The X-Files: I Want To Believe
It's been ten years since the last film, and six since the groundbreaking show ended with Mulder on the run from bogus charges from the FBI with Scully by his side. Time has served the characters well, while the now iconic theme tune playing over the opening credits will still make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The long-awaited second film opens with a group of FBI agents, led by Amada Peet's Special Agent Whitney, searching for a body - along with a physic priest played by Billy Connolly, who claims he knows where she is. Intercut with the actual abduction, it's an innovative and smart way to reintroduce us to this world, and sets the tone from there on in. It goes without saying that I Want To Believe is vastly different to the other X-Files feature, which was camouflaged as a blockbuster by its studio and released very much in conjunction with the fifth and sixth season. This is a movie that can stand on its own, as series creator Chris Carter co-writes and takes the reins for a much more congenial, but still inherently creepy effort. This film could easily have been an episode from the first two seasons - and while some might find that off-putting, quality writing will always shine through. Carter's scripts consistently had a clarity and overtly wordy intelligence about them, and this is no different. It's slow, bordering on languorous at points, but never less than engrossing, and it picks up in the final third after large amounts of plot are thrown at you gradually for the first hour, or so. The snowy setting adds to the atmospherics, which is always where the show excelled; but the budget here is tiny by blockbuster standards - so anyone looking for action had better spend their clams elsewhere. Which begs the question of whether or not it was a good idea to release it the week, after a hugely satisfying blockbuster like The Dark Knight. Comparisons with the summer's big-hitters are unfair, though. This is a creepy thriller firmly in the vein of Silence of the Lambs, with added nostalgia value thrown in. It's smart, very well-acted by Duchovny and Anderson, and deserves to be the beginning of a new franchise. Far more enjoyable than the countless knockoffs that the series inspired, this is a welcome return for the much-loved characters, and doesn't disappoint.
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