there was a good deal going against the idea of a new X Files movie, if the truth be told. it hasn't been all that long since the TV series finished up, which means there isn't all that much of a nostalgia market at the moment, no matter how disposable we've become. there's also the case that the TV series finished it all up reasonably well, as in the story of Mulder and Scully was pretty much done and dusted.
it was also widely reported that the budget was going to be on the low side; the project certainly wasn't going to have the funding of the first film, Fight The Future and the poster released gave a sense of a cheaply, quickly knocked together project.
in favour of the film was the fact that it was made by Chris Carter, the creator of the whole thing, meaning that it wouldn't be a "homage" or "parody" made by a fan, it would be the real deal. i suppose that's also a good reason to make it now instead of wait for someone to make a horrid and ghastly tribute to The X Files in a few years time, like the awful versions of Miami Vice and Starsky & Hutch.
right, the rest of this could contain rather large *** SPOILERS *** for those of you who haven't seen the film or, more importantly, haven't seen the TV series, in particular how it ended. you have been warned, as it were!
the plot picks up Mulder & Scully five years after they fled the FBI, Mulder being a not really sought after fugitive but a fugitive all the same; Scully returning to her initial calling of medicine. the FBI seeks out Scully to find Fox Mulder, who they wish to turn to as a sort of "last resort" in the case of a missing FBI agent and a curious, dodgy disgraced Priest who keeps having visions of the missing agent.
now, if that sounds like a plot for an episode of the TV show, that's because it probably is that limiting in its scope. there's no grand, sweeping global concern as was at the heart of Fight The Future, what we have here is basically a "special edition" of the TV show, given a cinematic run. and this is no bad thing.
there's probably no potential to make a new TV series of The X Files in the sense of either funding or substantial plots, so the idea of making "special edition episodes", keeping the costs down and the quality up, is i dare say the right way to go. the only bewildering notion is that this was made for and released in the cinemas; a direct-to-disc approach as was the case with the recent Lost Boys sequel might have been more expected. that said, i have no idea how X Files : I Want To Believe did in the cinema, so i am not going to be too critical of the decision. we wanted to see it at the movies, but with a run of not much more than a week we just didn't get the chance.
there's enough in the film with regards of flaws to tear it apart if you so wished - the dialogue often goes wrong ("OK everybody, just stop" politely asks Mulder in a room full of crazed genetic doctors, for instance) and the idea of Mulder hiding in a cupboard at Scully's house for five years, busy growing a beard and cutting newspaper articles out, is perhaps not exactly what audiences assumed or expected him to be doing whilst on the quasi-run.
the plot, however, is indeed classic, above average X Files. it's a storyline that would fit into any season of the TV series, and has enough curiosity, twists and red herrings to keep the most avid Xphile entertained.
where your more obsessed Xphile is going to get upset, however, is with the full on, no more hinting at relationship between Mulder and Scully. they are clearly an item (and then some, although i don't want to give too much away), with as much love and argument as that would be expected to contain. i don't have an issue with this particular development, but somehow you just know that the "purists" will.
it's hardly worth mentioning the "newcomers" to the X Files cast; as good as they are in this the point of interest are Mulder & Scully. that said, Billy Connolly was great in his part as Father Joe, although one or two scenes of him carried the sense that he just wanted to ditch it all and crack some jokes.
the claim that you could enjoy and indeed understand this film "even if you didn't watch the show, or were not a fan of it" is of course as nonsensical as you suspected when you first heard it. the film is very much in the territory of being for avid fans only. this, for a fan like me, is no bad thing at all. i certainly, for all the flaws, enjoyed this one, and would hope for more of the same in the future - if only the end bit at the credits didn't suggest that this was well and truly the end of it.
X Files : I Want To Believe is then a film for fans only, and one that all fans should pick up. it might not quite be a return to the former glories of the show or concept, but it is at least heading with intention to that direction more often than not!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!