Tuesday, July 29, 2008

That's quite enough "truth," thanks: The X-Files: I Want to Believe review

The new X-Files movie, annoyingly subtitled I Want to Believe, is a tough movie to review.

As a self-proclaimed X-Nerd (current X-Nerd, if that even makes sense), I'm not sure if I'm supposed to review it in comparison to movies in general or only in relation to the X-Verse. As someone deeply familiar with the show and all its inside jokes and lore, it's tricky to know if the new film can appeal to the casual viewer.

My gut reaction is yes, though I can't really recommend it to the majority of folks.

As a fan of the show, IWTB is a fine sendoff. While a couple direction choices were poor and the story is only so-so (there's a cool X-Filesy twist!), it was actually nice to look in on some of my most loved fictional characters five years after the series' final season. The performances are solid and both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson slip back into their Mulder and Skully personas effortlessly.

However, fan as I may be, the payoff wasn't all that great. A bit bloated at the two-hour mark, the story would have served better as a one-hour episode for the regular series. Even then it doesn't hold a candle to some of the series' greats.

As an outsider looking in, though, you literally do not have to be a fan of the series to get some kind of enjoyment out of this movie. Detatched from most of the old X-Files world, IWTB is written well as a standalone and could have been used as the plot for any number of sci-fi mystery movies with a different cast and characters.

Then again, different casts and characters have done this type of film much better and, at its best, The X-Files: I Want to Believe is only a decent late summer distraction that manages to hit just enough nostalgia buttons while wrapping up the whole universe in a nice, neat little package.

For fans of the series, you shouldn't be too disappointed. For fans of crime dramas with a paranormal edge, this also might suit your tastes nicely. For the curious passers-by, though, don't lose any sleep over missing out on this one.

Everyone sounds like they would be willing to do another movie in the future and it's my hope this never happens. IWTB is a good--not great--finish that ties up all the loose ends and gives a true sense of closure. Let's leave well enough alone, shall we.

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