The FBI: Screwing up the X-files since 1993.One question was burning in my mind as I strolled out of a screening of The X-Files: I Want to Believe: Why was it made? Was it the product of marketing research - a sufficient amount of X-Files fans loyal enough to see this film no matter what? Did director Chris Carter (X-Files creator) get together with the two main stars (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) and say, "Let's do another movie and see how long and drawn out and boring we can make it?"
This is one huge lesson in vapidity. Now, don't get me wrong, I wanted to like it. I was never a big fan of the series, but I have caught some decently clever and fairly warped episodes in re-runs. Based on that fact alone, I thought I might be more sympathetic to this movie. Even blending in body parts, a pedophile psychic priest, a love interest, missing agents, with a twist on the Frankenstein legend turns out to be a big waste of time. Want to Believe is at the bottom rung of mediocre.
The story unfolds as Mulder (Duchovny) is drawn out of hiding by Scully (Anderson) to assist the FBI in finding a missing agent. They are following a lead from a questionable source: visions of an ex-priest Father Joe (Billy Connolly). Some quasi-intrigue is mixed in with the underlying themes of God versus science versus instinct versus what the FBI says. There's chance for a believable love story between Scully and Mulder (they're now an item) but it's screwed up with tortuous soap opera dialogue. The convoluted clues are not presented well, so we, the audience, have a hard time figuring out why they are even giving them to us in the first place. The incompetence of the FBI in figuring things out is annoying. It was like a "guess how many mistakes are on this page" kid's book exercise.
Speaking of agents, Amanda Peet is so extremely miscast as the head of her bureau team that I could hardly look at the screen. She looked like she was about to do something cute every second she was onscreen. But even worse was Xzibit as the unbelieving FBI agent scoffing at everything, acting all dead serious with a permanent scowl etched in his face. Duchovny actually brought a little more life and humor to his character than I'm used to seeing and Anderson was more compassionate and caring, softened by her obvious love for life and all things human. Connolly, a really funny guy (and not a bad actor) seriously delves deep into in his Father Joe role (a priest in a world of hurt, praying for forgiveness for buggering 37 alter boys). Director Carter should've spent a lot more time with his character as it showed signs of potential.
By the time the plot wraps around the body parts/organ-donor-heist caper and the secluded snow-covered Russian Frankenstein laboratory and mutation plant, I had given up on attempting to care. The compound is even guarded by a crazy vicious two headed-dog (experiment gone awry) and that scene still fails to deliver. I know for a fact that a two-headed dog can spice things up-but not this time.
One thing I should give this movie credit for is avoiding a lot of high tech mumbo jumbo to tell the story. It's too bad there was hardly any story to tell. One of the key quotes in the film is a non-mystifying command of "don't give up." Sorry, I gave up in the first 15 minutes...it's a shame too, because I so wanted to believe.
X-Files: I Want to Believe ★✩✩✩
Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly, Xzibit, Amanda Peet. Director: Chris Carter. Rated:PG 13