Wednesday, December 31, 2008

X-Files: I Want to Believe on DVD

I caught X-Files: I Want to Believe on DVD last night-- it's always a hard proposition to watch a movie everyone you know has trashed. (Everyone except my sister, who handed me the DVD and said: Liked it? I've seen it twice.)

  • I can see why, though Ebert loved this movie, it left most writers underwhelmed. X-Files: I Want to Believe is truly a cult horror film, unmoored now from a regular TV audience. There's a moment when former FBI agents Mulder and Scully have to go into the Hoover building and they're saddened to see the new photos-- the new President (nearly the old President) and new FBI Director.) Their look says, this is not our world. Our world is gone.
  • The movie's main failing is strictly a writing mishap-- the writers somehow wedded themselves to a story element so icky that it overwhelms and drags the rest of the movie. Billy Connolly plays the agents' main source of information, a defrocked priest who victimized 37 altar boys and now is receiving unwanted psychic visions. Ho-kay. How did this actually make it through months of meetings? They could have made the priest a torturer, an arsonist, a serial killer of almost any ilk-- and I guarantee you the audience would have slid right past it. Making the character a pedophile is too hard for the audience to get past, and it crashes the movie for most of the audience. I have thought about this problem a lot in writing and tend to think of it as one of palette-- if your palette is slightly creepy horror where most of the gore is offscreen, there are certain things you won't have: Day-glo and people who chase children.
  • What I love: the movie is a taut little FBI thriller like the best episodes of the show. All the elements you miss from the show's best years are there: the crunching snow, high-beam flashlights, and surly FBI officials.
  • For me? A net positive, but someone should have put their foot down on the Day-Glo.


  1. I will say only that the movie is more enjoyable when you can actually see the images.

  2. Well, that's what you get for trying to watch movies on certain websites. :)

  3. I just couldn't believe women were being traumatized/tortured/victimized AGAIN. Enough.

  4. That's fair, Jennifer. I think maybe "Enough" was true even before they launched Millenium-- and you know I'm more sensitive than I once was.