I had to toss out my first review, because it turned out not to be a review, but a thirty-stanza poem about my love for Gillian Anderson. It’ll eventually be published in a book I’m writing, tentatively titled “My Love For Gillian Anderson”. I’m shopping it around right now. So watch out for it.
I Want To Believe picks up six years after the series’ end. Our ex-agents are in West Virginia, Mulder still in hiding and Scully a doctor. After the disappearance of an FBI agent, the Bureau is contacted by Father Joe Crissman, a convicted pedophile ex-priest who claims he’s having psychic visions that can help them find her. When Father Joe turns up a cut-off arm buried in the middle of an empty field, the FBI gets in touch with Scully and asks her to send Mulder a message. If he can come and weigh in on whether or not Father Joe is legit, they’ll clear his name. It takes a little prodding, but he accepts, and we’re off!
I’m a huge X-Files fan, so I’ll get my complaints out of the way before anything else. As most people know, the film doesn’t really touch on the show’s mythology. Chris Carter’s reasoning being that he wanted to make the movie as accessible to new viewers as possible. I’m not sure if that was the right decision. The movie might attract a few new people, sure, but the people who are really going to want to see it are fans already. So when the government conspiracy that Mulder and Scully spent a decade trying to uncover is barely hinted at, it makes things a little confusing. Where are Doggett and Reyes? What happened to Gibson Praise? Did Toothpick Man and the Syndicate just give up looking for Mulder? Inquiring minds want to know.
About an hour in, the movie’s plot gets a little muddled and you’re confused in the end as to what the bad guys were actually trying to do. The movie’s two subplots, one dealing with a sick child being treated by Scully and the other with Mulder and Scully’s relationship, almost felt like they were arguing with each other over who was more important. It was a little unnatural and made the movie feel more like an extended episode. Now that that’s over with…
The story definitely feels like The X-Files, and that’s enough to bring a lot of fans back in. As Mulder and Scully, Duchovny and Anderson never disappointed and jump right back into their roles here without missing a beat. And Billy Connolly as Father Joe, along with Amanda Peet and Xziibit, make nice additions to the cast. Watching the movie you realize you’re just happy it’s back.
In the end, going back to The X-Files is like sitting on an old couch. One that’s perfectly grooved to the shape of my ass. Comfortable. Reliable. Revisiting these characters is like going back home, and that’s why I can turn a blind eye to any of the movie’s shortcomings. There’s a scene toward the end of the movie when (**SPOILER ALERT!**) AD Skinner turns up, and you heard half the theater go, “There he is!”. Stuff like that is half the fun of these movies. You go in and your already friends with everybody.
There are a lot of people saying that Carter and co. should have skipped another movie altogether. One complaint I’ve heard is that the show’s become irrelevant since it went off the air. Probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. One, it’s only been six years since the show ended. Two, I think audiences are still hungry for these types of stories. I don’t think I can watch FOX for five minutes without having three or four commercials for Fringe thrown in my face. So… me 1. Haters 0.
The movie has a few structure issues, but it’s a worthy edition to the X-Files universe, especially if Carter follows it up with his proposed sequel dealing with the imminent alien invasion, the date of which was revealed in the series’ last episode. Non-fans won’t mind waiting a few months to check it out, but X-Philes will be eager to jump back on board.
7 out of 10 stars