Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movie Review: X-Files "I Want To Believe"

Today we're doing something a little different. Since Mr. White would rather play World or Warcraft and masturbate to reruns of Fraiser than watch movies, we have a guest blogger, Mr. Blue. This will probably happen from time to time so let us know what you think (all two of you).
This is going to be embarrassing...

I am admittedly an "x-phile". I loved the show when it was on TV (even when they brought in the T-1000 from Terminator2 as Duchovny's replacement) and I was very sad to see it go. It was scary, funny, interesting, disturbing, and, most importantly, well written with good story lines.

The first X-Files movie ("Fight the Future") was a very good one for me; it was "spliced" into the ongoing (at that time) television show story line's continuity and was epic in proportions. It centered on the show's main plot point (the government's Alien conspiracy) and had some great revelations. It wasn't perfect, but certainly did the series justice.

Given all of this, when I heard they were doing a new movie ("I want to Believe") I was immediately very excited; even the bootleg pirated clips looked promising and interesting. Imagine my letdown, then, when I finally saw this "movie" that was basically an episode (and not even a very good one at that) extended by 30 minutes. The extra 30 minutes? A bunch of Mulder/Scully romance crap. Now don't get me wrong, that's fine if they want to get it on with each other. But it sure as fuck ain't why I bought the ticket.

The big hook of X-Files was the paranormal aspect. Each episode had some new paranormal plotline or twist. Scully is skeptical, Mulder wants to believe. The first movie dealt with aliens and conspiracies on an epic level. This new movie? The big paranormal twist? Some gay-ass priest (literally; he is a convicted pedophile) might be psychic. Psychic? Seriously? That warrants a movie? I've watched episodes of Medium that were more interesting than "I want to Believe". Plus aren't there like a gajillion episodes of X-Files that already deal with psychics?

Another cool part of the X-Files mythology is that Mulder and Scully are FBI agents. They can open otherwise closed doors, arrest suspects, fire weapons when necessary, etc. In this new movie, however, they have been neutered; they are just regular civilians that assist the real FBI agents. As such Mulder (David Duchovny) pretty much looks gay the whole time in a turtleneck (as opposed to the cool sleek FBI suits he usually wears) and doesn't even carry a weapon. Scully (Gillian Anderson) attempts to look sultry and sexy in her civvies but she fails. Miserably. These characters do not seem like Mulder and Scully.

"So what's the big deal?" you might ask. "Any X-Files movie is better than no movie right?" Not true. This was Chris Carter and team's big chance to reinvent the series as a movie franchise. The first movie didn't actually do that because the television series was still ongoing. This was their opportunity to bring X-Files into the mainstream and they gave it some half-assed bullshit effort. Carter has even stated, in interviews, that this movie was based on an idea they had for an episode but it never actually got made. So, if you're keeping score, they basically took an idea that wasn't even good enough to get made into an episode and they said, "What the fuck? Let's make a movie out of it." The result? The ho-hum movie has now effectively killed any hope at a franchise. There will be no X-Files 3 because the reviews and (lack of) word-of-mouth killed it out of the gate. "I want to Believe" may ultimately end up turning a profit, but a well known fact in Hollywood is that a sequel's box office says more about how good the previous movie was, not how good the current incarnation is. As such, X-Files3 will never exist because it can't make money, no matter how well done it may be.

So in closing I just want to say "Fuck you, Chris Carter." You have effectively put the wooden stake in the heart of the franchise known as X-Files. Yes, you DO need to have a script to make a movie (just don't ask Michael Bay). NO, an idea that couldn't even make it as an episode won't work as a movie. Did you attend the "George Lucas School of Killing a Franchise" or are you a dumbass all on your own?

As a side note, I have high hopes for this fall's "Fringe", as it again deals with the paranormal and is produced by J.J. Abrams ("Lost", "Cloverfield").

I won't delve too much more into the letdown that is the latest--and most likely final--entry into the X-Files universe, but despite the underwhelming storyline, what is most disappointing is just as Mr. Blue stated above: this was their chance to bring new life into the series, bring it to an entirely new audience, but instead they fucked up. Big time.

I can't say that I was angry walking out of the theater, but I knew it would probably be the last time I would ever hear one of Mulder's deadpan lines. I remember when the series first came on television. I was a ripe 13-year old sporting a mullet and about 30 extra pounds, so this show was basically made for me. I didn't see every season when it originally aired, but a couple of years ago I started with season one and went all the way through season nine and loved it, including the Duchovnyless years.

While I don't believe this is as huge of a disaster as Indiana Jones or the dare I mention Star Wars rape sessions, it is really too bad that yet another geek franchise has been ground into the dirt, pissed on, dug up, shit on again, and then left to rot.

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