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"The X Files: I Want to Believe"

Directed by Chris Carter.
Written by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.
Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet and Billy Connolly.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  8/2/08


Please note: I am NOT an "X Files" fan.  I watched the TV show maybe five times (it was on for nearly ten seasons), and I saw the previous movie, "X Files: Fight the Future", back in '98 and thought it was pretty good.  But, I cannot go toe-for-toe with any fan who knows the back story for the side characters of the show, or why Mulder and Scully never got it on during the show's run, or all of the freakin' aliens these guys took down.

So, when the newest "X Files" movie came out, I decided the only way I would go see this movie is if I could see it with a fan of the show...enter one Gordon "The Professional" Stokes, who was such a diehard of this show that he had an X Files poster in his apartment up until he moved.  (He might even still have it...but, after this movie, he might take that puppy down.)

Here's the best way to summarize the new movie--no freakin' aliens.  That's right:  NO FREAKIN' ALIENS.  Now, if I called my movie "Klan Members Get Set on Fire", one would expect KKK members to, you know, get set on fire.  So, if you call your movie "X Files", one would expect there to be something based on the TV show, or even paranormal about the plot.

Uhh, no.  In the new film, "The X Files: I Want to Believe", Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are lured out of FBI retirement to help feds (including, uh, rapper Xzibit, the biggest actor-to-character stretch in modern movie history) catch a suspect who has abducted an FBI agent...the hook is that the feds are using a psychic/convicted pedophile (Billy Connolly) to catch this suspect, and they only know of two people crazy enough to sign on with this case.

For me, the film was very ordinary.  Mulder and Scully are fine to watch as partners, the case is interesting but never that engaging, there may be no action but we are given little bits and pieces of the case randomly enough that I was intrigued, soundtrack is blah, no special effects, no stunt sequences, no surprises.  It actually would make a better-than-average TV movie, but as a theatrical release, it underwhelms.

For Gordon, the fan, I sensed disappointment from the get-go.  Gordon normally comes off as this very kind, very humble person, but in the company of me--someone who brings out the worst in everyone--he was a little more apt to express some anger.  He wrote this to include in the review:

"...according to your rating scale, I'd go with Matinee.  Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination.  However, X Files always dealt with 'life themes' beyond aliens, monsters and weirdos.  They tried to explore some of that in the movie (Scully's faith, Mulder trying to redeem himself, their relationship).  Though I was ultimately angered by the lack of aliens, I could have gone with a crime investigation movie.  But, if you're going to have a bizarre crime happen, give me something really bizarre, like the episodes with the chubacabra or the worm man or something really paranormal.  I guess I'll sit on my disgust and wait for that big ship full of green men to show up."

And there you have it.  If you want to see this film, it is fading VERY fast, so you better hurry and catch it, or accept the three-month wait until the DVD comes out in time for the holidays. 

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09