The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Young women are disappearing in rural West Virginia. Something shocking is buried in the snow. A man is bleeding from the eyes and suffering horrible visions.
Who ya gonna call?
Mulder and Scully, of course! It's a dirty job, but the truth is still "out there." It's time for The X-Files' dynamic duo to come out of hiding and pursue it.
In The X-Files: I Want to Believe, a big-screen sequel of sorts to the television series that ran from 1993-2002, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) still follows his hunches about paranormal activity, and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) wields her scientific skepticism, proving to audiences that they still have the chemistry that made the franchise so popular. And yes, they still refer to each other by their last names.
But a few things have changed: Mulder and Scully don't go around whipping out their FBI badges anymore. Mulder keeps a low profile, as all of his meddling with mysteries has made him unpopular with the government. Scully's become a medical doctor, putting her scientific brain to good use and leaving her ordeals with extra-terrestrials behind. And their relationship? Well, no spoilers here!
But when FBI agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) summons Mulder to help her track the bad guys through the West Virginia snow, tantalizing clues quickly break down his resistance.
Why Mulder? Because he's an expert in the paranormal, and Whitney's strongest clues come from the psychic visions of Father Joseph Crissman (the marvelously grizzled Billy Connolly), visions that cause blood to run from his eyes. Joe's revelations may lead detectives to the bad guys, but then again they may be part of a sick and twisted game. He is, of course, a convicted pedophile. (Do American filmmakers really believe that all priests are sexual deviants? Is Hollywood so infected with prejudice that they've come to believe the rare exceptions are the rule? It's getting old. Seriously.)
As they try to decide whether to believe, doubt, or detest Father Joe, Mulder and Scully are right back in their element. Mulder chases mysteries, and Scully, the skeptical yin to her partner's speculative yang, casts doubt on every theory he poses. They're a match made in a heaven—at least, that's what we want to believe. And the paranormal muddle that almost destroys them is just as creepy (and ludicrous) as so many of the half-baked horrors they uncovered on TV.
Psychics, zombies, ghosts, little green men—they were the stuff that made the show's nine seasons so much fun. We entertained those B-movie plot twists because mastermind Chris Carter served them up with such enthusiasm, like a kid building his own haunted house in the Twilight Zone and populating it with the stuff of science-fiction nightmares. Along the way, Mulder and Scully's dialogue grew from a clash of faith and science into an endearing romance. It was fun, so long as we could tolerate the increasingly labyrinthine mythos and the convoluted conspiracy theories.
Eventually, viewers became impatient with the proliferation of government cover-ups, alien invaders, chain-smoking mystery men, and deadly viruses. As the elaborate web of conspiracy theories started spoiling the fun, Carter delivered a feature film, 1998's The X-Files, that tried to offer some answers. It was an entertaining attempt, but the film's lengthy scenes of exposition left even the show's die-hard fans arguing about what it all meant. Most newcomers walked away bewildered. Not even Martin Landau, who played the hunted whistleblower on the government's alien-invasion conspiracy, could make the film as compelling as the famous flicks it plundered and pillaged (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, The Thing).