Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Want to Believe
release: July 25, 2008
[worth: $4] There is an episode in the last season of the X-Files titled "Nothing Important Happened Today." That may as well been the subtitle instead of the misleading one chosen for the second X-Files movie. Throughout the original series, that statement grew to mean less and less about the existence of alien life and more and more about not giving up hope on fruitless things such as Fox Mulder's search for his long lost, alien-abducted sister. Given the show's ever-evolving mythology concerning aliens, conspiracy, super soldiers and colonization as well as the series ending (unsurprisingly) with no clear resolution, I Want to Believe, certainly for those obsessed with the show, had its expectations. Instead, we get just the opposite from creator Chris Carter. No aliens, no conspiracy, no anything. Not even agent Doggett saying something like "killing a man that can't be killed? Something stinks." We get little more than the poster of a space craft on Mulder's wall, suggesting that the whole topic is washed-up like a band once popular in the 1980s playing at a county fair. Although Believe is not without several one-liners from Mulder, Carter seems to have decided, without consulting the fans, that the mythology is dead and buried. But if you're going to drop that, at least make this 2008 version more exciting and suspenseful.

About a third of the film is devoted to Dana Scully's melodramatic conflict within herself on whether to do whatever she can as a doctor to help a sick boy or to simply let it go and allow him to die peacefully. Yes, i get it, she wants to believe that there is hope to save him. Whoop dee do. Meanwhile, a pedaphile priest who claims to be psychic is helping the FBI to find a missing agent. He finds body parts under the snow and tells the agents that she's still alive. The trailer for the movie suggested something significant was buried in the snow and ice (an alien ship, perhaps? a bizarre unexplained artifact? no such luck). No, it's just a severed arm. This movie is like a severed arm. Severed from the series in an attempt to make a few dollars and keep the hope of the X-Files saga alive. This is a frustrating 100 minutes where we wait for a revelation from Scully that there is a connection to a bigger and vast picture. Unfortunately, this never materializes and we are left with one of the most anti-climactic endings within the last few years. Yes, this was a decently made film with lots of snow in the background. The suspense and the uncovering of a mystery, however, is missing as much as Mulder's sister. -Kenyon Hopkin

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