David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Xzibit
Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz
20th Century Fox
I've never believed.
It's not alien life forms that attract my skepticism, it's "X-Files."
I didn't ever really enjoy the series, and I didn't care for the first feature film that was released 10 years ago.
So, in all honesty, I am NOT the target audience for "The X-Files: I Want to Believe," a new feature film reuniting Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David Duchovny) in an adventure a good five years after the television series finally ended.
Still, I had hope. After all, I'd never really cared for "Sex and the City" and yet I loved the recent feature film.
Despite the inherent campiness of its title, I had hope that "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" could turn into yet another pleasant surprise for Summer 2008.
Oh well, at least I still have "Sex and the City."
Directed and co-written by series creator Chris Carter, "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" finds both Mulder and Scully in very different places. Mulder looks and feels worn out, with a scraggly beard and weathered eyes that reveal his burn-out after essentially being tossed out from the FBI. Scully, on the other hand, has moved on and now works as a surgeon at Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital.
The two former agents are called back into action by an FBI agent (Amanda Peet) after the mysterious death of a fellow agent. The primary clues exist in the otherworldly visions of a pedophile priest (Billy Connolly) and, of course, these visions eventually lead to the culprits.
Or do they?
"X-Files" adventures have always had a bit of a retro feeling to them, and this cinematic adventure is no different. Devoid of hardcore action scenes or graphic violence, the film instead offers genuine moments of psychological anxiety that work within the storyline rather than dominate it.
Carter wisely incorporates, as well, enough trademark "X-Files" references to please longtime fans, including an old friend of the series and, at least on a modest level, a touch of resolution to that long, low-simmer between Mulder and Scully that could never be acted upon.
Tech credits for "X-Files: I Want to Believe" are solid, and while the film often feels like it might have been just as at home as a two-hour television movie it should please the series' diehard fans.
Unlikely to win any new fans for Mulder and Scully, "X-Files: I Want to Believe" does stand on its own and even if you've never seen the series or the first film you should find yourself able to follow the goings on without any problem.
Less successful in capturing the spirit of the television series than this summer's "Sex and the City," "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" will play best with old fans of the series who miss their weekly adventures. The rest of us? Well, "The Dark Knight" is still in theatres, Meryl Streep is still belting it out in "Mamma Mia" and man/child Will Ferrell opens up in "Step Brothers" this very weekend.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic