Friday, July 25, 2008

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

My timesheet for one of our prints of The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

I'm not sure full disclosure is necessary, but here it goes: I am an X-Phile. I've been a fan of the show since I first saw "Ice" way back in the day. I love David Duchovny, I love Gillian Anderson, and I love the show. To me, The X-Files episodes breakdown like this: 50% of the show was about Aliens, 49% of the show was about Monsters, and 1% was Everything Else That Doesn't Quite Fit Into Either Category In a Satisfactory Way.
There were one or two interesting episodes in the mostly Mulderless Season Nine, but that's my least favourite season. Without Mulder, Scully isn't complete and while I tuned in every week for the stories, it was Duchovny and Anderson who really made the show. Their combined chemistry was, simply put, magic. Anyone else in those roles and the show would have been cancelled quickly. The addition of Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish, and Cary Elwes illustrates my point. Three new characters, three new actors, could not add up to one Fox Mulder or one David Duchovny.
Okay, onto the review:
I think I should start off by saying that you don't need to have seen the entire show to know what's going on, but it might be helpful to have seen a couple of episodes. Chris Carter is adept at giving everyone exactly the information they need with minimal exposition, but some might be lost as far as the Mulder/Scully Relationship, or MSR, is concerned.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe was directed by Chris Carter from a script he wrote with longtime X-Files producer / writer Frank Spotnitz. Scully, now a full time doctor, is approached by FBI agent Mosley Drummy (Xhibit), at the behest of Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet), to ask a reclusive Mulder for his help in finding an agent who's gone missing. What makes this case an X-File is that Father Joe (Billy Connelly) has a mysterious psychic connection to the kidnapped agent and how he, through accident or design, shapes Mulder and Scully's actions through the course of this investigation. I'm afraid to go into further details because I don't want to spoil the movie.
This film fits into that previously mentioned 1% and I think that may tick off the fans. "Squeeze" this ain't. And I think that how successful Chris Carter was in diverting the attention of the fans will tick them off, too. I'll admit that I was expecting / hoping for one thing and this movie went in a completely different direction. Once I accepted that and saw this movie for what it was, I enjoyed it immensely. This is definitely an X-File, but not one as good as some of the episodes.
Putting fandom aside for a moment, I really did like this movie. While Chris Carter had Frank Spotnitz on this one with him, and it's certainly one of his better stories, he's a better producer and director than writer. This film is certainly more original than most of the horror / sci-fi out there right now and as a filmmaker and as a general lover of movies, I'm grateful.
A note for the shippers (like myself): this is flick is fantastic and you should stay for the little scene at the end of the credits. Chris Carter said in an interview in Fangoria (issue 275, the one with Alexandre Aja's Mirrors on the cover) that this was going to be a relationship movie and he wasn't lying, for once!
The score was fantastic, bringing back series and Fight the Future composer Mark Snow. Not much more than that needs to be said.
Chris Carter knows that CGI is better suited to augmenting a physical effect than to replacing them. What few CGI effects there are are (mostly) well done and well composited and the physical effects were just as good as anything we've seen on the show.
Duchovny and Anderson easily slipped back into their roles and their on-screen relationship is still just as magical as it always was. Xhibit wasn't given much to do and Amanda Peet was...good enough. I was afraid that putting Billy Connelly in the movie would be a bad idea, but it turned out to be a good one. Plus, I've always loved his accent. Even when he plays a zombie and his only dialogue is "ahrughehuahghaahhh!" he sounds Scottish!
Overall, from a fan's point of view: OMIGODYAYMOARPLZKTNX! *explodes* And from a me point of view: good flick, not as good as some of the episodes, but a damn fine installment in the history of the franchise. I hope it does well enough for a third because this one was very original unlike most of the movies being shoved on us these days and we need more original, thought-provoking work in all genres.


hanncoll said...

Ooh, very good thing to know about the bit at the end of the credits! Thanks for letting me know; I'm heading out to see this today. :D

Lori said...

No problem! Enjoy it!!