Mulder and Scully are called back to duty by the FBI when a former priest claims to be receiving psychic visions pertaining to a kidnapped agent.
The X Files: I Want to Believe
I have watched this movie once. This was on .
The X Files: I Want to Believe is the second feature length outing of the successful ‘90s cult science-fiction TV show of the same name. I was an avid fan of the TV series and watched almost every single episode up until both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson both seem to lose interest and were replaced with other FBI agents - somewhere around series seven.
Most episodes were 45 minutes long, but occasionally there were double episodes which, especially in the early series, were extremely good. They gave the writers chance to explore the mythology and characters in more depth. The later series started to focus more and more around a massive alien story arc - something which the show had kept coming back to but never lingered too long. The first movie, released in 1998 felt like one of the good double episode, albeit with a large budget. The movie also acted as a bridge between series, connecting and expanding the story-lines and character issues which were developed in the series.
It was six years after the end of the nine series run that the second movie was released. I can’t remember whether there was much hype around the movie, as many fans had no doubt moved on from seeing another adaptation of their favourite FBI characters. It has taken me over two years to finally watch the movie, which I think says something.
Both Fox Mulder and Dana Scully have moved on from their jobs at the FBI, Mulder seemingly wanted by the FBI and Scully working as a doctor at a religious-lead hospital. Two FBI agents, a woman who “wants to believe” and a cynical male partner - the same dynamic but opposite gender roles to the original characters - arrive looking for Mulder to help solve a case. Playing on the guilt of his missing daughter, Mulder delves back in to the role he has clearly missed, while Scully tries to keep out of the dark world she has left behind.
There are many issues with the movie. Firstly, I felt it was unnecessary and I am not sure there was an audience for another outing. The story didn’t delve in to the larger alien mythology that the writers had worked so long on building up throughout the long running show. The science-fiction angle which made the series so successful was hardly utilised and felt more like a MacGuffin that an integral part of the story.
However, the are some good points to the episode. For me, there quite a few surprising moments during the first act - mainly to do with the relationship between Mulder and Scully, who appear to be a couple, although, she still calls him Mulder! The chemistry and ambiguous but playful relationship between the lead characters, which is part of what made the original series successful, is very strong and it shines through in this episode, although we’re left wanting more depth and conclusion between them. There is a good cameo towards the end of the movie, a good nod to fans of the series.
As a stand-alone movie - without the entire history and expectations - is suspenseful and makes a decent, but not exceptional, thriller. The first act suffers from a relatively slow pace but the movie has an exceptionally strong final act, especially in comparison to movie as a whole.
Overall the movie felt more like an episode of the TV series, which could have benefited from and seemed more suited to the 45 minute run time. The characterisation was good, but again felt like it was part of a longer running relationship-based story arc. An average thriller which is tainted by the expectations.