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I want to believe
by Asa Butcher
2008-08-09 09:44:51
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The X Files: I Want to Believe
Directed by Chris Carter
2008, 20th Century Fox

I know some of you were expecting the seventh chapter of my fiction story "Michigan Jones: Hit Man" today, but that will come tomorrow because today I want to review the new "X-Files" movie The X Files: I Want to Believe in honour of Gillian Anderson's 40th birthday. I wish the review was going to be a wholly positive affair for her landmark anniversary, but I was left feeling rather hollow as the closing credits rolled.

Am I an X-Phile? Half and half is my answer. I was once a dedicated fan of the TV series back in the '90s and still own the first four VHS releases of Season One, but as the seasons went on and the stories became stuck in a similarity loop I began to lose interest. I probably switched off around Season 4 or 5, so I am unfamiliar with events leading to the series conclusion in Season 8, but I did return for the first feature film The X Files released in 1998.

I was hoping the new film would be as good as the 1998 film, with a great traditional "X-Files" plot concerning government conspiracies and all the elements we fell in love with this series in the first place, but it doesn't have any of that. The X, in this case, is a paedophile former Catholic priest who has some psychic abilities that assist the FBI in their search for a missing agent. It isn't a bad premise except… except that the paedophile priest is played by legendary Scottish comedian Billy Connolly!

"But it's Billy Connolly," I kept saying to myself every time he appeared on screen, "It's Billy "D.I.V.O.R.C.E." Connolly, one of my favourite comedians! He's no paedophile!" I tried in The Last Samurai to take him seriously as an actor, but my mind was stuck on his former profession. I am not saying he is not a good actor and should abandon Hollywood, but his presence in an X-Files movie was distracting to ay the least.

As I said, the plot is about a kidnapped FBI agent and illegal organ harvesting - body organs, not the musical instrument - that never really fully-engaged me. Organ harvesting isn't really spooky and mysterious enough when there are hundreds of far more supernatural and conspiratorial inspirations from which to pick. All is not lost; there are some exciting moments, moments that fans will acknowledge, comedy to at least make you smile and a touch of a long-awaited romance.

The reunion of David Duchovny's Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson's Dr. Dana Scully after a decade's separation was a moment to savour, yet it was strangely lacklustre. Duchovny seemed as though he had never been away from the role and was the lovable dedicated obsessed Mulder X-Philes have grown to love, yet Anderson never really got going. This certainly wasn't the fault of the actress, who is looking fabulously sexy at 40, but the storyline that has her pulling on the reigns and slowing her re-entry in FBI life every time she just gets going. Anderson does have some scenes of which she can be proud, primarily anything that deals with her life in the hospital away from the ongoing FBI investigation.

Overall The X Files: I Want to Believe wasn't a bad film, it just wasn't what I was expecting after such a long wait. Billy Connolly does a sterling job as the priest, once you slap yourself and force your mind to look past his past, and it is reassuring to X-Philes everywhere to see Mulder and Scully reunited once again. We can only hope that should a third "X-Files" movie be given the Green Light they will return to the roots of Season One because I want to believe they can do better…

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