X-Files: I Want To Believe (Spoiler-free)

When the movie was released over the summer, I was a little surprised by the lack of interest. I realize it had been 10 years since the original movie and 6 years since the series ended1, but I would have thought the lack of material would have raised interest. I can only guess that the trailer did a poor job selling it because the poster had people talking.

For me, the marketing made no difference. I simply thought: I’ve already watched about 150 hours of X-Files – why would I stop short of what could be the final 2? This is the basis for my recommendation; if that’s not good enough for you, well, OK.

Now it’s available on Blu-ray and I’ve finally seen it – the extended cut, no less. It turns out I wasn’t prepared. I forgot a lot about the series. I watched it with a friend who had also seen the series, and we were expecting closure on topics like Mulder’s alien-abducted sister, conspiracy plots, etc. There is almost none of that in the film. It’s pretty much a standalone episode with a little “where are they now?” thrown in. I felt like I was shorted.

Then I visited Wikipedia to research a couple references I didn’t fully remember. This was, uh, enlightening. As it turns out, just about everything I wanted closure on I had already gotten – in the series. I just forgot it all.

So if you’re going to watch this, but like me haven’t give the show much thought in the last 6 years, do a little pre-reading on Wikipedia.2 Reading the main X-Files article will obviously help, but if you’re short on time, there are two character histories that will save you a couple major “Wait… what???” moments: Fox’s sister Samantha Mulder and Baby William.

Once you do that, and you go in with the mindset of “cool, I’m getting one last standalone bonus episode” then seeing I Want To Believe won’t be a big disappointment.

And “one last” sadly seems to be the case. Chris Carter said that if this was a big success he’d make another X-Files movie about the foretold alien invasion of earth in 2012. Obviously, that would be very cool. Unfortunately, judging from the IMDB box office numbers, IWTB was less a big success and more a “let’s hope this thing breaks even after DVD sales”.

Where to next?
So it looks like this is really the end, as The Lone Gunmen didn’t exactly take off.3 My recommendation: Bones.

It’s about a female doctor (Temperance Brennan, aka Bones, a forensic anthropologist rooted in hard science and skepticism) partners with a male FBI agent (Seely Booth, who relies on psychology and hunches) to solve homicides. There is constant sexual tension between the partners, but no gratification. Heck, they even made Booth Catholic. It may not be X-Files, but it’s as close as you’re gonna get.

At Amazon:

The X-Files Store
The Bones Store

  1. And mostly without Mulder and Scully for the last two seasons []
  2. Alternately, the DVD (or at least the Blu-ray) has an exhaustive episode recap for every episode in the series, plus a video clip for each. You can go through it and get really caught up, but it will take you hours. At that point, you may want to rewatch the whole series. It’ll only take you an hour a day for 6 months. []
  3. Thinking about TLG pisses me off. I postulate that it would have been fantastic if it carried the dramatic tone and conspiratorial plot of X-Files instead trying to turn it into a screwball comedy. They were my favorite characters on the X-Files but were turned into complete jokes on their own series. The episodes were mostly standalone – and goofy, yet these guys were the kings of conspiracy! What happened to The Lone Gunmen was a creative tragedy that could have been easily avoided. []

2 thoughts on “X-Files: I Want To Believe (Spoiler-free)”

  1. I was never a hardcore X-files fan, but aside form the unconfortable guy/girl duo chemistry on Bones, wouldn’t the Fringe be a better replacement for the X-Files? I remember making the comparison when the series started… “It’s like a more realistic X-files.”

  2. Yeah, I screwed up leaving that out. I think because Bones came out earlier, while X-Files was fresher in my mind, it sticks out more. But Fringe has ton of similar elements: paranormal, conspiracies, possible alien activity, similar tone (Bones is much lighter, even though it’s about homicide investigations), it involves a doctor (well, more of a mad scientist) and a federal agent, etc. They simply turned 2 characters into 3, so there are, in fact, romantic undertones between the fed and Joshua Jackson, who plays the brilliant son of the mad scientist.

    So, yeah, thanks for pointing that out.

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