The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Rated PG-13; Directed by Chris Carter; Starring Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, Xzibit
It’s been 10 years since the last X-Files movie and six years since the end of the TV series. A new film continuing the adventures of FBI agents Mulder and Scully should come as a delight. Too bad The X-Files: I Want to Believe doesn’t delight. Oh, it’s not too bad, but it’s not too much fun either.
When a female FBI agent goes missing, the services of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) are needed. It seems that a psychic is providing the FBI with their only leads, and as Mulder used to investigate psychic phenomena, he’s the perfect person for the job. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), working at a hospital, isn’t interested in returning to the FBI life, but finds herself involved as she questions the psychic, played by Billy Connolly.
The movie feels like an overblown episode of the series. Designed as a regular movie thriller with no space aliens, the movie offers some spooky scenes, living up to the best moments in the series, but overall it seems slow and clunky. With a focus on the battle between logic and faith, the emotional highs feel forced and the talky battle loses power as the movie goes on. Director Chris Carter (creator of the original series) doesn’t seem to control the pacing well and several scenes are awkwardly filmed. He does create a nice moody atmosphere, but the icy British Columbia scenery may have more to do with that. The film does have a few crackling bits of suspense, and plenty of body parts too. Some humor creeps through, but most of it is drowned in the heavy proceedings.
It is good to see both Duchovny and Anderson performing together again. Both do well, with Mulder’s enthusiasm balanced against Scully’s dismay. It brings back memories of the TV show. Yet something felt out of alignment. The script forces Gillian Anderson to play Scully as more emotional and overwrought, while Duchovny, as Mulder, comes across as less than smart. Billy Connolly is appropriately creepy as the ex-priest with psychic powers and the rest of the cast provide good backup to the proceedings.
Fans of The X-Files may enjoy seeing Mulder and Scully investigating something mysterious, but unfortunately, seeing them again doesn’t offer a great experience. Maybe too much time has passed since the series. The X-Files: I Want to Believe is a disappointment.