Monday, August 18, 2008

Film Review: The X-Files 2

The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Directed by Chris Carter
Released July 25, 2008
Seen July 27, 2008

Talk about the disappointment of the century. I watched the entire television series in preparation for this sequel no one was clamoring for. Having been intensely dissatisfied with the conclusion of the show, I was hoping this could be the second chance to get it right for the “X-Files” legacy. Sadly, this doesn’t even come close. The first tragic mistake is the title: the tagline “I want to believe” refers to a poster David Duchovny’s Agent Mulder had up on his wall in his office which shows a blurry photograph of a UFO, referring of course to a belief in extraterrestrial life. You’d think the movie would have something to do with aliens. Not in the slightest. The film is akin to a lackluster normal episode of the show. None of the show’s legacy is at all preserved. The token theme music plays only for a second at the beginning, and then when a picture of President Bush is shown, a cheesy gimmick which makes the whole show and movie seem trivial. Trailers touted that “only a case this big could bring Scully and Mulder back together”. That sets the film to be immensely unfulfilling, as the case is rather boring and nowhere near “big”. The casting of the psychic as a pedophile seems altogether weird and serves little purpose. Scully and Mulder seem to have lost much of their token chemistry. Casting rapper Xzibit as one of the FBI agents is an explicable decision, and I’d be hard-pressed to come up with as wooden an actor to fill his shoes. Amanda Peet also turns in a horribly forgettable performance, which is especially depressing given her recent great work on NBC’s failed drama “Studio 60 and the Sunset Strip”. Throw on top on that a wasted Callum Keith Rennie (one of the Cylons from “Battlestar Galactica”) with a despicable accent and the most ludicrously inane plotline in recent history and the result is a failure of a film which left me feeling absolutely disgusted.



Ross said...

I couldn't agree more with your criticism of Xzibit, who at most times looked as though he was peering over the shoulder of the person he was talking to in order to sneak a peak at some hidden cue card. Yes, quite unfortunately, Amanda Peet's FBI agent was a sad disappointment. Her character is reminiscent of a matriarch of a large dysfunctional family, whose presence is neither compelling, required, or terribly wanted.

That being said, I must disagree with your consideration of Billy Connolly's "Father Joe." Perhaps not his finest performance (see The Boondock Saints for a taste of the good stuff) his character helps to perversely articulate the emotional struggle faced by the leads. Anderson's "Skully" is in conflict with her religious and spiritual beliefs, and her dependency on the comforts science can bring versus her experiences working with the X-Files. "Mulder," looking even more harried than usual thanks to a noticeable age difference in Duchovny since last he took on the mantle, is also at a crossroads. His predicament is dependent on the time that has passed since his initial quest for the truth behind his sister's unexplained disappearance; the bottom line is that he just doesn't care anymore and wants to believe in something.

Luckily the plot doesn't attempt to rehash the events concerning Samantha Mulder's fate (a la Season 7's aptly named "Closure"). Instead Chris Carter takes something unique in Hollywood these days: a risk. Who would have thought it?! He relies on the audience, and hopefully the fanbase, to come to the cinema prepared with the back-stories of these characters. And thankfully, we see something real: what do two former Feds do almost a decade after learning the precise date our planet will be invaded by aliens?

They live their lives.

Abe, you comment on the subtitle to this film as having little bearing on or connection to the film's plot. You ask where the aliens are. I ask you: why do we as an audience need them? Only about 60 of the 120 episodes of The X-Files concerned the on-going aliens arc. The other 60 hours of television were "Monster of the Week" episodes. The other 60 hours of television did just what this film has done: examine the human propensity to question the need to question, and the human tendency to categorize, and criticize, the unusual happenings in life as impossible ones.

Was the plot innane? Perhaps. Where some of the characters poorly executed. Absolutely. Was Mitch Pileggi's awful cameo necessary? No.

Did the film examine the subtle and sometimes inexplicable marriage between faith and science, between the possible and the improbable?

I want to believe it did.

whiteygilmore said...


F? did you really not want to see Mulder and Scully sail off together THAT MUCH?

I mean, I agree that any movie involving head transplants is far from perfect... but it did what it set out to do: Put those two lovebirds together for "The X-Files 3 - End of the Fucking World" when it comes out in 2012.

Youve spent as much time as I have with all 9 seasons leading up to this, you know that December 22, 2012 is when the aliens are coming. Look at that date my friend, we can be sure of 2 things:

1) Its when we will be back to our mythology.

2)Oscars all around