tobyaw: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 11:57pm on 27/11/2009 under , ,
I rather liked The X-Files. I spent much of the mid to late 90s looking forward to the next episode appearing on a Wednesday evening on BBC1. To my taste the ‘monster of the week’ episodes worked best, with the fantastic thrown up against the real world of the FBI. I found the ongoing alien conspiracy episodes weaker, although some were good.

In later years I found the series became rather bogged down in its mythology, and what were aspects of the characters in early episodes became heavily defining features in later episodes (Scully and her religion, Mulder and his bloody sister). Some time around series six I stopped watching, but a couple of years ago I picked up the full nine series in a DVD box set, and [personal profile] kateaw and I watched them through in order. I was surprised to find that the last two series, featuring the agents Doggett and Reyes, brought back some of the energy and interest that had been lost from Mulder and Scully.

I was excited when a new X-Files film I Want to Believe was released last year. As is my wont, I didn’t see it at the cinema, and popped the Blu-ray on my Amazon wishlist, to pick up when it dipped below a tenner. And so it did, and I was delighted to watch the film this week.

Unlike the earlier X-Files film, Fight the Future, this new film didn’t engage in the ongoing conspiracy story line, and was better as a result. Rather oddly, given its source, it barely touched upon science fiction themes or settings — it was more of a straight serial-killer thriller.

It felt rather like a good multi-episode story from the television series, and that is a good thing. The look of the film works well, with a fair number of scenes in a threateningly snowy environment. There is some development of the relationship between Mulder and Scully, but they retain the characteristics that I found unappealing in later series of the television show. To my taste, David Duchovny is a little wooden at the best of times, and he suffered from trying to act behind a wooly beard for the early part of the film. Gillian Anderson is much more interesting on screen, although she doesn’t seem to have been given much to work with here.

There are unsubtle parallels drawn between perhaps unnecessary medical procedures performed by the Scully (which seem somewhat contrived in the plot) and those performed by the villains. The script is weakest in its treatment of Scully, her medical career, and her religion. Scully’s conflict with a priest running the hospital and the references to stem cell therapy are rather feeble. Religion is seldom seriously tackled in thrillers, and it isn’t seriously tackled here. The nuns looking into an operating theatre are unnecessary.

Still, I am glad they made the film, it is good to see the old characters back in action, and I hope there is more X-Files to come. Not a classic, but I’ll look forward to watching it again.
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