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The X-Files: I Want To Believe (2008)
Director: Chris Carter

review by Octavio Ramos Jr
SPOILER ALERT!
Fox Mulder (David Duchovny, who starts off with an impressive beard) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are back for this outing, but don't expect a continuation of the 'mythology arc' that has compelled, baffled, and even frustrated long-time fans of the series. Rather, be prepared for a monster-of-the-week episode, or rather a horror-tinged outing that chronicles medical research taken to Frankenstein-like extremes.

Both Mulder and Scully have long-since left the FBI. Scully is now a doctor and Mulder is living in seclusion, spending most of his time cutting out newspaper clippings of paranormal stories and working to come to terms with the death of his sister (one of the TV show's major themes). Both former agents are called upon to help agent Dakota Whitney (Amana Peet), who has been using a psychic and defrocked priest (played with relish by Billy Connolly) to track a serial murder who has abducted an FBI agent.

Throughout the story, both Mulder and Scully are reluctant to return to their sleuthing ways, with Scully more determined to save a young boy's life using a radical and controversial new procedure and Mulder obsessed with his inner demons. It falls on Dakota, and agent Mosley Drummy (rapper Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner, who turns in a surprisingly effective performance) to conduct much of the investigation. It isn't until Mulder himself is placed in peril that Scully takes matters into her own hands, securing the help of Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) to save the day.

The plot involves the transplanting of human heads onto new bodies to extend the lifetimes of older men. The grisly ramifications are only briefly explored, with director Chris Carter only going so far in the Frankensteinian fracas. The transplant scenes are short but effective, making the audience clamour for more. The ending is a bit trite, but even those who are new to the series will find themselves cheering when Scully and Skinner rescue Mulder from the deranged doctors. Hardcore fans will also enjoy the movie's coda, which has Mulder and Scully on a rowboat headed toward an island (a recurring theme in the series at last brought to its natural conclusion).

Fans of the franchise will enjoy this movie, although those wishing for a continuation of the extraterrestrial invasion mythos may be disappointed. Duchovny and Anderson still have lots of chemistry and all the supporting performances are stellar. The storytelling remains compelling, but the direction is a bit off, particularly when it comes to the lack of involvement of the two principal characters with the main plot. For long stretches of the movie, Mulder and Scully are away from the investigation - the reason fans tuned into the TV episodes and now the movies is to watch the duo interact and investigate!

What I really did not like about the DVD release is the special features. Much of the second disc gloats about the mystery of the plot and the extremes the cast and crew went to keep it a secret. There's also a special feature on how the film went 'green'. In a nutshell, few of the special features gave further insight into the film itself or The X-Files series. Instead, the sequences feature the creators, cast, and crew lauding themselves about their ability to keep a secret. Those wanting to purchase the film would do well to simply buy the single-disc version.

The X-Files: I Want To Believe on DVD



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