Unfavourable Movie Review – The X-files: I Want To Believe

J.’s not an X-files buff, and in his youth always seemed to find a reason to do something else when the X-Files came on. To temper his natural cynicism, he went to watch the new X-Files movie The X-Files: I Want To Believe with a couple of friends who loved The X-Files series.

And all three concurred: this movie’s not that good. At all! They felt that it sullied their memories of The X-Files series. J. saw this movie and thought, “Gee, it’s a good thing I’ve never watched the series. If it’s like this, I don’t want to.” To make things worse, this was the first movie he’s watched in months. Months! He hasn’t watched Hellboy, The Mummy, The Dark Knight, or any of a bunch of other possibly better movies! And he spent 2 hours on this show. Damn.

This movie is offensively stupid on multiple points. Being medical personnel, J. and friends’ve seen fairly gross stuff. J.’s had his finger up a man’s ass, scooping out impacted faeces. To them, the gross-out factor wasn’t quite there. The plot and the characters are otherwise nothing short of annoying.

Spoilers ahead! If you’d rather not, why not go to the 32% (as of 6/8/08) Rotten Tomatoes Review?

The story starts off promisingly enough. A young woman is attacked by a man with dogs barking in the background. A psychic leads a team of FBI men straight to a severed arm. The FBI contact Gillian And… um… Dr Scully, the paediatrician who’s treating a patient with a rare, incurable and fatal autoimmune brain disease to reach ex-agent Mulder, who’s now the classic conspiracy theorist living in isolation.

Then the stupid starts, and by jove, it doesn’t stop coming.

It turns out the psychic is a Catholic priest who’s an ex-paedophile. Is there any other kind? This priest suddenly starts crying blood and that’s that. No attempt at an explanation or further follow-up. He eventually dies of lung cancer with brain metastases. Whoopeedoo, and that’s the end of any and all paranormal phenomenon in the movie.

If these men are the law enforcers, the FBI, then J. fears for the country. You have individuals willingly chase the evildoer into dark, dangerous buildings without (1) informing anybody, (2) calling for backup, (3) getting a whole bunch of police cars to surround said area and comb the area with big burly men with guns and nightsticks. What the? Imagine the following scenario. You and a crazy-optimistic partner are in the dark woods, separated from each other, looking for a dangerous, dangerous man. Why would you not want to lay low, gun at the ready, instead of shouting like mad “I’m here! I’m here! Come kill me!” Said agent deserved to die for incredible stupidity.

Head transplants? Really? Bollocks. We’re having trouble with transplanted nerves but a head transplant? Come on! That’s not supernatural, that’s just incredible. Let’s not mention the fact that in such a non-sterile environment the man’d drop dead of sepsis in 2 days.

Okay. Now we’ve gotten the stupid out of the way, let’s talk about the offensive.

Firstly, the psychic. Yes, it’s a movie and no one expects a movie to be about reality. This movie is making the psychic more of a protagonist and the cynic, played by Xzibit, as the well-intentioned but foolish man who doubts the psychic’s psychic powers.

In reality-land, however, self-proclaimed psychics have wasted police hours and resources with vague claims that anybody with half-a-brain could have come up.

Secondly, in reality-land, putting a child who is otherwise comfortable (though on the path to doom due to a degenerative brain disease) through a painful experimental surgery involving multiple (at least 6) brain surgeries is unethical and just plain poor medicine.

Yet the movie shows the Catholic brother in charge of the hospital as the evil man whose intention to send the child to palliative care and hospice care is based on personal evilness. Bollocks! He’s doing the right thing for all involved. Sparing the child painful and unnecessary treatment with a focus on quality of life. And the side benefit of saving hte parents and the hospital some money.

And look, Dr Scully’s a paediatric… NEUROSURGEON. Wow. One who has to Google “stem cell transplant” the day before the operation. That’s confidence-boosting.

Lastly, for J.’s X-files-loving two friends. The two protagonists, the two the season revolved around, were just plain useless in this film. Fox Mulder doesn’t help the FBI at all, since they were already following up on the psychic’s lead, and all he does is to put himself in harm’s way. It’s a film that’s heartbreaking to the X-files fan, y’know. Why, you bastards, why couldn’t you have left their memories intact?

This post took 15min. That’s about how long the thin, thin plot of this movie should have lasted instead of being dragged out into an interminable two hours. Don’t watch it! Especially if you’re a rabid X-Files fan.

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