Published Jul 25, 2008I wanted to believe as badly as anyone. Its been six years since the TV series finally ground to an overdue halt, the quality declining and mythology becoming increasingly convoluted in the wake of David Duchovnys rapidly waning involvement with the show. But with Duchovny excited about the role again, it was easy for fans to feel the same about the concept again.
Promising a stand-alone, "monster-of-the-week-style story that would engage X-Files virgins and fiends alike, writer/director/creator Chris Carter took great pains to reveal little else about the films plot. Unfortunately, after seeing I Want To Believe, it seems the real reason the plot was so heavily guarded is because there barely is one. Of all the things a new X-Files movie could be, shockingly bland and predictable is perhaps most surprising.
Carter relies on the audiences emotional investment in our two former FBI heroes, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. To see how the relationship between them has progressed is the only reason this movie exists. Granted, I could watch Duchovny and Gillian Anderson flirtingly discuss science and faith for hours but an intimate character piece mixed with rehashed episode plots and themes is hardly good cinema.
The story picks up years after Mulder was put on trial at the end of the TV series. Now a reclusive beardo in hiding from the FBI, Mulders former professional partner, Scully, is questioned as to his whereabouts by FBI agents Dakota Whitney and Mosley Drummy (rote performances by Amanda Peet and Xzibit). All former charges will be dropped against Mulder as long as he helps the bureau with a missing agent case involving a questionably psychic priest. Concurrently, Scully, now a full-time doctor, is fighting an inner battle of faith on whether to implement an experimental medical technique in effort to save a childs life.
Sadly, theres nothing new or enticing here. The script isnt very clever and the whole project looks and feels like an extended episode, and a mediocre one at that. Theres no grand scope, meaty monster F/X or intriguing philosophical threads to be found.
I want to believe that theres still life in this franchise, and the cast give it their all, but maybe its time for Chris Carter to pass the reins to fresh talent, because the audience wants to believe, and these rich characters deserve more thoughtful stories to exist in than this. (Fox)