Movie Review: The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

Ten years since their first big screen foray (The X Files) and six since they went off the television airwaves, Scully and Mulder return to the silver screen in The X-Files: I Want to Believe. I’m not entirely sure what enticed the studio to come up with this so late (was there a huge outcry for this) but what I am sure about is they shouldn’t have bothered.

But bothered they did. And in an apparent effort to reinvigorate the franchise and drum up the idling fanboy interest, series creator Chris Carter retook the writing and directing helm while David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were roused out of bed to reprise their roles of FBI agents Mulder and Scully respectively. On paper, the pieces were in place (plus the fact they claimed you didn’t need to be a fan of the show to be enjoy this film), but aside from the originals getting involved there wasn’t anything compelling or intriguing about this thriller. And trust me, I wanted nothing more than to believe . . .

The premise of The X-Files: I Want to Believe is probably the weakest part of the movie. It feels raw and under-prepared – as if what was filmed was really the first draft of the script and no one noticed or cared. Conspicuously missing are the creepy thrills and the “freaky” unknown concept that were staples of the series. Sure the plot has a Josef Mengele-like character and a psychic pedophile priest (played by Billy Connolly) but I hardly consider either of them other-worldly or unexplainable. The bulk of the story is figuring out the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully, with some side projects running in parallel – Scully trying to save a dying child and Mulder coming to terms with who he is.

This leads to the other weak point of the movie – the acting. As I said previously, I’d swear both Duchovny and Anderson were awaken with a bucket of cold water, given 15 minutes to catch their bearing and then thrown in front of the camera. Neither of them wanted to be there. Their performances appeared lackluster and lost. Anderson, especially. She looks haggard, tired and totally disinterested in the role. Further disheartening, is the fact that after all these years, I fully expected the two of them would have some on-screen chemistry. Sure, maybe they’re both looking to doing things other than what made the filthy rich but I figured something like that should have been automatic. But what I saw was shocking – it was almost like seeing two novices working together for the first time. Hell, Amanda Peet, as the new special agent in charge, and her sidekick played by Xzibit mixed better (and as far as I know it was their first time acting alongside each other). The only person deserving of a paycheck is Billy Connolly. His take of a man yearning for salvation was at least palatable.

So yes, The X-Files: I Want to Believe was a complete letdown. Sometimes it is just best to let something that ended on a good note stay in retirement. Believe me, this is one of those times (unless of course the objective was to push away the fan base, to which I say, they’ve started down the right path).

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
1 Star Rating: Stay Away


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008)' have 3 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 10, 2008 @ 8:58 am alexius

    I have to agree, this movie was weak, and even though I am a fan of the X Files, I wish I hadn’t seen it, because it can’t be compared wto the TV series.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 19, 2009 @ 7:24 am Dara Geibel B.L.R.E.

    I loved The X Files. But watching the movie “I Want To Believe” of the x files is rather surprisingly disappointing. It was far different from what they were and what they have become. I was, and I am, still a huge fan of The X Files, since my pretty little life was changed when i discovered it. I was 12 when I saw it on TV and I instantly became a fan. I watched the series everyday, again and again, as if I’m about to be able to remember their lines. I really liked the first movie, which is “Fight the Future”, but still I think that the plot was undeniably puzzling. Some questions were answered by answers, but then, there were more questions again. I don’t hate IWTB, but it was not what I’ve expected at all. The movie was depressing, since there were no longer FBI Agents. That was what i hate the most. For almost 10 years of the series, they have always been Agents. Different from each other, yes, but still, connected. They started off as 2 FBI Agents, one a skeptic, the other, a believer. But though different, they never quit on each other. And that pact, was the thing that made me liked the series was missing from the new movie. All I’m saying is, they shouldn’t have drifted them apart. Watching them fight for the truth- the truth that kept that show balanced- watching them away from each other, it was totally depressing. The X Files is not only about Paranormal things. It is about the connection- connection of two different people who would fight together for what they believe in. It is about being together and watching each others’ backs whatever might happen. It should have stayed that way. Scully and Mulder should be where they were- The FBI; where it all began- where they met, where they became friends, where all the magic began. That was one big thing that kept the watchers to watch. That curiosity; that inquisition, of what may happen next. And they took it from them. They took that from us, fans. And now they had left fans like myself wondering why would they leave a painful ending that we never wanted.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 19, 2009 @ 8:15 am Dara Geibel B.L.R.E.

    ………………. Though it might be a pretty boring movie, and that i didn’t like the story plot too, i guess i was also touched because i saw them again. From 1993 to 2002. I never hated a single episode. I loved every bit of it. Every twist and turns, every suspense, every plot, every character….. I was really sad to see them again and happy as well, because they are such an inspiration- especially Gillian who played Scully. I didn’t know what i wanted to be in the future. But because of Scully, and Gillian, and the x files, i finally found my way. I found who i am in her. And I wanted to meet her, so i could thank her for that. But still, if i could change the 2nd movie, i would, REALLY.

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