The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008) starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Xzibit, Mitch Pileggi, Callum Keith Rennie directed by Chris Carter Movie Review

The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder in The X Files: I Want to Believe

I Wanted to Believe

I use to enjoy the X Files especially in the early days when it focussed on the unexplained, the mysterious and was packed full of conspiracy theories which never failed to entertain, usually in a quirky manner. I would even say that I enjoyed the first big screen outing for "X Files" although I still favoured the TV series. But I have to say that "The X Files: I Want to Believe" is a huge disappointment and lacked pretty much everything which made X Files so special and entertaining.

When FBI agent Monica Bannan (Xantha Radley) suddenly disappears in a set of mysterious circumstances, the only clue to what happened is a former priest claiming to be receiving psychic visions concerning her disappearance. Desperate to find her before it's too late the FBI call on the help of ex-agents Mulder (David Duchovny - Connie and Carla) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) to try and solve the mysterious clues.

Billy Connolly and David Duchovny in The X Files: I Want to Believe

The most disappointing aspect of this latest X Files movie is the actual storyline which feels in many ways a little lifeless and is no where near on par with the original series. The main premise of "The X Files: I Want to Believe" is the search for an FBI agent who has disappeared in mysterious circumstances, which in all truthfulness is not really that special and could be the basis for any thriller. To try and spice it up we have a former priest who is claiming to have psychic visions, which is the link to bringing in Mulder and Scully.

But regrettably this mysterious side of the storyline fails to fire on all cylinders and doesn't make the movie anymore interesting or entertaining. Yes at times the film pushes the boundaries of believability but these come at the wrong time and not often enough to keep your attention. To be brutal "The X Files: I Want to Believe" feels like that they came up with a reasonable idea for a movie, decided to try and use it for the basis of a new X Files movie but then failed to add all the elements which made X Files such a cult hit.

On a positive note it is good to see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson back together as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, but what has happened to them. There use to be such chemistry between them, the repartee was always top notch, no doubt down to a good script, but now there seems to be something missing. Not that I am criticising either Duchovny or Anderson as they are good at what they do and they made the best of what I would call a bad job.

Alongside them is actor Billy Connolly in the role of Father Joe the former priest who is getting the psychic visions, and although this wasn't a huge performance from the Scottish actor it was in tune with those around him, sort of under stated. But unfortunately I felt that for such an important character and one which could be deemed as the link between everything it just felt like the character was under used.

One of the biggest disappointments for me was the lack of tie ins to the original TV series, all I got was a brief appearance from Mitch Pileggi back as Skinner. It felt like that in desperation to make this an X Files movie they introduced the Skinner character for just a few scenes rather than making him a more pivotal character.

"The X Files: I Want to Believe" also lacks the drama and action which use to be an integral part of X Files. Yes there was action and it was realistic, well for the most, but there was no real adrenalin pumping moments or big action sequences which got you on the edge of your seat. In many ways the film hits a pretty average level of excitement & entertainment and sustains that average level from start to finish, leaving me begging for something extra.

But here is the thing, I watched "The X Files: I Want to Believe" as someone who remembered and enjoyed the TV series and so felt that this outing didn't live up to my expectations. But then as a stand alone movie The X Files: I Want to Believe is a reasonable thriller and one which rates on a par with many recent thrillers. Maybe after such a long time since the TV series drew a cult following it was right to make a movie which didn't require the audience to have a decent knowledge of the show. But in doing so I feel that they let down those who remember the good times when X Files stood for little green men and outrageous conspiracies.