The X-Files: I Want To Believe Review

Published 7 years ago by

Short version: The best that can be said about this X-Files film is that it’s good to see Mulder and Scully on screen once again.

thexfilesmovie The X Files: I Want To Believe Review
Screen Rant reviews X-Files: I Want to Believe

 As Screen Rant’s resident X-Files fan It came down to me to deliver a review for The X-Files: I Want To Believe. As I’m UK-based it took me a week to catch up with the film as it’s only just opened here.

Firstly the film has got some pretty bad reviews, and the opening weekend’s box office was only $10 million – a third of what X-Files: Fight The Future took 10 years ago.

So is the film any good?

Yes and no.

It also depends on how big a fan you are of the franchise.

One of the major criticisms leveled at the film is that it is like an episode of the television series – and a mediocre episode at that. I have to say that this is true. The film does run like a sub-par episode of the series, but even an average X-Files is pretty good.

It’s good to see Mulder and Scully back on screen – even if they do look a bit older – but hey, don’t we all.

The film opens with a female FBI agent getting abducted, and the only lead to her disappearance is a former Priest who is a convicted paedophile – the Priest (played by Billy Connolly) is having visions and he soon leads the FBI team (led by Amanda Peet and Xzibit) to a severed arm in the snow. The FBI promptly seek out Mulder (via Scully) to help with the investigation. In return for his assistance Mulder will get a pardon, and he’ll be free from hiding out at home taking cuttings from newspapers and impaling his ceiling with pencils.

That’s pretty much the first 20 minutes of the film, and if I told you anymore it would give away the big “reveal” that happens about half way through the film, and this is where the film falls flat – there just isn’t enough tension. To compare the film to The Silence of The Lambs (as Chris Carter did) we don’t know what will happen to the abductees, whereas in Jonathan Demme’s film we knew exactly what Buffalo Bill was capable of, and therefore we were afraid. The X-Files was a show that always had plenty of tension, and to have a film version that doesn’t deliver this is a real shame.

However, it is good to see Mulder and Scully back together again (although Scully has very little to do with the actual investigation). David Duchovny really is the star of the show (film?) and it’s his charisma that helps propel the film along. Gillain Anderson however is more wrapped up in a medical subplot that has very little to do with the main story and almost seems like she’s in a different film entirely.

For a summer blockbuster The X-Files: I Want To Believe is light on action, thrills and tension, but it is the X-Files and there’s enough of that familiarity to keep fans of the franchise happy (including a cheap gag at the expense of George Bush), but I feel that it would have fared better at the box office if it opened at a different time of year.

Whatever shortcomings the film has must surely be laid at the doorstep of creator/co-writer/director Chris Carter. If he wants to deliver a film that dissects his own Catholicism he should do so in another venture, here he has just managed to dilute a pretty low key thriller with his religious insecurities. If there is another X-Files movie I hope he hands over the reins to somebody else.

I Want To Believe plays out like an average 1990’s thriller, it’s solid but somewhat lacking. For a casual viewer I’d advise you to check out the series on DVD; for a fan – go and see it – but have your favorite episodes ready for when you get home.

I just hope that this film makes enough money (and with a $30 million budget surely it must) to ensure that a follow-up is made that really delivers an X-Files movie that we all want and deserve.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. I just went today (Sunday, around 4:30 pm.) to see the movie again. I have to say in all sincerity, it was better the second time ’round. Instead of anticipating everything that *could* happen, I just enjoyed what was. And it was good. I recommend another viewing to all of you on the fence. FYI, there were 10 people in the theater, which is about what I expected for a Sunday afternoon showing of a sleeper movie like this one. BoxOfficeMojo reports it has made about $17 million domestically so far. Add in another $10-12 million worldwide so far, and the movie has made back its modest $29 m budget. I’d say XF3 may just happen. Of course, they will have to market it well to get back the ground they lost with this quiet “anti-blockbuster.”

  2. Sooner Thought,I am REALLY GLAD you enjoyed it he second time around.
    The problems I had wont be fixed with a second viewing .
    I wanted more ofScully and Mulder as a team It seemed like both Scully and kind of accidentally found clues at the end . I wanted the story a little tighter .
    The villains had no discernible personality .
    I understood the paralell between what the villains were doing and Scullys medical subplot ,
    It was a good try but it just work for me.
    which kind of sums up the movie for me .
    a decent solid effort but just not quite good enough.
    I wanted more.
    But I wll try to buy the novelization,
    perhaps it will have some answers the movie cant provide.
    its by Max Allen Collins ,
    Some people I know online say they have it but I havent found it yet .
    Try Wal Mart ,
    Thats always a good place to find a novelization.

  3. X-Files :I Want to Believe is currently being outgroosed by Space Chimps.

  4. X-Files :I Want to Believe is currently being outgrossed by Space Chimps.

  5. Stick it in and break it off Gary.

    Don’t focus on the negative, at least its blowing past “Swing Vote” , “Meet Dave” and “Love Guru”. Heehee.

  6. Review is pretty much on the dot except for the 3 stars, I gave it 2 stars, if this film didn’t have the title of X-files it would have gone straight to dvd in the back thriller section of the dvd store. Had no tention or even a story that was somewhat solid. I am not a huge fan of x-files so I purely critise it as a film rather then as a franchise.

  7. I dont know if I would give it 2 stars ,
    But it definitely could have used more humor.

  8. Humor yes – more humor. You really can’t beat Duchovny with his dry wit!


  9. OK, this is the second time I tried to post this so, if it comes up later I apologize in advance. Niall,
    I dont know if humor is the right word.
    I just thought the first film was more fun .
    I think some of the lighter moments in the original came from Scully and Mulders interaction as partners.
    For me , even when something wasnt happening I enjoyed watching their chemistry together.
    This time , we had Scully in and out of the investigation and the question of them staying together as a couple .
    And I thought it slowed the movie down.
    you were right Niall,
    It was good to see them again.
    I just wanted to see them put to better use.

  10. I have sat and pondered about this again! Although I feel that the writer(s)has let this movie down and that is only by way of giving it a flat subject story line, everything else about it was great! (Don’t get me wrong! obviously a brilliant story line is extremely important), but in no way should that mean the end of The X-Files and if another X-Files movie came out tomorrow, I would go and pay to watch it. I enjoy the whole concept of Mulder and Scully’s relationship and it would be great to see them together again. (Including good old skinner!)

  11. Niall,
    Something that I hope will make you laugh,
    A quote from a british SF magazine Death Ray:”Duchovny has a reputation for a sharp biting wit.”

  12. Thanks Gary!

    I think that the delivery of :
    “I’d avoid the activities room” line in I Want To Believe was fantastic!!


  13. Agreed. Some funny bits in there. I hear speculation that XF3 may be a TV miniseries rather than a feature film. Anyone else hear that?

  14. Sooner Thought,
    I hope thats not true.
    where did you hear that?

  15. Just speculation among some film fans around my part of the world–sorry–I should have made that more clear–not necessarily a credible rumor. But the box office overseas is sucking…which may doom another theatrical release even if the movie breaks even.

  16. Ok the movie itself I dont think was the best but it was great to see them back on the big screen im 19 now I grew up watching the x-files as a kid heh
    miss the show =[

  17. PS the nice song at the end during the credits is called Broken by a band called Unkle. I used sony ericsson track I.D at the end of the movie :p

  18. Unkle, yeah I’ve heard of them,, thanks for the tip Jamie,,,, also hope you liked the end credit scene. 😉

  19. I missed the end credits scene, but I don’t think there’s any way I could go back and sit through the movie again. 2 stars in my opinion, and are we really expected to ‘believe’ that after six years of living together they still call each other “Mulder” and “Scully”? Even in bed?

    The problem with XF:IWTB is that is has no “quest” to take the characters through. XF always worked best when Mulder had a quest and Scully fought him on it. Nothing like that here.

    Let’s hope the next film Mulder and Scully will be given something important to do, like maybe find their son.

    We’ll see – db

  20. I still can’t believe that I paid $10 for a movie, which just rehashed old storylines from the series. ( and not even done well, at that). I found the pacing of the movie extremely slow.
    I hope, if there is another movie, that Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz will not be part of the movie, then maybe we will get a really good thriller.

  21. With all this talk about X-Files I went out and bought the 9 series set!

    I’m currently on season 2.

    Really enjoying it.


  22. Only just noticed this: Jamie, if you’re out there thanks for the nod on the Unkle track! I still haven’t seen the movie yet – I’ll keep my ears peeled when I do!

    790, if you like Orbital you’d definitely go for Unkle. They’ve got a drifting lineup which has included James Lavelle, DJ Shadow and Scratch Perverts – they’ve worked with everyone from 3D of Massive Attack to the guy out of Queens Of The Stone Age. I use remixes of “Eye For An Eye” a lot in my sets with bits of film dialogue and William Burroughs thrown over the top (I do a bit of DJing, hence me wibbling on about music every now & then).

  23. Niall, when you see the (2 part episode) with Scully in the rowboat, the Movie’s end credit scene will hit you, hard !!! (In a good way).
    Sooner thought, “Monday”, was that your post, its hard to tell from that link,,, was that the episode where Mulder wakes up in the waterbed and walks down to the bank, in what sets up a Groundhog day event ??? That was a good one! 😎
    Big Dentist, yeah that track is playing during the end credits,,, (make sure you watch).
    Also yeah I have some of Unkle’s cds. Have you ever heard of “Depth Charge” ?
    They have some great re-mixs, but their very hard to find in the US. 😎

  24. J Saul Kane! Seminal stuff! Anything from Nine Deadly Venoms always goes down well. Records under any of his monikers can be a task to find over here as well. I don’t use vinyl any more and ended up having to transfer the 12″s onto CD. Maybe I need to use the “Shaolin Buddha Finger”!