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Do You Still Believe OR Do You Just Want to Believe?

  • Feb 11, 2009

The show was a huge phenomenon in the 90's, "The X-Files" was a show that delved into government conspiracies, the extraterrestrial, the supernatural and the downright creepy. The first five seasons were one of the best things to grace television in my opinion. Being an "X-files" fan, of course I would be rather curious as to how this new movie would pan out. The first film based on the series, "X-Files: Fight the Future" was tied into the series continuity--the second film, this time around is a more of a sci-fi drama aimed towards fan of the series. Chris Carter is at the helm as director of "X-Files: I want to Believe", and he takes aim at not aliens, ghouls and conspiracies but rather directly at religion and science.

Monica Bannon is an F.B.I. agent who disappears after a violent attack. The bureau of course takes care of its own and special agent Whitney (Amanda Peet) is assisted by a "psychic" named Joe who is also a former priest and a convicted pedophile. When the investigation gets to be a bit more than the usual detective work can handle, agent Whitney enlists the aid of former F.B.I. agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to find her former partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) who specializes in the "spooky" cases of the past. Mulder now lives as a recluse since he was stripped of his credibility and Scully is now a practicing doctor. The two are very reluctant to assists but they find themselves drawn to the mystery of father Joe (Billy Connolly)…

Now this is a review of the extended cut and since I haven't seen the theatrical release, please bear with me as I try to grapple with the film. Director Chris Carter does attempt at a fresh start as he sidesteps the temptation of making a movie with the same old stuff. The film's main premise is about religion and of course science--its abominations and advantages. Father Joe was a "tainted" priest looking for forgiveness and of course he is not a very credible source of information. There is a subtle commentary about redemption and the ease of hasty human judgments, the film does dawdle a little at these elements. The film also has a very provocative subject matter about the aberrations of science.

Carter uses Scully's new-found position as a practitioner of medicine to further emphasize medical science's advantages all the while focusing on its potential perversions. The film is a thematic affair, the film has some strong references to faith, religion and medical issues. "I want to Believe.." isn't preaching on those issues but it was very obvious that it was trying to appeal to one's skepticism and interest about those issues. The film does have a very interesting premise but I have to say the film's script was a tad unpolished and unrefined. Some elements' motivations are left to the audience's perception and does open some holes.

The film dwells on the Scully's and Mulder's reluctance to restart their former lives and the dialogue is filled with speeches that serves as exposition to the musings of the duo. While it is quite interesting to see Scully and Mulder deliver their usual discussions, it became a little too heavy-handed and the pace became a little too slow for my taste. I do understand Carter's sense of restraint; it is very difficult to awaken the characters' sense of passion and relentlessness in a 90+ minute film, that he needed to rely a little on familiarity. Carter did find the series' spirit and sense of pace but he played a little too safe and avoided taking any risks--which may be a good idea but it resulted with a movie with low ambitions. Carter must've been concerned that he may lose control if he relied on intense scenes than character interaction. I‘m not saying this as a negative comment but rather a simple observation.

"X-Files: I want to Believe" does not offer any surprises, and it does come a little short on suspense and thrills. However, it was really fun to see Mulder and Scully scurry around amid the usual intrigue and controversy--it feels like "old times". The film doesn't add that much to the "X-Files" mythos and its execution is something we have seen before. The film does have its effective mystery and it emulated the tempo of the TV series; it does get under one‘s skin in some ways. The faith and medical thing did manage to show good emotions. "I want to Believe" isn't as exciting an experience as I'd hoped it to be but at least I wasn't unhappy with Carter's intentions.

Recommended! [3 ½- stars] It does have its sense of nostalgia.

Video/audio: 2.35 ratio anamorphic widescreen. Great transfer on the DVD especially when up-converted to 1080p. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is quite powerful and clear.

Extras: Director full-length commentary/ interview with Chris Carter/ deleted scenes/ EFX feature/ Xzibit music video/galleries.

Disc 2 has a documentary called "Trust No one: Can X-Files remain a secret?" that covers the film's production. (I haven't had the time to see this) It also has a digital copy.

Dvd Cover

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July 30, 2010
I thought this was better than most gave it credit for, excellent review.
March 05, 2010
I liked this movie, I liked how this film worked it didn't let you down and it gave you the X-Files adventure you would come to expect from Chris Carter, but it also felt more like a lost episode than a movie. Good review.
March 08, 2009
I haven't seen it for the reasons I mentioned, namely that I gave up on it when it abandoned its Kolchack format. So I really can't say anything about either film..
February 14, 2009
Despite my love for sci-fi, I never really got into The X-Files, though I did watch a few episodes back in the day. If you were to compare this film to the original X-Files film from 2000, in more depth, how would the two stand side by side. In other words, which is better?
March 06, 2009
hm, that's a good question. The first film was tied into the series' continuity while this was left as a thing of nostalgia. I think I prefer the first film but not by much.
February 13, 2009
Are you familiar with the British series from the 60s called THE PRISONER? That was an experience. We all tuned in one night expecting to see SECRET AGENT and suddenly it morphed into THE PRISONER! Wow! Taking one very successful show and completely changing it without telling the audience, that takes guts.
March 06, 2009
Nope, but I do dimly remember hearing about it. I'll see if I can find it. thanks for the tip!
February 13, 2009
Karen, I agree. It got all confused and uninteresting once it tried to explain things--I guess the writers bit off more than they can chew. I predict the same thing to happen to "Lost" anytime soon. It is hard to keep up the momentum.
February 12, 2009
The series lost its way when when it abandoned it orginal premise which was to up-date KOLCHACK for modern audiences. When it did this it found itself painted into a corner it couldn't get out of easily.
February 12, 2009
Thanks, Ling! This movie wasn't exactly that great but I thought it was very decent. Definitely played it too safe and avoided any risks. Still, it was really fun to see Mulder and Scully scurrying it was nice to see "classic" characters such as Skinner.
February 11, 2009
It's interesting how this review has a slightly different viewpoint from another review on this film. I used to be a total X-Phile too. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars too, but mostly out of nostalgia as you mentioned.
More The X-Files: I Want to Believe reviews
Quick Tip by . November 23, 2009
The 2nd theatrical release for THE X FILES plays out more like a bloated TV episode than it does a memorable stand-alone film.
review by . July 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Me of little faith
I really wanted to know why another X Files movie got made.  The show had it's peaks and valleys towards the end.  It had a great movie shown during the original run and the finale to the show buttoned up a lot of issues.  Why another movie to reinvest in a show that jumped the shark so badly?  The show had sloppy consistancy at times, pandered to the audiences by selling out characters and milked out a lot with some real crap episodes towards the end.  I left X Files …
Quick Tip by . October 07, 2009
Quaint and contained movie created long after the original show ended. Nothing flashy but nothing special.
review by . February 04, 2009
I was never a real die hard fan of The X-Files, but I did watch it off and on and when I did, I enjoyed it. Enough so that my dad and I went to go see the first movie in the theater so when I had always kept a watchful eye for when the would make a sequel even though I didn't watch the show all that much. This film was just about what I was expecting.    When two actors who did a show together for almost ten years don't work together for a while there is going to be some kind …
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Movies, Science Fiction, Scifi, Xfiles, Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, David Duchovney, Gillian Anderson


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