Back in April I attended a Comic Con panel with X-Files creator Chris Carter and writer Frank Spotnitz. I didn't stay very long after viewing the trailer for The X-Files: I Want to Believe, because they weren't giving out any answers regarding the films plot. It was frustrating but I chalked it up to them having some really phenomenal ideas they didn't want to spoil. I was wrong.
It almost physically hurts me to admit I didn't love the new movie. I'm a huge X-Files fan and while I didn't think a new movie was actually warranted, I was excited about it none-the-less. For the record, I did like the movie but it was littered with too many issues to ignore for fanboy's (girl's) sake. I never begged for another X-Files movie but there were TONS of fans who did. Unfortunately, they didn't put their money where their mouths were. The X-Files: I Want to Believe took in only $10 million it's opening weekend and it's total to-date is a measly $19.7 million. I viewed it the second weekend out, on a Friday, and there were only eight other people in the theater. Ouch.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe should just have been called "I Want to Believe," because at it's core, that's what this movie was about. Unfortunately Mulder's continuing quest for proof of the paranormal and Scully's, for God, wasn't enough to support the plot. Actually, I'm still on the fence as to which was meant to be the main plot and which was supposed to be the sub-plot.
The film plays like one long and extremely slow-to-get-to-the-point episode. I knew going in this wasn't going to be about aliens but it wasn't until almost the end of the movie that I realized what it all amounted to. Here it is: A possible psychic, in the form of a pedophile ex-priest, (Billy Connolly) leads FBI agents, including a newly re-recruited Mulder and Scully, to a group of Eastern European, I use the word doctors loosely, who've been abducting women, one of whom, unluckily for them was an agent, with a rare blood type in order to use their bodies to transplant an (ill? crazy?) man's head onto. Got it? Ok, I didn't say it was simple or easy. Did I mention there was a two-headed dog?
The prominent abductor was played by Callum Keith Rennie from Battlestar Galactica who certainly has a way with creepiness. He would have shown brightly had this been a plain old horror movie. Actually the (main?) plot was so bizarre it probably would have played much better if it had been a horror flick instead. I see what they were going for, something simple that had nothing to do with aliens but was still scary. They know how to do this, look no further than the unforgettable Home from Season 4 and you'll be convinced, they just got it wrong this time.
I was going to talk about Amanda Peet and Xzibit here but they were completely forgettable characters. Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish could have easily reprised their roles here instead to please fans.
Now the fun stuff. Chris Carter makes a cameo near the end of the film as do real-world names on Mulder's cell phone. The actress who played Mulder's young sister in the series, Vanessa Morley, also appears but as an FBI Agent in passing. Mitch Pileggi shows up to help save the day near the end. It would have been nice to see more of him. We get to see Mulder and Scully in bed with each other looking like a real couple. Nothing sexual although Mulder makes an amusing inuendo. They even discuss "their son" William during the course of the film. If you sit through the bizarre music video of a credit sequence you get one more treat. Mulder and Scully in a rowboat near a tropical island looking very content. It's kind of wishy-washy but it's a cute nod to the fans when they wave goodbye to us.
In the simplest terms, I Want to Believe was a disappointment. I didn't have any expectations going in but that didn't really help. Great character exploration just wasn't enough to carry this one for me. In a perfect world where I get to choose what kind of X-Files movie should be made it would be nothing like this.
Having already had one serious alien-themed film in 1998, I would have gone for something on the lighter side. Besides those really intense creepy episodes during the run of the series, my favorites were always the one's that involved subtle (sometimes not so subtle) humor. The Post-Modern Prometheus and Bad Blood from Season 5, Dreamland 1 & 2 and How the Ghosts Stole Christmas from Season 6 and even Sunshine Days from Season 9 are perfect examples. Those episodes were amusing but still involved something unexplainable that was classic X-Files. But alas, I'm not in charge of making any further X-Files films and after this, I highly doubt anyone else will be either.