Thursday, 31 July 2008

The X-Files: I Want to Believe Review

Picture the scene. Its Christmas 1995, I'm 13, spotty and hopeless with attracting the opposite sex (well at least I'm not 13 and spotty anymore!). My younger self is, of course, a huge X-Files fan. Posters of Gillian Anderson adorn the walls and the Mark Snow soundtrack plays on loop in my stereo. I'd been trying and failing to get hold of the famous FHM 'Scully shoot' without joy, but my older brother promises me a present under the tree that will sate my appetite, a VHS tape of The Turning (a soft adult film where Scully gets her boobs out). Bounding down the stairs on Christmas day I pick up the present from my bro and take it somewhere more private to open it. As I wrestle with the wrapping paper, pulse racing, I find a copy of Demolition Man instead. My heart, and my 13 year old balls, sink. Older brothers can be so cruel.

So here we are 13 years later. The X-Files has been absent for some time and since then I've had full sex with a lady (not recently, but still). Yet I still have a hankering to see what Mulder and Scully are up to. Would you like me tell you? Okay then. Since 'the FBI trial' of Fox Mulder he's been in hiding, cutting out newspapers and generally going a bit hermit (he's even got a beard!) while Scully has been doctoring in a Catholic Hospital. But when a field agent for the FBI goes missing in spooky goings on they call up Fox who, after a little persuasion from Dana, picks up the flashlight once more.

From the opening scrolling text of location and time in the left hand corner of the screen I was riding high on a wave of nostalgia. The exchanges between the leads, the little nods and winks to past storylines, the familiar score, all of it had me grinning like a teenage boy who'd actually been given some soft porn from his brother. It is a real step up from the lamentable first movie 'Fight The Future' and Billy Connolly, as the psychic whose vague cryptic clues would make Derek Acorah blush, proves again that he really is quite a decent actor. But I wouldn't recommend it. Not to anyone who wasn't a fan when the were younger.

Because as much as its good fun to see Mulder munching on sunflower seeds and Scully wrestling with her faith, the actual storyline (girls kidnapped and held in crates until Mulder and Scullys storylines converge) is incredibly weak. Sadly no amount of relevant topics being covered, from kiddie fiddling priests to stem cell research, can help the non X-Philes (us geeks, we had our own name). Instead it comes across as an average episode from one of the first series but with much more Mulder on Scully action. Which is just fine for me but, well, you might have had a life in high school.

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