July 25, 2008

The X-Files: I Want To Believe (07/25/08)

Lettergrade: C-

The first hour or so of The X-Files: I Want To Believe feels sort of like a cheap TV movie knock-off of The Silence Of The Lambs. In it, David Duchovony and Gillian Anderson are called out of retirement (and back to their signature roles) in order to help FBI agent Amanda Peet locate some missing people with an assist from a possible psychic played by Billy Connolly. It isn't until roughly the half-way point that someone suddenly takes defibrillators to the picture and things start getting good, but I'm not entirely sure that the end sum is worth the ticket price.

I was never that into the X-Files TV show. The closest I got to watching it regularly was in college when I'd hang out with a couple on Sunday nights who happened to be fans. Nevertheless, I have the distinct impression that the movie will be a slight disappointment to most of the hardcore devotees and to newcomers alike. The show often dealt with ongoing conspiracies and interconnected mysteries, it seems, and it's a little strange to revive it all five years later for what is essentially a stand-alone installment. Like Indiana Jones 4 earlier this summer, this second X-Files flick's main crime is that it doesn't really advance the lore of the series at all, and as such, you have to wonder why they went through the trouble of making it. It's sort of like they got the band back together, but they're not playing any of their hits.

There's an update of Scully and Mulder's personal relationship, I guess... oh, and you get to see Duchovony wearing a fake beard for a while. Somehow, though, I feel like a movie investigating how that beard mysteriously got approved by the art department would be more interesting than what the film is ultimately about.

In a summer full of wondrously-photographed spectacle like The Dark Knight and even Hellboy II: The Golden Army, it's easy to forget that having virtuoso talent behind the camera is usually a rare and awe-inspiring thing until you see a picture like this which is staged far more conservatively. That's not to say the flick is poorly photographed, but it probably wasn't wise of 20th Century Fox to put the film out between two flashy entries like Batman and The Mummy 3: Curse Of The Jade Scorpion (which, despite how shitty it looks, probably at least makes use of a crane every now and again).

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