Reel Shorts | The X-Files: I Want to Believe

25 07 2008

Ten years after “The X-Files: Fight the Future” and six years after the series went off the air, creator Chris Carter reunites Mulder and Scully for one more case in the slowly-paced and disappointing film, “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.”

After the distasteful way the series ended in 2002, it would have made more sense if this film would have been released the following year. Several years later, interest in the show has waned to the point that even for it’s fans this latest film is a stretch.

When an FBI agent goes missing, they turn to a psychic pedophile priest who has visions to help locate her. After attempting to discredit the work of Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), fellow Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) needs to locate someone with his background for this case. Unable to locate Mulder, they turn to Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who has also left the agency and is now dealing with the bureauracy of Our Lady of Sorrows hospital. She enlists the aid of her reclusive partner and lover, Mulder to leave his long-term isolation and assist the FBI with their case.

While the two ponder their motivation for taking the case, defrocked priest, Father Joseph Crissman (Billy Connolly) is a conflicted man of the cloth. Having slept with 37 young boys, Father Joe lives in a house with other sex offenders and has very vivid visions that lead not only Fox and Mulder but FBI Agents Whitney and the non-believing Mosley Drummy (Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner) to look at him with an increased level of disbelief. Even after his visions turn up several clues both Scully and Drummy still think that the priest is a loon.

But it is the unshakable faith of Mulder that presses on when all hope appears lost. Laying in the bed one night with his lover Scully, he encourages her to press on with a complicated moral dilemma with a patient. Even over the objections of Scully and the FBI, Mulder has the scent of the suspect and simply can’t let go. “It is that quality, your stubborness that made me fall in love with you,” Scully tells Mulder. “And it’s that very quality that ensures that we can’t be together.”

The film is an elaborate missing persons case featuring a secondary story of Mulder’s redemption, Scully’s determination to save a young patient’s life and a race against the clock to find the missing agent. Much like many fans who tuned out, even Scully has had enough. As Mulder doggedly pursues this latest case, Scully informs him that she had enough and has turned the page on her former life. The hypocrisy of the story is that the very quality that Scully implores Mulder to change is the same quality that possesses to fulfill her mission.

With the spark missing from both of the leads, the chief problem is that much of what occurs is very vague and is so slow and confusing that many people will simply lose interest. There’s not enough of what made the show popular for true fans and for people who come to the movie with no knowledge of the show, the chemistry between the two leads isn’t compelling enough to get them to care.

Even a brief cameo from Agent Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) isn’t enough to save this sorry story. Even when you discover what is going on, the filmmakers still leave you in the dark never totally letting you know what you just watched. This second sci-fi film felt as alien as the ones the show’s stars pursued during the show’s run. With its two leads going through the motions to collect their paydays, “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” tells it’s leads to “never give up.” Not only did both stars do just that by agreeing to be in this film five years too late but I believe that this should most certainly be the last X-Files case that these two investigate.

Grade: D+




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