The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Old, familiar faces aside, this X-Files sequel unfortunately doesn't satisfy the itch for more Scully and Mulder paranormal adventures.
The first problem is the title: I Want to Believe? Not at all mysterious as an X-Files title should be. What it points to, however, is the age-old question of why former FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny)--now a recluse hiding out from the FBI and cutting out newspaper articles--believes in the unexplainable, while Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson)--now a pediatric doctor--continues to discount it. But rather than going into more back story on what these two have been up to (are they living together?), I Want to Believe jumps right into the middle, as if X-Files just went off the air a few months ago and this movie is just a continuation of one of the episodes. The story centers around a missing FBI agent and a former priest-turned-convicted pedophile (Billy Connolly), who seems to have psychic abilities in finding her. Of course, it gets weirder, but not in the ways you want or expect from an X-Files movie; it's more CSI than UFO. Now, if at some point, after Scully furrowed her brow at Mulder, her head were to split open and his long-missing sister popped out, THAT would be something.
You can't completely knock Duchovny and Anderson for I Want to Believe's faults. Their Mulder and Scully are the yin and yang of the strange and unexplainable who still have that it's-so-complicated-but-I-really-do-love-you relationship, which made the show work so well. Even if the plot to this sequel needs a lot more explanation than what is given, Duchovny and Anderson slip right into it without blinking an eye, which is somewhat comforting. Everyone else, however, is entirely misplaced--from Connolly as Father Joe, just trying to find redemption for his crimes, to Amanda Peet as the FBI agent in charge of the case who brings the outlawed Mulder in to help and ends up flirting with him. Huh? There are also some well-placed X-Filers making appearances, but really, it's all about Mulder and Scully--once again.
Director/creator of X-Files Chris Carter has taken the wrong approach with I Want to Believe. Instead of making a bigger X-Files movie, to keep up with the first X-Files feature film with even more out-of-this-worldliness, he decides to bring it in and make it more, well, normal. That may have worked with the TV show, but not on the big screen. We want the spaceships. An X-Files movie, even to laymen fans, means you should be seeing some kind of super-paranormal activity--or at least something levitating. Let's just say a psychic former priest who bleeds from his eyes is not exactly aliens and government cover-ups. I Want to Believe also rivals Fargo for its endless snowy vistas, but while Fargo uses the weather to its advantage, this X-Files just leaves you feeling cold. If the truth is really out there, this time it's not very exciting.
Hollywood.com rated this film 1 1/2 stars.