Sunday, August 03, 2008
Movie Review: The X-Files: I Want To Believe
Chris Carter throws us another movie installment of X-Files almost 10 years after the TV series finale. Seeing this movie reminded me of how much I missed the TV series. X-Files is credited for a lot of good things. Most of it with good merit. But to me the entire series was essentially about a man's beliefs. And how other people who did not understand him, ridiculed him and systematically worked on withering his will power. The aspect where Fox Mulder thinks and almost internalizes the assumption that everybody else is wrong and goes about his pursuit in a psuedo-rebel way is the most endearing aspect of the TV series. Chris Carter in this movie picks out this aspect and refines it in a cyclical way. There are 3-4 Mulder type characters in this movie. They all want to believe that their pursuit is correct and the way the go about to achieve their target, regardless of the general disagreement around them, is correct.
Scully wants to believe that she can save a patient's life. The Father (priest i.e), who aids the FBI with his visions of murder scenes, wants to believe that he can be forgiven of his pedophile track record. The so-called villains in this movie aren't altogether dark. They have shades of grey just like the Father, Scully, Mulder and everybody else. They believe that their methods are correct. This movie blends these individual beliefs and brings about a cohesive story where the fate of all the characters are intertwined. They don't give up inspite of the persuasion to do the opposite.
Any X-Files fan will vouch that it is a perfect blend of drama genre and sci-fi genre. From the early season shows X-Files was always about drama, human emotions and the way we react to situations instead of special effects, stunts and machine guns. This movie brings out that drama while still giving us a feeling that we are journeying along a paranormal story. It all looks so real. There is not a moment where I thought that I was watching an action flick. The trademark location/time stamps are there. The people behind X-Files seem to love snow, foggy locations and rain. The mood is always dull and he lighting is always dusky. The camera work was phenomenal in the TV series and it continues to be different in the movie. There are some shots which make you wonder how these people conceptualized that shot. The opening scene where a line of FBI agents dig through snow was fantastic. The one where Mulder looks up after getting out of his crashed/pushed-down car is another X-Files special. The creators have a way with snow. It is almost as if snow decided to make itself pretty for them.
I loved this movie. It may not be a great movie but it revives a forgotten genre. While I do like special effects intensive movies, a good drama-based movie like X-Files always looks better in comparison. True suspense and genuine surprise are created by great characters. Mulder is a fantastic character. In this movie there is a more human side to him. His ferocious single-mindedness is tuned down. He is more sarcastic and humorous. And I have to say this- Scully is still sexy. Gillian Anderson is a cult-level sex goddess. I can't believe she is real. The TV series held back on to the Scully-Mulder-in-the-sack situation for a long time. Here the movie blasphemously jumps right into it. Beyond being beautiful (which certainly helps) she is the world's eye into Mulder. She is the anchor through which the viewer comprehends the X-files world. She is shown slightly differently in this movie. She hates the priest from the outset and seems to be the temperamental one here. If one wishes to experience the mood the TV series created, they should watch this movie. Its a sample of this fantastic world.