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X-Files: I Want to Believe…This Never Happened

X-Files: I Want to Believe
Directed by Chris Carter
Written by Carter and Frank Spotnitz
Fox, 2008

The X-Files will certainly always be a must-mention when it comes to 90s pop culture. Perfectly set up with a man who believes in the paranormal (or at least, wants to believe) and a woman who totally doesn’t (or at least, wants to totally doesn’t) going out and trying to solve strange cases for the FBI, it established a great sci-fi mythology and could be everything a TV geek would want: stand-alone in some episodes or it would touch on long-gestating plot threads, the “overall,” in others.

But eventually the series didn’t have answers, and the somewhat anticipated movie from 1998, towards the end of the series’ run, was a gateway to more murkiness. Really, the limp series finale blew up those long-standing plot threads and the only way the franchise could be revived is by trying something new, stand-alone, separated from the overall mythology, kind of like Star Trek did. X-Files: I Want to Believe, is a stand-alone chapter…but I can’t believe this is the story that Fox, Carter, Duchovny, and Anderson felt the need to come back for.

In this installment, the FBI is trying to solve the case of missing women, and the search has become so desperate that they’ve enlisted a psychic priest, Father Joseph Crissman (Billy Connolly) to help find clues. And he’s miraculously finding them. Investigators Mosley Drummy (Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner) and Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) want to find Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) to see if there’s some truth to this, so they find Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) so that she can find him.

Scully is working for a Catholic hospital, and has a patient that could use some stem-cell treatments, but fat chance in such an environment. While her case is pending she goes to find Fox, who has become isolated and scraggly over the years. A new case is just what he needs. While Fox looks for the deeper meanings behind Crissman’s psychic abilities, Scully uncovers a horrible truth concerning organ harvesting.

But here’s where the movie ultimately fails. A lot of the movie spends time on Scully’s long-worn skepticism, not wanting to get back into Fox’s obsessed belief that something out there exists, constantly looking for his sister whom he knows in his heart is dead, and putting a strain on a romantic relationship, which is either something I forgot happened in the original series or is something just tossed in matter-of-fact, like, “Did you know they got together?” Scully’s skepticism was a staple of the series; even when things became rather unexplainable and obviously out-of-this-world, Scully would stand pat on there being an unearthed scientific explanation…which is fine, but we already know this, and it bogs the movie down with tons of exposition. And it’s boooooring.

The story itself just isn’t classic X-Files or even classic sci-fi or classic Twilight Zone or whatever you want to call it. It’s more along the lines of a weak Silence of the Lambs. For The X-Files to return, they needed the UFOs or pod people or intelligent insects or something, and maybe a little bit of levity. This movie is weighed down with drama and a ho-hum storyline. Had it come back with a cheeky creature feature we might be talking about “the return of The X-Files” rather than the final nail in its coffin.

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