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. Well said Vic.
    I think the villains were Ciphers.
    It Would have been nice if Mulder and Scully had engaged them on more of a personal level ala Lecter/Buffalo Bill,
    Instead they just seemed to accidentally encounter them wile searching for clues.
    Ironically,I always enjoyed the standalone episodes better then the mythology episodes but I thought the first film was FAR SUPERIOR to this one.

  2. ” I thought the first film was FAR SUPERIOR to this one.”
    That doesn’t instill a sense of “must see” in my eyes. Too bad, I loved the show and own all the season sets, but I guess I’ll rent it.

  3. Niall, I think you might have missed the overall point of the film,,
    The overall point was that in the end Scully finally believed.
    That’s a big deal if your a fan of the series, as she allways played the realiyt check for Mulder.

    And Niall, I hope you watched the scene at the End Credits !!!!! ?????

  4. Sorry about that Niall.
    I didnt check who wrote the review .
    Its still a spot on review though.

  5. 790,Scully has always been a devout catholic.
    She has always been open to the idea of miracles that take place in the realm of catholicism.
    She didnt become a believer in the supernatural.
    she was struggling with her own faith and her belief in herself .
    I am being a bit vague here .
    others might still want to see the film and I dont want spoil it for them.
    speaking for myself,I got the point of the film and it STILL could have better
    it would have been a good idea if Scully and Mulder had spent more time on the case together.

  6. I must admit I really didn’t watch the show much but I really enjoyed this movie. It was a well crafted story with two solid leads to follow in Mulder and Skully! Im in the minority but I really liked it!

  7. So Gary you don’t think Scully believes in the supenatural now, after the events in the film ,,,

    Did you see the scene at the end_credits with the boat and do you get the significance of that ??

    Right on ETAB, the film was very relaxing on a hot day,, nice snow shots, good story.
    I was pretty impressed with how both actors slipped right back into character with ease.
    As far as compairing the two films, the first X-files had some logic problems where as I didnt see ANY in this new film, and the cinematography was excellent. Sure the first film had more action but I felt this film wrapped up the characters real well.

  8. I think it’s a shame that, after such a long time to pull something awesome together, the most anyone can say about it is “eh.” They really could have done something better.

  9. Liz, inside source told me that there was a lawsuit preventing Chris Carter from making this film for years…
    Also the story was written to come out in theatres a few years after the final series episode.
    But it didn’t happen that way.

    Liz, did you see the end credit scene?

  10. 790,

    I did stay for the end credits – thanks for the tip!

    It was strange, man strange!

    There were a bunch of hardcore X-Files fans staying too!

    I wonder if I’m one of those?

    I did enjoy the film – but I thought it could have been sooo much better!


  11. You knew it would happen,,,, 😉

    End credit Spoilers. 😉

    Ahead. 😉

    Damm it Scully. :-)

    Look away ,,,, :-(

    Yeah it was kinda low key but I still actually felt the tension when Mulder was captured, and the scenes with victims of the disgusting snowplow guy,,,,the FBI and Skinner were great as well.
    the last scenes in the Russian laboratory were gruesome man what a twisted couple of freaks.

    (Btw) for the casual fans ,,,,
    The end credit scene is an inside reference to the scene (I wanna say in the 4th season 2 parter) where we see Scully’s minds eye view when she’s in a coma.
    She’s sitting in a rowboat motionless for the whole time shes in the Coma. (The episode was a heavy one when it came to Scullys faith in God and Mulders faith in the paranormal.
    (In a character arc way, this film was the sequel to that 2 parter).

    The end credit scene was conformation that Mulder had made her Believe… And in a way she was free.

  12. Good review. I’d have to agree that for a summer block-buster, this movie is not in the ranks of action packed gems like Hulk, Iron Man, or Dark Knight. It’s great if you are a die hard x-files fan and been longing for years to see Mulder and Scully share screen time together. But on a broader scale, I’d prefer to see it when it comes out on DVD.

  13. Disclosure: I’m a huge fan of the “X-Files” series–a multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, etc. winner. So yes, I’m predisposed to like and even defend the new movie, “The X-Files: I Want to Believe”. Roger Ebert liked it very much, though it has been shellacked by a lot of others as being “ho hum” and unworthy of the wait. But almost nobody seems to have hated it.

    Well, that’s the problem… I liked the new X Files movie. Not loved it, but liked it. It was a reunion of sorts: back to the moody Canadian backdrop, Chris Carter’s direction and dialogue, and most of all David Duchovny’s “Fox Mulder” and Gillian Anderson’s “Dana Scully.” There’s also an extended cameo of sorts from “Walter ‘Skinman’ Skinner,” (Mitch Pilleggi) their former boss.

    Billy Connolly does a great job as a tortured defrocked priest. “Battlestar Galactica’s” Callum Keith Rennie is a suitable bad guy and Amanda Peet even manages to rise above the writing of her character a bit.

    Without rehashing the plot (I hate it when alleged critics tell you every plot point in their reviews), let’s just say what you may have read is true: this movie is made in the tradition of the non-alien conspiracy episodes (see X-Files: Revelations DVD). It has a real “Silence of the Lambs” vibe. Frankly, that sounds cooler than it is in execution. All that atmosphere is really a backdrop for the tension between Mulder’s desire to believe the unbelievable and Scully’s crisis with her faith. That’s box office poison when you’re trying to distract moviegoers from a guy in a black cape beating the s*** out of diabolical clown. (If you’re a big fan like me you just want to shake show creator and former surfer Chris Carter and say “You had six years and all you came up with is this? Duuuuuuude!”) I have to give him props for a pretty funny Bush joke, though. Worth the price of admission.

    I have to add that though I really enjoyed seeing the characters and getting involved in the mystery of “I Want to Believe,” I couldn’t stop myself from thinking “Why don’t Mulder and Scully mention the looming alien invasion set for 2012?” I know, I know. Because this isn’t about aliens. This is Chris Carter and Fox trying to get non-X-Filers to see the movie–to perhaps “reboot” the franchise for a broader audience. I respect that. I just wish the story were a little creepier, the rating ‘R’ instead of ‘PG-13′ and the budget bigger than $30 million.

    I hope the movie does well enough worldwide (with DVD sales and rentals, etc. it should do way better than its $30 million budget) for that third and final invasion-themed movie. I want this former cultural phenomenon to go out in a blaze of glory. But if it doesn’t, watch the end credits of “I Want to Believe” for what could be a final farewell from Mulder and Scully.

    I could go on…but I think you should check it out for yourself.

    Not a fan, but like a decent mystery? Go.

    Like romantic tension and relationship stories? Go.

    Like body parts, mayhem and creepy mad scientists? Go.

    Like movies with a heart and a brain? Go.

    Like a cool soundtrack? Go.

    Sick of special effects & explosions subbing for story? Go.

    Go to a matinee if you don’t want to pay full price. But have a look. Especially if you want a good, moody, creepy mystery.

    Besides, who knows? Despite yourself, you may want to believe after all.

  14. Sooner Thought,

    That was a good passionate response to my review – I liked it.

    I agree – I would also love to see a third movie – but get them back in the FBI!


  15. I just want the partnership back.

  16. Sooner Thought,
    They pushed the limits of that PG13 rating as far as they could.
    And I really felt this movie was made strictly for fans .
    I feel sorry for non fans who see it .

  17. Fair enough, guys! Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  18. SoonerThought, nice comments, I really enjoyed reading that.
    Don’t be a stranger around here !!!

    Niall, you missed the end credit didn’t you !! Aaaargghhhh. 😉

  19. 790,

    I stayed – boat, water, sea – waves (in more ways than one)

    I stayed for you man!

    Even though my girlfriend thought I was a bit on the crazy and geeky side.

    Although she should know by now!!


  20. Went to see this today, and i gotta say I agree, except as i’m not a long term fan of the series this was a bit disappointing (still i like billy connelly!).

    The only think i really could add tho is just how much i ended up hating scully, she seems to just be a pain in the arse after the first 20 minutes.


  21. Lol, thanks Niall, yeah that scene meant alot to the hardcore fans…

    Kinda sad,,,,

  22. dont be sad 790,
    They will make a 3rd film eventually .
    with aliens, conspiracies, the whole deal.

  23. Just spoke to a friend that basically confirmed the New X-Files film was written after the last film and was meant to come out years ago after the final season. (If that explains Carters motivation a little bit more on the story.)

    Thanks Gary, yeah I sure hope they do another film that deals with the alien conncetion and the supposed alien takeover in 2012, that was mentioned in “Fight the Future”.
    I’m sure it would be better than Roland Emerichs 2012 film.

    The only alien we get to see in X-Files was that picture of bush. Lol. 😉

  24. 790,
    Since you mentioned Fight the Future ,
    Does it bother you the FX network shows Batman Begins AD infinitum since the release of TDK but hasent shown FTF once
    even though Fox owns both FX and the X-Files?
    Because it really bugs ME!

  25. Gary it has to do with that legal delay I mentioned.

    I don’t think I want to say more on that.
    Read between the lines …. 😉

    Besides Fight the Future looks best on dvd anyway.

  26. I have seen it on cable since it was released .
    so SOMEBODY can still show it.

  27. It’s been on Showtime a lot

  28. Oh , that explains it.
    I was looking at Starz HBO and cinemax.
    Thanks Sooner Thought!
    I KNEW it had to be out there SOMEWHERE!

  29. I went to see The X-Files – I want to believe movie today and I am still undecided on how I actually feel about it. I love everything to do with the X-Files series & would be ecstatic if it came back with Fox Mulder & Dana Scully. As I am sure that after 6 years away, the writers should be able to rustle up a few more brilliant story lines. I adore Mulders dry sense of humor & great sarcasm and the way Scully always holds her ground, which I wished we had more of in this film. I found that it wasn’t much of a X-File that was deserving of a movie. We most definitely needed questions answered, but we also needed to be on the edge of our seats as we have undoubtedly been in the past! The movie was enjoyable and has really left me wanting more, much more! So now that we have all the long awaited questions answered and out of the way, I DO BELIEVE it’s time to get back to what really matters and that would be for more X-Files please!