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I Want to Believe
I rather liked The X-Files. I spent much of the mid to late 90s looking forward to the next episode appearing on a Wednesday evening on BBC1. To my taste the ‘monster of the week’ episodes worked best, with the fantastic thrown up against the real world of the FBI. I found the ongoing alien conspiracy episodes weaker, although some were good.

In later years I found the series became rather bogged down in its mythology, and what were aspects of the characters in early episodes became heavily defining features in later episodes (Scully and her religion, Mulder and his bloody sister). Some time around series six I stopped watching, but a couple of years ago I picked up the full nine series in a DVD box set, and [info - personal] kateaw and I watched them through in order. I was surprised to find that the last two series, featuring the agents Doggett and Reyes, brought back some of the energy and interest that had been lost from Mulder and Scully.

I was excited when a new X-Files film I Want to Believe was released last year. As is my wont, I didn’t see it at the cinema, and popped the Blu-ray on my Amazon wishlist, to pick up when it dipped below a tenner. And so it did, and I was delighted to watch the film this week.

Unlike the earlier X-Files film, Fight the Future, this new film didn’t engage in the ongoing conspiracy story line, and was better as a result. Rather oddly, given its source, it barely touched upon science fiction themes or settings — it was more of a straight serial-killer thriller.

It felt rather like a good multi-episode story from the television series, and that is a good thing. The look of the film works well, with a fair number of scenes in a threateningly snowy environment. There is some development of the relationship between Mulder and Scully, but they retain the characteristics that I found unappealing in later series of the television show. To my taste, David Duchovny is a little wooden at the best of times, and he suffered from trying to act behind a wooly beard for the early part of the film. Gillian Anderson is much more interesting on screen, although she doesn’t seem to have been given much to work with here.

There are unsubtle parallels drawn between perhaps unnecessary medical procedures performed by the Scully (which seem somewhat contrived in the plot) and those performed by the villains. The script is weakest in its treatment of Scully, her medical career, and her religion. Scully’s conflict with a priest running the hospital and the references to stem cell therapy are rather feeble. Religion is seldom seriously tackled in thrillers, and it isn’t seriously tackled here. The nuns looking into an operating theatre are unnecessary.

Still, I am glad they made the film, it is good to see the old characters back in action, and I hope there is more X-Files to come. Not a classic, but I’ll look forward to watching it again.

This entry was originally posted at http://tobyaw.dreamwidth.org/167102.html.

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There are talks (rumours really) of a 3rd movie being prepared for a 2012 release which would coincide with the events of The Truth but no official word as of yet.

I absolutely loved I Want To Believe and found it hard to stomach the wave of criticisms that followed in its wake, so I appreciate your much more analytical review.

As a side note, I don't actually own series 9 on DVD and I'm not sure I'm likely to any time soon. I got quite disappointed by the last 2 seasons and while season 8 isn't too bad, the super-soldiers plot arc isn't one I particularly liked, nor did I emphathised with either Dogget or Reyes. Certainly season 9 is just full of pointless episodes (William, Jump The Shark among others)

I hope a fresh movie can be made based of where the story has been led to thus far but we'll just have to wait and see. All I know is that if it happens, I certainly will break my rule of "no longer going to the movies due to extortionate prices"

I was predisposed to like the film, and I did like it. I thought it was a good film, but I so wanted it to be a great film. And it wasn’t great. Which is such a pity, because at its best the X-Files television series was great.

I can’t see that an X-Files film could work for a general audience if it was too tangled up with the continuity of the television series. I just want to see them up against something properly supernatural.

I’ve pretty much given up on the cinema. Ticket prices are obnoxious, and I hate paying money and then having adverts played at me. To my taste, a film is best experienced at home.

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Skinner was woefully underused in the film. He was such a favourite of mine in the series.

Would you like to borrow the DVD box set of the series? Lots of watching…

My favourite episode of all was the one shot as a pulp 'tabloid' writer wrote his conspiracy book about them. Including some lines like,

"That's when two Men in Black turned up. One was disguised as a woman. He wasn't really convincing. That hair was too red."

Jose Chung's "From Outer Space"

Yes, I AM sad ;)

I felt the opposite about Daivd Duchovny. I enjoyed him more then Gillian Anderson. Her part in the film had more drama to it then Duchovny's but that wasn't his fault. I thought he did a great job with what he was given.

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