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X-Files, The: I Want to Believe Print E-mail
Friday, 12 December 2008
Image"The X-Files" was one of those television shows that captivated audiences.  Its following is nearly as big as the Star Trekkies.  Fox blessed the fans with a feature length film back in 1998.  The film was well received by audiences.  Unfortunately, the second X-Files film left audiences disappointed.  There are many which left the theater feeling like they just lost an hour and 45 minutes of their life that they will never get back.

That's not the way I felt after watching the film, but I was pretty darn close to it.  I was never a regular watcher of the television show, however, I caught the show enough to know that this film does not fit with the series.  The strengths of "X-Files" the TV show laid in unexplained phenomena and the relationship/romance between Mulder and Scully.  Unfortunately, this film doesn't offer the former, and the latter is only superficial.

Unlike the first film, "I Want to Believe" is much like a standard detective movie, a hunt for a serial killer.  In fact, it reminds me of both "Untraceable" and especially, "Seven."  There is nothing in the film to make it resemble an X-Files' case.

The film picks up an unnoted time after the end of the television series six years ago.  Mulder is in seclusion after the FBI tried to disavow and prosecute all of Mulder's work for a decade.  However, a recent FBI case calls for Mulder's help.  Unfortunately, I saw nothing in the case that would need Mulder's assistance.  Mulder brings Scully along.  Whitney (Amanda Peet) is the head of the FBI case and liked Mulder's work with psychics.  Billy Connolly plays Father Joe, an apparent psychic that has visions of the kidnapped FBI agent and other woman. The entire middle of the film is a stretched out plot of nothing.  We could have just jumped from the beginning to the end.  Mulder becomes obsessed with the darkness in investigation while Scully seems to be off doing her own thing.  Scully is involved in experimental stem cell research for a boy that has a degenerative brain disease.

Really there is not much to say about the plot.  An FBI team, that includes Mulder on a limited basis, attempts to find a serial killer that is performing experimental medical procedures.  Throughout the film Mulder and Scully divulge information about their relationship.  Unfortunately, for any one that hasn't seen the last couple seasons of the television series, they will struggle to understand what the heck is going on between the two of them.

Fox gives us an MPEG-4/AVC video transfer.  The quality is not reference material, but it is also nothing to sneeze at.  There is very little grain covering the image.  The contrast fluctuates a bit, sometimes causing blown out whites.  But overall, the contrast yields excellent grays and whites.  The black levels a deep, however, the shadow delineation is weak.  Details get lost in the dark areas.  Colors are basically non-existent, which is most likely a stylistic choice.  The majority of the film is blue-ish, even daytime sequences appear muted.  Gillian Anderson's fiery red hair is the most color in the film.  The details are decent.  Rarely were there any soft sequences.  Still, will all the dark sequences, it is hard to tell what is potential this film would hold under normal circumstances.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  It is also not reference audio, but certainly holds its own.  I was a bit disappointed that the soundtrack was not a bit more active.  The majority of the soundscape is made of dialogue and stings/shimmer sound effects.  The dialogue is clean and crisp, and always audible.  Discrete effects are not present in the surround channels for the most part.  When they are, the panning is a bit clunky and distracting.  Mark Snow's music score is well balanced in the mix, almost completely transparent, which may be bad considering the tone of the movie.  The low frequencies are strong but not overpowering.  There are a few times when I longed for more LFE.  The spatial separation of each channel is excellent.  The dynamic range is not extreme, however the sound design does not call for anything really dramatic.  If you are a big fan of the soundtrack, then I recommend the 5.1 Isolated Music Score bonus feature.

The BD-50 disc contains more than three hours of bonus materials.  Pretty much all the essentials are covered.  A good bundle of bonus features.  First, you are able to choose between the theatrical and extended cuts of the film.  The extended cut just drags out the slow-moving plot even more.  The first bonus feature is a picture-in-picture commentary track with Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.  This mainly consists of video footage from the other featurettes on the disc.  Carter and Spotnitz's commentary is also available as an audio version.  "Dying 2 Live" by Xzibit is a music slideshow.  The X-Files Complete Timeline is a great resource for those that are not familiar with the television series.  "Trust No One: Can the X-Files Remain a Secret? Is a three-part documentary that contains about one and one half hours of bonus material.  There are five deleted scenes that don't offer any extra.  There is a gag reel, collection of trailers and still galleries as well.  The BD-Live interactive feature: Agent Dakota Whitney Files allows you to examine five complete case files.  The X-Files Dossier BD-Live function allows you to create your own Special Agent avatar and post notes on the Whitney case files.  "Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production" contains a brief interview with Chris Carter.  "Body Parts: Special Makeup Effects" is a featurette that covers the special makeup required for detached body limbs.    There is also a 5.1 Isolated Music Score.  Lastly, there is a Digital Copy of the film on a second disc.

"X-Files: I want to Believe" is a movie that was made solely to satisfy the curiosity of fans.  Unless you are a die-hard fan of the series, you may want to skip this film.  The video and audio are stable but not awe-inspiring.

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