. I saw it last night and hope that the theatres fill up. Don't like the story line? Who gives two $hits?:P I need there to be another movie. The chemistry between those two is off this earth. And i want more bed scenes.
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