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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
David Duchovny
Gillian Anderson
Billy Connolly
Amanda Peet
Xzibit.
Directors
Screenwriters
Chris Carter
Frank Spotnitz.
Running Time
104 minutes

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The X-Files: I Want To Believe
We wanted to believe too. But we still have doubts.


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Plot
When a dubious psychic offers to help solve the disappearance of an FBI agent, the bureau reaches out to Dana Scully (Anderson), now a practicing doctor, to enlist the aid of Fox Mulder (Duchovny), still recognised as an expert in supernatural mysteries. The former agents reunite to pursue the case, which raises their long-standing argument about faith and scepticism.


Review
The X-Files: I Want To Believe
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The second X Files movie manages one classic exchange. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), at once devoutly Catholic and sceptic on all things paranormal, needles self-proclaimed psychic and convicted paedophile Father Joe (Billy Connolly) about whether God hears his prayers. Joe asks, ‘What makes you think he hears yours?’ and Scully snaps, ‘I didn’t bugger thirty-seven altar boys’.

 

Over a ten-year TV run The X Files established four distinct types of episode – in reverse order of preference: the alien abduction-government conspiracy-family soap opera ‘mythology’ saga; the Silence Of The Lambs-influenced mixes of serial killing with psychic phenomena; monster-of-the-week stories about mutant vampire creatures; and weird satirical efforts which turned the show inside-out. So far, the big-screen X Files have covered the first two types. The original X Files movie, released while the show was still in production, had flying saucers and little green men and evil politicians plotting in dark rooms; I Want To Believe offers agents with big FBI signs on their backs padding through snow and finding severed limbs which produce vital clues (animal tranquiliser!), as the ambiguous, perhaps-sincere, definitely sinister Father Joe offers help that Mulder is inclined to accept and Scully wants to reject.

Coming along six years after the show wound up, writer-director-creator Chris Carter is stuck with all sorts of baggage that casual viewers might have forgotten, which needs to be at least touched on – though newcomers will be bewildered. Scully and Mulder had a baby once, remember? And Scully had terminal cancer but received a miracle cure. And the FBI put Mulder on trial for treason. All this is dealt with in snippets which feel like plot hiccoughs, while the first reel – in which David Duchovny sports a suspect beard and Gillian Anderson is busy with a subplot about a sick child – does all that where-are-they-now and how-to-get- back-in-harness business found in TV movie revivals like The Return Of The Man From UNCLE. 
 
Agents Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) and Mosley Drummy (Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner) – who prove Carter hasn’t lost his knack for ‘come again’ character names – are set up as the new generation of X Files sleuths, but get even less to do than the Robert Patrick/Annabeth Gish team who wound down the show. Once M&S are plodding around after a creepy Russian, two-headed dogs and Father Joe’s squirmy backstory, we’re in a more-or-less normal X-File, though the fact that neither are official agents means more suspense since they are free to wander off into trouble without a badge or a gun for protection. Carter does a better job as director than writer – he rehashes at wearisome length arguments about scepticism and belief, which now has more to do with religion than arcana like UFOs, bigfoot or vampires. The lead actors relish the occasional sparks more than the fudge of a relationship which now runs to cuddles and sniffles (remember when sexual tension simmered on the show?) but it’s nice to have them back. Likewise, there’s a familiar, pleasurable chill to be had from icy settings, stalkings, ambiguous supernatural glimpses and the sick, sick answer to the mystery.


Verdict
An okay paranormal mystery, with solid work from the regulars – but please Mr Carter, next time, could we have liver-eating mutants or post-modern comedy like the really good episodes of The X Files?


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The X-Files: I Want To Believe
Empire Star Rating

Barely even an X-File.

Was really disappointed with this film, the only good thing about it was that we got Mulder and Skully back on our screens! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lakota at 19:29, 11 October 2010 | Report This Post


Carter's fateful decision brings a good film down

Why oh why did Chris Carter decide to make the second X-Files movie a stand-alone mystery, and not conclude the series' story arc? Only God knows. Most unfortunately, no matter how much I speak well of the film, this rather mindless decision will always cloud everyone's judgement, and rightly so. Duchovny and Anderson are simply superb and back on track as the two international icons. The writing is best at rekindling Mulder and Scully's relationship (now dealing with the hardships of long-term... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 22:49, 07 April 2010 | Report This Post


TThe X-Files was quite possibly my favourite programme in the 1990s. The show had me almost daring to believe in the existence of extra-terrestrial beings, and played the government conspiracy card exceptionally well. It was the Outer Limits with added drama, suspense and lead characters. And what lead characters, with the bizzarrly but funkily named Fox Mulder and the sceptical sensible one, Dana Scully (who was probably 50% of the reason why I watched the show if I am being honest. Ok 65%........ More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gepete80 at 10:53, 23 December 2008 | Report This Post


Fight The Future

Fight the Future was made out of passion and commitment to a loyal fanbase. I Want To Believe was made souly for the purpose of making money. This movie's budget must have been so low. How can you compaire this trash to Fight The Future. I have been a big fan of the X Files, but now, after watching this, I would rather watch Sex and the City re-runs. How can this get 3 stars??? FUCK?? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Halo14 at 10:36, 09 December 2008 | Report This Post


Meh

A solid extended episode had it been released during the show's run but as a movie it's a bit of a thin exercise. The first movie had explosions and aliens - this just has digging in the snow. Not bad, just rather bland. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 18:45, 05 December 2008 | Report This Post


Meh

A solid extended episode had it been released during the show's run but as a movie it's a bit of a thin exercise. The first movie had explosions and aliens - this just has digging in the snow. Not bad, just rather bland. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 18:45, 05 December 2008 | Report This Post


Yawn.

How on earth did this story ever get the okay as the second X-files feature?! As stand-alone was the chosen route they went there were so many better story types from the series they could have used. The characters are still great though and despite not having seen much of the series after the first film was released I didn't feel confused. Overall a real let down though. Must do better! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by giddig at 19:00, 29 November 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ZZZ files ....more like it

I have to agree with the majority here.   I watched it the other day, fresh in at the DVD store and i was excited and thought i would watch it with an open mind. Overall though it was disappointing. An X Files movie should have had cetain elements and this movie didn't. On the plus side i did like the whole Mulder & Scully relationship and Mulders one liners, but that aside there wasn't that much more to like. The story was weak,  Billy Connelys character had prom... More

Posted by Newander at 09:44, 22 November 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ZZZ files ....more like it

What a letdown.   Supernatural? Unexplained phenomenen? Aliens? Even something odd in the sky? Nope, none of those. It played out like a Michael Bay film without the action, and what was going on between Mulder and Scully? Were they living together or just sleeping together? It looked thrown together in a matter of days and had no relevance whatsover to any of the arcs the show has been so famous for, it wasn't even a decent stand-alone episode. Oh and a supporting cast of Amanda Peet,... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Goodfella at 22:36, 20 November 2008 | Report This Post


X-Files

entirely sure what I was expecting… but it was definitely more than I was given. It was just really slow and uneventful, like an extended version of one of the more boring episodes. To start with, the casting left a lot to be desired, Amanda Peet and Xzibit… really?! The plot is centred around a race to find a couple of women that have been kidnapped, but you never really get introduced to either of these characters, so how is the audience supposed to feel empathy or anxiety as the storyline p... More

Posted by Talie84 at 17:33, 27 September 2008 | Report This Post


Answer some questions, then put it to bed

I love the X-Files and was hugely disappointed by the almost unrecognisable Mulder and Scully and the pointless (let's face it) cameo by Skinner. The movie was dull even by the standards of some of the bad X-Files episodes. I liked seeing Mulder and Scully back but, after this, maybe one more mythology wrap-up movie can finally give us closure and bid farewell to a dwindling franchise. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jayofeen at 08:09, 12 September 2008 | Report This Post


I had hoped for so much more....

I was really looking forward to this film, I am a big fan of the show (owning them all on dvd) and enjoyed the 1st one so I had high hopes. I remember sitting in the cinema at the end thinking...what?? The plot was dull like one of the episodes you would watch once and not bother watching again. It was nice that the film allowed Mulder and Scully to build strong characters but on the whole the film was disappointing. I thought the plot was drawn out and not very well displayed or explained ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by malliibu at 15:48, 10 September 2008 | Report This Post


Not being a huge fan of the show, I watched this because i was made to watch the first film as well. I was pleasantly suprised. I was expecting the usual hokum bollocks that the show became and was happy to receive a plot about paedophilic psychics and missing FBI agents with their heads cut off. None of that ET gubbins. Some pretty harsh reviews on here. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by UTB at 16:13, 01 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ZZZ files ....more like it

I enjoyed it, I think a lot of the criticism came from the fact that it was like an overlong episode but I don't see anything wrong with that, it's the fans who are going to be paying their money to see it so why shouldn't they get what they want? I actually think that the return to some of the original character arcs of the series developed the characters more than the first movie did. The lower budget gave Duchovny and Anderson a chance to be Mulder and Scully rather than just dodging explosi... More

Posted by doubleshiny at 14:58, 23 August 2008 | Report This Post


ZZZ files ....more like it

I am a huge X Files fan and was so looking forward to this film. I sat in my seat squirming watching the film…it was so boring….that endless snow and bleak scenery and such a waste of three good characters – Mulder, Scully and Skinner. Usually they shine bright above whatever darkness they have to battle, but Mulder and Scully were so defeatist from the beginning. The scenes of Scully in the hospital were extremely bad…usually she walks tall (even though she is small) and... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 12:42, 20 August 2008 | Report This Post


Chris Carter: what the hell happened?

Oh dear. It pains me to say this; but this isn’t a good movie. Certainly not better than the first film and not worth the wait. The sole reason for this is Chris Carter. The first act gets off to a promising start, a few cool moments and nods towards the past, but then it all goes wrong. Clearly, the deadline given to Chris by Fox studios was too much pressure. Combined with the fact that he’s been away from this material for too many years means that he’s lost his touch and ha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse2 at 22:14, 11 August 2008 | Report This Post


Essentially a half decent episode stretched out to movie length resulting in a funeral pace. Average Xfiles is still better than a lot of the other crap that has been released this summer. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blindlemonpie at 19:40, 11 August 2008 | Report This Post


Welcome back, Mr Mulder

Saw this last night and loved it. After 6 years away it was always bound to be dogged by some catch-up storytelling. Loved the gruesome stuff towards the end - pure X-files; as some have said a shame that the paranormal stuff was largely absent. Some great cinematography - all snow-covered wilderness and stylised lighting. Hands up who didn't stay to the end of the credits? Shame on you - you missed the conclusion to the story - what M&S did next! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jimnick at 13:39, 11 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Bad or just not what was expected?

I probably am being kinder to the film because I'm a fan e considered why others haven't been impressed. I said it wasn't very cinematic. And that ideally this would have had an X File that was more involving of both the heroes and in turn us. I am kind of angry at CC for not delivering on his "this is for the newbies too!" statements. This was so very much for the hard core, watched crappy S9 fans. You know they're fighting a losing battle against most people when you get people comi... More

Posted by beebs_ at 15:14, 10 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Bad or just not what was expected?

ew from the Small Screen, /i]s thread. "#006600"]I saw the film the other day and I gotta say I was pleasently surprised. Due to the awful trailers and bad reviews I really went in with low expectations but found myself entertained for a couple of hours. It also left me wanting more, although whether that's because I enjoyed it and want to see more or because it was lacking in some departments I'm not sure. I think the rest of you guys have listed the films faults well enough so I... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dave B at 12:34, 10 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Bad or just not what was expected?

L: Bumfluff IMO the X-Files at its core was always about 2 things... 1) Belief - Aliens, conspiracies, religion etc 2) The realtionship between Mulder & Scully. In which case this film ]expand the mythos of the series, showing us how bitter & isolated Mulder had become & how Scully returned to her roots not only in her work but in her beliefs. The realtionship between Mulder & Scully. In which case this film did expand the mythos of the series, showing us how bitter & isolated M... More

Posted by Wilbert at 09:13, 10 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Bad or just not what was expected?

L: Wilbert I think you're going easy on it because you're a fan and are just kind of happy to see them on screen again. I don't think they should have tried to have it as accessible as possible for newcomers. They should have played to their core audience and really done something for the fans. This is just a very ordinary filler episode stretched to 2 hours. I'm not convinced they did try to have it as accessible as possible for newcomers. I'll admit I was a massive X-Phile (&... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bumfluff at 08:58, 10 August 2008 | Report This Post


Shocking...

...and not in a good way. Perhaps the worst film I've seen in years. Devoid of plot, totally lacking suspense, and dialogue that made me cringe with embarrasment. I walked out 15 minutes before the end (the first time in 32 years - well done!) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by glenpaulcole at 07:47, 10 August 2008 | Report This Post


Shocking...

...and not in a good way. Perhaps the worst film I've seen in years. Devoid of plot, totally lacking suspense, and dialogue that made me cringe with embarrasment. I walked out 15 minutes before the end (the first time in 32 years - well done!) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by glenpaulcole at 07:46, 10 August 2008 | Report This Post


Shocking...

...and not in a good way. Perhaps the worst film I've seen in years. Devoid of plot, totally lacking suspense, and dialogue that made me cringe with embarrasment. I walked out 15 minutes before the end (the first time in 32 years - well done!) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by glenpaulcole at 07:45, 10 August 2008 | Report This Post


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