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The X Files: I Want To Believe
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The X Files: I Want To Believe – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

An FBI agent has gone missing. Father Joseph (Connolly) – a convicted paedophile now living in a halfway house – has been having visions which turn up clues – such as arms buried under ice fields.
Agent Drummy (Xzibit) is highly sceptical and every time the priest comes up with a vision, it just confirms his view that he’s an accomplice in the disappearance. But Special Agent Dakota Whitney (Peet) wants to believe – and if you’re an FBI agent, trying to follow up a supernatural lead, who you gonna call?
That’s right – TV’s Fox Mulder. Six years after anyone last saw him, a bearded Mulder is pretty much living as a hermit and the only way anyone can find him is through his former partner – and secret lover – Dana Scully (Anderson), now working as a doctor in a children’s hospital.
Scully persuades Mulder to come out of hiding (of course, or there’d be no film) and he helps Witney and Drummy search for their missing agent, going through an increasingly anti-social bunch of psychics, murderers and mad doctors.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe this would be worth the six year wait since the end of the TV series. I wanted to believe this would be more than just a double-length episode of the TV show. I wanted to believe it would be worth paying to see something you’d otherwise have seen on TV for free. I wanted to believe that with six years to prepare for it, it would at least be as good as the TV show at its best.
On every count, it disappoints.
There are no aliens, no goblins, ghoulies or shapeshifting monsters – and almost more disturbingly for fans, no government conspiracies.
A cameo for Walter Skinner will raise a wry smile to those in the know, but won’t come anywhere close to reflecting the imaginative glory days of the series at its best – or even worst.
The film is bursting with stereotypes – from the intrepid duo reunited for one last case, to the paedophile priest in a halfway house, and the two agents who hear him spout visions before finding body parts, with one believing he’s psychic while the other concludes he must be the culprit.
And what is Billy Connolly doing in this role? OK, so he might like to get away from his comic persona from time to time, but this is neither dramatic nor thrilling. There’s almost nothing to this role apart from wandering around in his dressing gown and moaning a bit. Even crying tears of blood doesn’t make him a particularly interesting character. It’s a waste of a great British talent.
So, with these psychic visions being the closest the plot gets to the inexplicable phenomena of the X Files of old, enter Fox Mulder to use his expertise to … well, all he actually does is listen to Father Joseph and follow him to see what he comes up with next, which is pretty much what Agent Whitney was doing anyway.
Oh – and what’s Dana Scully doing while he’s loitering on crime scenes? Trying against the odds to treat a terminally ill boy … who has no relevance to the plot whatsoever. OK, it’s sad that he’s sick, but who is he and why should I care? Every time the sick boy appears, you feel yourself screaming at the screen “Gimme aliens!”
What plot there is largely hangs on the two phrases “I want to believe” and “don’t Give Up,” neither of which is anything like as profound as the words of wisdom you might read in your horoscope.
The plot is generally filled with Hollywood-style conveniences and contrivances and inexplicable holes. A couple of throwaway lines from Mulder aside, there’s almost no humour and with several years (seasons) worth of sexual tension between Mulder and Scully now resolved, we don’t even have that to cling onto.
About the most interesting thing about the film is the bushy beard that adorns David Duchovny’s face when we meet him – but as a sign that he’s back in the game, even that gets shaven off by scene three.
I wanted to believe, but the film didn’t even make an effort to warrant my attempts.
The film will leave all but the most hardened X File fans as cold as the winter landscapes under which the bad guys bury the body parts of the victims when they’re finished with them.
If this is the best Chris Carter can come up with after six years in the making, he should’ve left it buried under the ice with the body parts – because it’s not even cool.

opens nationwide 1st August 2008

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