<div style="float:left">
<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "pub-9764823118029583";
/* 125x125, created 12/10/07 */
google_ad_slot = "8167036710";
google_ad_width = 125;
google_ad_height = 125;
<script type="text/javascript"
</script></div>{/googleAds}As hopeful as I was for the return of The X-Files, I had already received warnings that the film was a bit on the lackluster side. Nevertheless, it was with an open and enthusiastic mind that I waited for the lights to dim. I was even with my girlfriend, so endorphins and good feelings were already flowing.

Languishing in the limbo state for so many years has not been the best thing for the series, which was groundbreaking in its time, but with the latest "non-Mythology" story, time has been unkind. For such an innovative writer, Chris Carter, the creator of the series and writer/director of both this film and the last, plays everything pretty safe. The premise, about a psychic who has visions of a kidnapped FBI agent, lies in the territory of the paranormal, but unlike other (better) episodes, the story seems preponderously irrelevant and trite. It's a long episode at best.

Part of the problem is the neutering the heroes Mulder and Scully have undergone. No longer FBI, Scully (Gillian Anderson) is a doctor in a Catholic hospice where she cares for a child with a supposedly incurable disease. Mulder (David Duchovny) is a pariah, cast out from the bureau, and now stays at home and clips paranormal newspaper headlines for a kind of "when things were great" wall collage. However, they both are far distant from the lives they led so many years ago.

It shows.

The X FilesThere's a world-weariness to Anderson now that was always there in her character, but never quite so visibly present on her face as now. Duchovny, on the other hand, plays things through with such lackadaisical mundaneness that one is tempted to imagine that he might be doing this just for the paycheck. Given the original show had the two working within governmental circles--though outside normal channels due to the nature of the work--it's a difficult sell taking them out of that comfortable environment. FBI channels were at lease official, and gave their investigations into the paranormal an air of justification, if not perceptual reality. Without a stake in the game, and with seemingly everyone against their involvement in the new bizarre case, one is somewhat reluctant to embrace them as outsiders.

The script, by Carter and co-writer Frank Spotznitz, has a number of holes, holes the writers don't seem especially interested in filling. The case itself follows a disgraced pedophile priest named Father Joe (Billy Connolly) who is receiving visions of a FBI agent who has been kidnapped. After he leads them to a dismembered arm and several bodies, the FBI is convinced Father Joe is party to the crimes, if not responsible. Scully, no friend to the pedophile, has her own battle with a hospital administrator who wants to move her terminal patient to another place so that he can die in peace. Mulder, on the other hand, believes the priest's invocations of visions. He and Scully spend much of the film debating the merits of Father Joe's reports and question their own re-involvement in the kind of case they've tried to distance themselves from.

What stems from their continued search for the missing FBI agent is a concoction of nefarious Russian surgical experiments on dogs and people, Scully's battle with the hospital board, and Mulder's quest to rejoin the life he left years ago.

I don't mean to impugn motives or effort here. I know how much goes into something that doesn't make me want to vomit. Quality is difficult. Even mediocre has its challenges. While X-Files: I Want to Believe isn't mediocre, it feels hashed together by people who have been too long out of the game. The result is a rather dull story that only drearily makes use of the conspiracy for which it was famed and by which it changed the face of the perception of American public of politics, the government, and social paranoia.

If this is the swan song for Mulder and Scully, I stand in regretful disbelief.


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.40:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish.

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 HD; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; director's commentary; gag reel; Body Parts: Special Makeup Effects.

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.
* Featurettes
o Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production featurette
o Body Parts: Special Makeup effects featurette
* Deleted Scenes - eleted scenes, gag reel
* Photo Galleries
* Music video: "Dying 2 Live" by Xzibit

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging