Thursday, January 1, 2015

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008) 2 of 4

I think we can say that the bloom is off the rose for The X-Files.  It's so hard for popular celebrities, whether they be content creators or Sarah Palin, to keep it real instead of just drawing water from the same well.

** spoilers ahead **

I was never a regular viewer of the series, so I recently watched the best-reviewed episodes from Season 1, which is the only reason I know this second movie is a remake of the episode "Beyond the Sea": In both stories, a convicted felon claims to have psychic visions that can help solve certain missing-persons cases.  In both stories, we never find out for sure if he's telling the truth, or if his information comes from collaboration with (other) criminals, although Mulder, as always, "wants to believe."
Brad Dourif, "Beyond the Sea"
"Beyond the Sea" is a riff on existentialism and doubt.  I've never been interested in philosophy or ontology, but the episode was OK.  The movie is a faithful remake, and since it's the same franchise: what's the point?  The first X-Files film was also more of a remake than a progression.

Billy Connolly, I Want to Believe
This film tries very, very hard for gravitas: instead of a murderer, the "psychic" in I Want to Believe  is a pedophile priest.; Dr. Scully is distracted by planning the treatment of a boy with cancer; Mulder and Scully are finally lovers, but drifting apart; and as always, Mulder is estranged from the F.B.I.
And you thought science fiction and horror couldn't be adult drama.

** spoilers over **
There's nothing terrible about this film: the plot tracks fairly well and the franchise stays up to date (to our age of "torture porn") by including some truly disgusting, gory content relating to unauthorized organ transplants.  The problem is that none of it seems sincere.  None of it works.

The one demographic that may welcome this film is middle-aged women who complain that men get to look "more distinguished" as they look older.  Gillian Anderson's looking good here, David Duchovny is downright haggard.
Time to cancel funding for the X-Files for good this time.

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