Weekend Review – “The X-Files: I Want To Believe”

Mulder and Scully are back on the big screen after a long absence from any screen. Was it worth the wait?

Cast and Crew Information

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully
Amanda Peet as Dakota Whitney
Billy Connolly as Father Joe
Xzibit as Agent Drummy
Callum Keith Rennie as Janke Dacyshyn
Alex Diakun, Stephen E. Miller, Lorena Gale, Sarah-Jane Redmond and Stacee Copeland all play different characters than they played in the series (as does Callum Keith Rennie).

Written by Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter
Directed by Chris Carter


The F.B.I. need help tracking down a missing agent, and given the nature of the case, decide that Fox Mulder is the best man to track her down. They track down Scully at the hospital she’s working at and ask her to pass along the invitation.

High Point

The reintroduction of Mulder harkens back to the best “banter” scenes of the original series.

Low Point

It takes too freakin’ long to get the team back together.

The Review

This doesn’t feel very original. It feels like a better than average episode, shot like season six but feeling emotionally like season four. Those of us looking to recapture the old glory with a new story will enjoy it, but we’re not going to get anything particularly different from what we saw in the series. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects were well done. Mat Beck is back on the job leading the visual effects team, and they deliver nicely. The story doesn’t require effects as extravagant as the first movie, but they’re still well done. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is written in a way that holds together with a story and villain that fit right in with the series. This could have easily been integrated as one of the better episodes, and picks up right where the series left off without ignoring the time lapse. In some ways, though, that episodic feel hurts it, as it really doesn’t feel like a story that needed to be told on the big screen. The first movie was “bigger” than any episode had been, and was well suited to the big screen. This one feels more like an “Irresistable” or “Oubliette” than a movie. As mentioned above, it also takes far too long to get the old team reassembled. From a character perspective, the delay makes sense, but I found it less than satisfying after taking this long to get new X-Files content out. (I wonder if this script was chosen specifically because it needed such a small production budget compared to the first.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is well done. Duchovny and Anderson are right back in their roles, and play them out as well as they always have. The prominent “guest” stars play their roles well, too. I found the reuse of actors from the series in new roles to be rather distracting, though, as I kept expecting them to be role reprisals when they first appeared on screen. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production team reassembles much of the old team. Bill Roe, Director of Photography from season six on, is back in that role. Mark Snow composed the score, using all of the highlights and themes the long time fans will respond to. Mat Beck, Tom Braidwood and others pull the original team back and preserve much of that classic feel. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was good. They told a good, suspenseful story that fits right into the track of the series, and (particularly early on) they included a lot of moments that harken right back to the show’s heyday reminding fans what was so great about it. The Mulder/Scully romance, which never felt quite right to me, plays out very well here, showing the inevitable strain you’d feel from these two people trying to make it work. The middle hour just didn’t have the right characters working in the right combination to keep things moving at the clip they should have. The problem is that the emotional response was only good. After a break this long, the return of a show I love that much should have felt great, but it didn’t. It’ll make back its budget (though possibly not until the video sales start), but I don’t think it’ll get the kind of word of mouth we’d need to get a third movie. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s not bad, but it’s not as good as it should have been after a delay this long. Fans of the show should check it out (after checking out The Dark Knight), but those unfamiliar with the show are unlikely to find it all that thrilling. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, The X-Files: I Want To Believe receives 28 out of 42.