"It’s like a really, really bad Christmas Reunion episode with no ambition, and Not even joy at getting the band back together"
Movie Pessimistically Appraised : The X-Files : I want to Believe (2008). First watched : 2013 (DVD). Subsequently rewatched? Not a f**king chance. Review written (2013, 2016)
Score out of Ten : 4.5
Score out of Five : 2
Good or Bad : Bad
Recommend Watching : No
Watching this years after it was released to basically unanimously bad reviews was my own way of saying : I wanted to believe that this movie could somehow be good, on curiosity basis alone. And about half an hour into this movie, it was clear that it wasn't good. Not just 'not good' but bafflingly bad. Baffling because this couldn't possiby have been made by anybody with an inkling of what made the TV series it was adapted from good.
If it was sufficiently about the characters, then regardless of plot I could see myself liking it. But it’s not. It’s about a plot, but that plot is just so… so… arbitrary. Things happen and people say things and the same people who move heaven and earth to get things done profess a short time later that they no longer have faith in what they did. Anddon't get it - were the writers themselves hating writing this? If so.. then why write it. And after professing to have no faith, the characters do it again and claim the same thing again. That's truly AWFUL screenwriting of a kind that needs to be quarantined in case it spreads... writing so poor that from this point on I would see 'written by Chris Carter' as a definitive warning sign. Because surely nobody actually intending to make a good movie to a TV series would stray so far from what they surely must know their fans would want.... and make this movie.
Honestly, I have great difficulty in theorising the reason why this attempt to revive the X-Files franchise was even made. Usually I’d say “money” but this movie honestly seemed not to have these aspirations, like, at all. It felt like a movie wanting desperately to figure out its own reason for existing, as if everybody had forgotten what made the X-files work. But this strays so far from that I refuse to believe it's possible to have happened by accident, and it's so earnest it doesn't feel like a 'fuck you' to the fans either. It's just singularly, entirely, and without hesitation, terrible. And that's.... that's actually rare.
Additionally, even in the Extended edition it felt like a truckload of scenes were deleted. One second Scully and Mulder are back after years apart, the next they’re in bed together the next she’s saying they’re not agents they’re two people who share a home. I’m sorry : where did these scenes take place? This level of cinematic shorthand works when you don’t have YEARS of slow-paced TV show storytelling telling you that things don’t – ever – move that fast. It’s ridiculous.
Even more so, one second Scully is in surgery, the next she basically types “Stem Cell Research” into Google to get ideas on treatment for a kid. What the hell, dude? Google? For medical professionals at the (supposed) top of their game? That's a flat-out insult.
In the end, this movie is a slightly better filmed (ie. it's in widescreen aspect ratio) but inferiorly plotted extended TV episode, coming years after the series ended. It’s like a really, really bad Christmas Reunion episode with no ambition whatsoever. Not even joy at getting the band back together. That's what's baffling. Utterly, disoncertingly baffling.
If this had been a standalone movie with no prior existence within a TV show there is no way this could be considered even good. It relies entirely on goodwill from its source material, but given it is from a TV show, it is insane that it deliberately seemed to not care one iota for what anybody who watched the show might actually be interested in watching.
It might be worth a full-scale investigation into the mental states of those involved here... but even that would probably be futile. This movie's failures don't come from hubris, and not ambition, it's not somebody's reach extending beyond one's grasp. There's no story here, and there's no story behind the story that I can fathom.
I want to get angry... but even stating my disappointment seems unfair, beause this is like a five year old stating uncertainly that one plus one equals five. It gives me no joy to prove them wrong.... but where do you even begin? And these are full-grown adults.