Who wanted another X Files movie? C’mon, own up! Hardly seen on television screens anymore, Lost and Heroes provide the all multi-faceted storylines we need to see these days and even manage to make more sense than the tiresome Files “mythology”. The latter was used to spearhead the 1998 movie Fight the Future, but for I Want to Believe creator Chris Carter has left that long and winding subject to the series finale and moves on to focus on how FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are getting on with life outside the bureau.
When the eerie whistling of the X Files theme song drifts over the opening shot of a night sky, I Want to Believe faithfully re-creates the feel of the original series which saw UFO-bliever Mulder investigating paranormal phenomenon while Scully tried to rationalise his every thought with scientific explanation. We meet convicted paedophile priest Father Joseph Crissman (Billy Connolly) who claims he is having visions of a missing FBI agent and has developed the knack of uncovering dead body parts. It’s not long before Scully is called away from her job of caring for a terminally-ill patient to find Mulder and get him on the case.
Not the conclusive chapter anyone was hoping for, let alone wanted.
Scully’s new-found purpose in life is off-set by a bearded Mulder holding himself up in a room full of press cuttings, seemingly still obsessed with finding his daughter who he believed was taken by a flying saucer. Reluctantly returning to help the FBI, Mulder once again gets caught up in the paranormal activity much to Scully’s frustration and disbelief. She needs to return to her work oln a stem cell cure for her patient, but warns Mulder not to continue as it risks them being about to stay together.
In its heyday, this screenplay would have been dismissed before even being pitched to series bosses, but somehow Chris Carter himself compiled this nonsense and sad excuse for an X-File, deeming it worthy of a big screen outing. Perhaps the 30 million dollar budget had an impact on the development time, leading to limited filming locations, poor range of characters and only vague moments to quicken the pulse. It’s insipid exposition has no air of mystery like the mythology episodes, no smoking man in the background looking sinister. The ramshackle plot involving organ transplants and Connolly’s laughable (in all the wrong ways) priest pushes patience to the limit and beyond. Carter seems to have wanted to giv closure to Mulder and Scully using the scenes they share, but nothing is resolved and the end is no more satisfying than your daily cup of coffee: same as ever. It’s just for I Want to Believe you have to put up with an additional hour on top of the 40 minutes of a bad episode. Not the conclusive chapter anyone was hoping for, let alone wanted.