In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Insert X Pun Here

Things have been so crazy around here, I barely had time to see the new X-Files movie, let alone review it. I thought about just letting it go, but my conscience wouldn’t allow it. You see, the X-Files used to take up so much of my psyche, that this new movie just HAD to be addressed. I originally wanted to do a whole lead up of articles about my favourite episodes, but the clock was not on my side. Having a full time job - that doesn’t involve writing about cool shit – really sucks sometimes!

Before I comment on the new X-Files movie, let us first go back in time fifteen years to when it all started. It was September 1993 and I was avidly watching (as any Evil Dead fan would) the new Bruce Campbell vehicle The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr. Then, one fateful night, I happened to catch the first five minutes of the show that came on right after Brisco called The X-Files. That episode was “Deep Throat”, the second one ever to air. I was immediately hooked. I recorded every episode and dubbed copies for my friends, endoctrining them all into watching the coolest show on television. As the show’s popularity increased, I became obsessed with the mythology and mulled over every detail of the show. I joined the first official fan club (run by two sisters in New Hampshire) and went to an X-Files convention held here in 1995. The X-Files is also the main reason I came online that year, getting a shitty (and expensive) Delphi account with its dos-based web browser just so I could have access to X-Files images and

So, the show pressed on for several years and even I – the huge fan that I am – acknowledge that the show went on two seasons too long. It’s not that I had a problem with Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish (I actually really liked Agent Reyes), it was just that the show wasn’t as compelling. In fact, I recently took a look at a list of the last season’s episodes and couldn’t remember watching many of them, even though I know I MUST have. The show’s conclusion was unfulfilling, which only proved my point further that they should have ended it sooner.

So, six years later, a new X-Files feature film is upon us. The general consensus from people I talk to, whether they were fans of the show or not, is a resounding ‘meh’. I’ve also heard ‘why now?’, ‘too late’, and ‘pointless’ bandied about. I heard these opinions, even somewhat agreed with them, but still felt an obligation to revisit a franchise that was so near and dear to my heart not so long ago.

After an FBI agent is abducted, a convicted pedophile (Billy Connolly) claims he is having visions of her whereabouts. With no concrete leads, the FBI ask Scully (Gillian Anderson) to pull Mulder (David Duchovny) out of exile to help with the case. Running out of time, Mulder and Scully must figure out whether this man is really psychic, a suspect or just completely insane.

Watching X-Files: I Want To Believe was a very strange and surreal experience that is hard to describe. I felt very displaced. The world has moved on since the end of the show and it was clear early on that this movie, as most suspected, is five years too late. I’ll give you a perfect example. When Duchovny first came onscreen, I thought of Hank Moody (his current character on Californication). That’s how long it’s been! I don’t even really associate him with Mulder anymore. I won’t really go into details about how I felt about where they took the characters in the interim because frankly, I didn’t care that much. And that’s the tragedy here. So much time has passed since The X-Files was relevant that I felt totally disconnected from it. I don’t blame either Duchovny or Anderson for this because they were as good as ever, but everything else seemed out of whack. The story was fairly standard and driven forward by some outlandish MacGuffins that were really hard to overlook at times. There were some good moments though. Mulder’s one-liners are still on, there were a ton of Easter eggs for X-Philes to pick out and my man Callum Keith Rennie shows up as the villain. However, none of that changes the fact that X-Files: IWTB felt like an elongated episode and not one of the stronger entries either. I don’t remember it being that way with 1999’s Fight The Future. That seemed like a bigger, broader and more polished extension of the show, which also served as a clever bridge between the fifth and sixth seasons.

So, in the end, X-Files: IWTB is a take-it-or-leave-it experience. As a movie, it is fairly average, but as part of the X-Files canon, it fails to live up to the high quality of the show in its prime. This should really upset me as a fan, but as I said before… Meh.

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