Wednesday, July 1, 2009

X-Files: I Want To Believe

Like a horrible cliche that I've heard a million times in reference with this movie, I wanted to believe it would be good. I really, really wanted to believe this movie would be good. The reason why you ask? Because I love The X-Files.

I don't know what it was that drew me to the series from the get-go, but I remember pleading with my mom to let me stay at home on Friday nights in order to watch the show. I was usually made to go to the football games that my sister was marching in and because these were the days before Tivo, DVR's and online viewing, if you didn't set your VCR, you were shit out of luck. But regardless of these facts, I was able to catch most of the show in one way or another and even though a large part of the series, the mythology if you will, regarded one of my two greatest fears/paranoia's, that being aliens, I loved it. I looked forward to being scared by some weird genetic freak-twin that detaches from its brother and murders the other freaks at the Freak Show (Humbug; Season 2); I still call Doug Hutchison 'Tooms' (Squeeze/Tooms; Season 1); Alex Krycek was one of my biggest crushes (Nick Lea still does it for me); 'Jose Chung's From Outer Space' (Season 3) and 'Bad Blood' (Season 5) were two of the most memorable, funny episodes of television I've seen; I was happy I'd recorded 'Home' (Season 4) because it was so controversial FOX said they'd never air it again. For almost the entire series' run I was enthralled, scared, humored, and followed the relocation from Friday night to Sunday night; I even continued to watch, though in a diminished capacity, when the new agents (Doggett and Reyes) came on and the magic of Vancouver was replaced by Los Angeles. There was just something about the mountains, coasts, forests and towns of Vancouver and Canada that made the series have it's creepy, moodiness. And at the end of the run, I wept for an amazing show that had little hope at the beginning and was so different from anything else on T.V.

Then came The X-Files movie, which kept to the mythology and which I really liked, it even had a great soundtrack. And then there was nothing. The stars went on with their lives. But last year I heard word of a new movie! Then came word that it wouldn't be related to the mythology and to which a casual or non-viewer could watch and not be lost; and there was where the worry began. Deep down there was that funny tingling in the pit of my stomach, that tickle of worry. Why would you make it unrelated to the mythology? Well, maybe it will be a stand-alone film, like the circus freak episode? Then I later read that the synopsis would roughly be: FBI agent Monica O'Bannon disappears and Mulder/Scully get called in to help, even though they are no longer working for the FBI, to determine if Father Crissman is really a psychic who knows her whereabouts. Really? That doesn't sound very X-Files-y.

Then the trailer came out, I was intrigued. I didn't get to see the movie in the theatre though and just had a chance to rent it the other day. It wasn't bad, it also wasn't good. There was no magic to it, no passion, no...nothing. I get it's a wrap-up and end it once and for all film, but where was the X-File?

(Spoilers Ahead!)

The film opens with the Agent O'Bannon being abducted by Cylon Leoben (Callum Keith Rennie) and some other man and then goes to what seems like the first of many unnecessary scenes of Scully treating some boy in a hospital and digging up research on his rare condition, but it makes more sense about an hour later; now these scenes just seem boring and unrelated to anything going on in the movie. Scully gets a request from the FBI to get Mulder to come help find this missing agent and to determine if Father Crissman is what he claims to be, or is he just a former priest who was convicted of molesting alter boys? Mulder, of course, comes to believe there is something going on here and Scully doesn't. But my question for almost the entire movie was: Where is the X-File? When am I going to get scared of watching this at night, in the dark, in my living room? Apparently the answer is: Never.

I still can't watch a significant portion of the series episodes without having to keep the light on in my room at night; I wanted this to be the case for this movie, and it wasn't. So why didn't I get it? All of the hullabaloo eventually comes to an end but it does so with little interest, intrigue and fanfare, and that made me sad. However, the movie was exquisitly shot, with amazing scenery (Vancouver and other parts of Canada, of course) and the usual quota of 95% of the cast from Da Vinci's Inquest and BSG. And I really liked that the snow was actually snow.

So I gave the film a 75% because I didn't like it, but I certainly didn't hate it and could, in theory, watch it again. But I wanted more, so much more, of that magic that captivated me from 1993-2002; monsters, aliens, ghosts and that Mark Snow-violin-prick-spine-tingling-oh-crap-there's-something-there music and theme song that I connect with one of the reasons for loving the medium of film and television.

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