Yes The Dark Night came out last week after years of waiting. But there’s another film that I’ve also been anxiously anticipating for months, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. I haven’t been an X-Phile for long. I was younger when it was on TV and was too scared to watch it and then lost interest by it’s later seasons. But 7 months ago I took on a major project: to finally watch every single episode. I had seen a few here and there over the years and really liked it. Since I have Netflix, I decided to finally take it on and judge it for myself. I was immediately hooked. It’s clear to me now why the series was and is such a hit. It masterfully drew you in with it’s creation of an alien conspiracy “mytharc” as well as it’s “monster of the week” episodes that stood on their own.
Yet, I don’t think those are really the reason that the show resonates. At it’s heart, The X-Files was a love story, the budding love of believer Fox Mulder and skeptic Dana Scully. Who would have thought that a show about a government conspiracy to hide the existence of aliens would actually contain one of the greatest love stories of all time? But, that’s what people loved. They waited patiently hoping that Mulder would even slightly brush against Scully. The last 2 seasons are ususally shrugged off (save for the awesome Series Finale) and it’s because Mulder has disappeared and the story is broken. Creator Chris Carter has said he believes they did some of their best writing in the last 2 seasons and that may be true, but they didn’t have Mulder and Scully to write for, leaving a gaping hole. Maybe some of the cases themselves were interesting, but we were only given one half of what the show was about.
Finally it ended and Mulder and Scully were brought back together. For good. Now six years later we get a second movie and it’s supposedly a stand alone. I actually just finished the show last night, just in time for the movie’s opening today. I didn’t have a long time to let the ending sink in but I think someone who hasn’t seen the show wouldnt get a lot of the nuances and subtleties of movie. The movie will work best for those who know the history of Mulder and Scully. Unlike the first film, made during the height of the series, this is not connected to the “mytharc.” Instead it is a new case and Mulder is called in to help.
We now find Mulder and Scully living together, him in hiding from the FBI and Scully a doctor. Mulder is called in to help find a missing FBI Agent. Actually, this movie doesn’t have that much paranormal. It’s probably the least paranormal in any X-Files case. The case is interesting, I enjoyed it but you know what? This movie isn’t about the case. It’s about Mulder and Scully and I think this is what everyone who has seen the film is missing. It has 32% on Rotten Tomatoes. Seriously 32%??? Even the new Rambo got 35%. I think that people completely missed the point of this movie. Everyone says “it was just a bad extended episode” and I wholeheartedly disagree. Never ever in an episode have we gotten as much Mulder and Scully time as we do in the film. It’s not packed with action, it’s slow paced and yet its enthralling and suspenseful. There’s no climax. It goes as it started, quietly. Critics are saying they wanted a better investigation. Again this movie isn’t about the monsters and the ghosts and the aliens it’s about the relationship of Mulder and Scully!!! It’s six years later, they’ve assimilated (the best they can) to a normal life. So the question is…can they really be normal? Are they able to live a quiet, residential life? Those are the questions that this film asks. And it achieves what it sets out to do.
I hate when franchises are brought back and it’s all action and no substance. Well here we get barely any action and all substance. Still, people complain. If we had gotten an alien movie they would have been complaining “what about Mulder and Scully?” Now we get more Mulder and Scully than we could have ever hoped for and still they cry and aren’t satisfied. But I like the way that this movie creeped up on us. As many have noted, there was barely any press and the plot was kept under incredibly tight wrap (seriously, how did it not leak in this internet age?). It wasn’t trying to be a huge explosion on the screen, dropping the series heavily on our heads. They just wanted to give us a small film, something to update us. It let’s us see how these characters have aged, where they are now and to let us know they have matured and they have made progress. Still, they’re the same characters we are familiar with.
In the end, I think this film is getting unfairly judged. I think it went way over many people’s heads. They were expecting that high octane action flick with Mulder and Scully running through fields and escaping killer bees. But that isn’t what Mulder and Scully are about anymore. They live in a house in the country and as Scully says they “come home at night.”