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Avg. Rating: 3.5
I see that a lot of people didn't like this film.
I'm not about to pretend it's a perfect piece of filmmaking. It has flaws. The most significant of these seemed to be that the actors had a difficult time getting back into roles which hey had long ago left behind, and some of the distance was evident in this movie no matter how they tried.
The script, however, was wonderfully ambiguous, harking back to the best of the horror episodes from the series; the element of the supernatural was understated and the mood was carefully, finely wrought. The setting - probably Canada, but on-screen a snowed-in West Virginia - was gorgeous. I was pleased there were no hints of the overriding government conspiracies the show devoted itself to; they really had no place in this movie. It wasn't that sort of film. The effects were mostly very very nice indeed, neither overdone nor used excessively. The thing it most reminds me of is, oddly enough, the feel you get from the first "30 Days of Night" comic book, of darkness and winter and clarity.
It was beautiful and satisfying though, both as a character study and as a mystery. As a character study it did not do what fans wanted but it did stay absolutely true to the character's natures; Scully was never someone who had an easy time dealing with the darker side to life, despite her long-term exposure to it. Mulder was always drawn to it, searching it out and dealing with it easily.
As a mystery is was nicely creepy and well-thought out, illustrating the ways that Mulder and the FBI would take divergent paths which would eventually arrive at the same place, albeit at different times. The mainstream FBI, while still shown as quite hidebound given the internal logic of the series, isn't made out to be quite as incompetent as the show generally preferred to portray it, which is a gratifying change.
All in all I liked it; I may like it more on second viewing, it seems that sort of movie.
I really, REALLY wanted to Believe...
Let me start by saying that I am and ALWAYS will be a HUGE fan of the X-Files. Some of my most beloved episodes are the stand-alone stories (Masterpieces Include; IRRESISTIBLE, HUMBUG, ICE, CLYDE BRUCKMAN, HOME, PAPER HEARTS...to name just a few). If there was one thing that I could count on the X-Files for, it was intelligent, sometime touching, sometimes funny, surprisingly poignant, but always compelling and genuinely creepy story telling with an absolutely superb cast and some pretty unforgettable monsters. The way that this show dealt with the unexplained and the paranormal was nothing less than extraordinary. I have all 9 seasons on DVD and watch them regularly. MULDER AND SCULLY RULE!
With that being said, when I found out that this movie would be in the tradition of the stand alone episodes, I was beyond excited! I absolutely could not wait to see what the team would come up with for this installment! And I just knew that whatever it was, it would totally exceed any expectation that I or any fan could possibly imagine and breathe new life into the franchise. WOOT!
The reality, unfortunately, is that this movie turned out to be quite a mis-step for the franchise. While I will not say that this was a terrible movie, it just wasn't what the franchise needed right now. The way I see it, this was THE opportunity for the team to re-connect with the old fans and bring in a new generation of fans by sparking their interest in the series, thereby creating a demand for more movies to be made.
While the movie did give us fans a chance to reconnect with Mulder and Scully, I highly doubt that it inspired any "would be" fans to go back and explore the show's great history and create an undeniable demand for more movies. The trailers were promising, if a bit misleading, and what little promotion FOX did for this movie made it come across as some action-packed blockbuster thriller, which it was not...what it is, is an intelligent, yet somber drama disguised as a paranormal thriller. But I suppose that had more to do with the fact that it was going up against The Dark Night, a mistake from the start.
And that brings me to my point. This movie had the potential to be so much more, and the X-files definitely has more stories to tell..and I absolutely believe that the story of Mulder and Scully had to be told...just not now..what we needed now was a "WERE BACK!, now be prepared to get the bejebus scared out of you!"
I'll keep my fingers crossed for an XF3, but I won't hold my breath.
The great thing that the original X-FILES possessed that practically no other TV series had (with the exceptions only of THE NIGHT STALKER, which the creation of THE X-FILES was inspired by, and TWIN PEAKS) was atmosphere, something that is practically impossible to generate on a small television screen. Its presentation of supernatural creepiness hidden beneath 1990s complacency genuinely could get under your skin on a Friday night and convince you that something was not well in the United States (the episodes generally shifted from small city or town from part of the country to another, eventually covering most of the map). The greatest disappointment of this second X-FILES movie, set something like six years after the series ended, is that it has practically no atmosphere whatsoever, even though the director and series creator Chris Carter wisely decided to eschew the series' excessively complex and convoluted "mythology" storyline (involving a ridiculous alien conspiracy) in favor of modeling the film after one of the much better "stand alone" episodes involving supernatural cases. But here the supernatural is reduced to an absolute minimum, involving a defrocked pederastic priest (Billy Connolly) helping the FBI find an agent who has been abducted by what turns out to be a killer with about the most ridiculous plan ever for the FBI agent's body.
The killer's central plan is supposed to be the source for most of the film's thrills and chills, but since so little explanation is given for it and it echoes so many hilariously bad Z-movies (even one infamously mocked on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000), it's almost impossible to take it very seriously. What we're left with instead is lots of overacting from Gillian Anderson, whose character of Scully has now become a surgeon at a Virginia hospital called Our Lady of Sorrows (subtlety is not this film's strong point) and who is tortured by having to care for a sweetfaced young boy with a rare brain disease. Anderson's great gift in the early episodes of the series was always to suggest Scully was feeling much more than the scripts possibly allowed for her, but once the writers seemed to realize this she was rarely given a director who was capable of reining her in once she got more overtly emotional material; here again she's just too much, and since her subplot is so clichéd you begin to dread the scenes set back in the hospital. With David Duchovny, as stone-faced as ever, and a too-brief cameo by Mitch Pileggi.
Excellent for DVD or TV Episode - Great Plot
I am very happy I did not see this particular X Files movie in the theaters. However, it was a great story, a fast moving, some times gut wrenching effects and some interesting chase scenes. As a theater movie, maybe getting in to it with the X File fans who would have laughed at a few of the scenes. The President Bush photo scene, well, I had to stop the video because I was laughing so much, really, just that was worth the whole experience.
This was more of a two hour view that could very well have been played as a TV movie special. It was very well acted, although Mulder and Scully had a not again approach at times, they definately were drawn in by the possibilities. Additionally, a good thing, some who may not be particularly early X Files fans and who may not be into mere Sci Fi aliens stuff, may be brought in by a more plausible story line.
Interestingly, there is a religion/science, religion/medicine conflict that both play through Scully, the sceptic, who has to see the possibilities that occur to her. Here we also have a conflict between forgiveness and the lack thereof. Without going into detail, we have a man who has visions (Billy Connolly) and who feels it is part of his redemption, where others feel he is part of the crime. This creates an excellent story line, where you are having to make a choice yourself in your mind for the person involved.
Overall, worth the price of the DVD and to have in your library. Again, would make a great TV movie. Hopefully, we will have another, more true to the X Files story line for our next movie, and maybe much sooner than the last. Frankly, ten years is really a long time between movies.
Has Run Its Course...........Barely 3 stars
Maybe its been too long since the X Files series, but I just couldn't get into this one. It seemed like a made for TV movie. Just couldn't get into the story line. The whole two headed dog thing was just too far out there. I think its time to say goodbye X Files, for good.
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