Tue July 22, 2008
X-Files: I Want to Believe
Please, Mr. Carter. . .
Father Joe: "So you believe in these kind of things?"
Fox Mulder: "Let's just say that I want to believe."
I want to believe that X-Files can go on forever making strange, occult, and magical out of ordinary existence. But it can't as X-Files: I Want to Believe amply proves. Although I came to this latest iteration as I would any renaissance of The Twilight Zone, that is with profound hope and good will, as a critic I find it is derivative of itself and clich?d with the rest of serial murder dramas.
Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are on the trail of a murderer or two who are kidnapping young women. Although the plot twist is not new, it is welcome after all the hand-wringing from Scully about how she wants to focus on being a physician and he, ex-FBI agent, just wants to believe in the paranormal activities he's been pursuing most of his career.
Director, writer Chris Carter, the imaginative force behind the long-running TV series and film adaptations, has shown no originality here: Using a psychic to solve the murders is bargain basement X-Files, a paranormal link of the lowest order. To have the two leads potentially romantic goes counter, and always has, to the emphasis which has always been on the out-there circumstances and characters. Chase sequences, of which there is a gratuitous one, don't need to occupy time in such a short film. In fact, an early helicopter landing takes too much time away from the beloved leads and the eccentric world they explore. Such decisions, as well as the subplot about a child with an incurable condition on which Scully contemplates operating, stretch the unity of the film even if they apparently relate to the theme of believing.
I am an X-Files believer?I love stories of strange people and worlds that are just believable enough to make a film exciting. This X-Files is just another thriller, not any more imaginative than Turistas (2006), which takes the same macabre turn.
Please, Mr. Carter, give us another film before our heroes are too old.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com