An expanse of flat, snow-covered land bisected by a two-lane highway. A car has veered off the road and plowed into the snow. The police inspect the area, looking for clues that might explain the accident. This is either (a) a scene from early in Fargo or (b) toward the end of X-Files: I Want to Believe. If you chose (a) and (b), you’re correct!
The two films are remarkably similar, except for small differences like Fargo is funny and has surprising, interesting characters, while X-Files: I Want to Believe is deadly serious, with an established cast that’s dull and predictable. The two films also feature female characters in law enforcement. And there’s lots of snow . . . in both films. Actually, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
But forget about Fargo. X-Files: I Want to Believe doesn’t even have that much in common with X-Files: The TV Series or X-Files: The Previous Movie. If you’re looking for government cover-ups, ETs, implants, and alien hybrids—you know, X-Files kinds of stuff—this might not be the movie for you.
The TV series featured two kinds of stories: mythology and stand-alone. The ongoing mythology stories involved sinister aliens, and the stand-alones could be about anything from bionic werewolves to government AI programs run amuck. It’s disappointing the alien invasion isn’t wrapped up or even advanced in X-Files: I Want to Believe, but since a karmic vampire or sentient virus are always only a clue or unexpected revelation away, the absence of an extraterrestrial threat can be forgiven.
What can’t be forgiven is Mulder’s ridiculous beard. For the first third of the film, before he shaves, Mulder doesn’t look rugged or crazed or even unkempt. He just looks idiotic. Then there’s the ridiculous fright wig on Billy Collins. To be honest, it’s a relief when Skinner shows up, and he’s not sporting a mustache or a toupee.
This film has many problems besides goofy-looking characters, and they’d be a lot easier to put up with if the story’s payoff was a transdimensional entity or even a sasquatch, for Chrissakes. Unfortunately, what the menace turns out to be is . . . a clairvoyant pedophile priest? In a story about an organ-harvesting scheme? Which turns out to be some kind of lame-ass Frankenstein story?
Actually, X-Files: I Want to Believe is closer to something like The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, except Brain is an off-the-wall B movie with a ridiculous but entertaining story about a henpecked husband whose wife is reduced to a hectoring, demanding head screaming orders at him from a pan on a table. X-Files, on the other hand, has a couple of thugs attempting to make money off of head transplants.
As lazy and half baked as the story is, the lazy half baked dialogue is even worse. A good portion of what Scully has to say is a variation of the following:
“This isn’t my life anymore.”
“I don’t work with Fox Mulder anymore.”
“This isn’t my job anymore.”
“Mulder, it’s over.”
After awhile, this starts to sound less like dialogue from a character and more like the mantra of a filmmaker who no longer wants anything to do with his creation. But if Chris Carter still harbors hopes of relaunching the original show or possibly a series of TV movies and is only marking time with this latest effort, then someone needs to take him aside and have a little talk with him. To paraphrase Scully, “Carter, it’s over.” And no, I don’t want to believe.