X-Files: I Want to Believe
The X-Files returns to Vancouver in the first of a series of upcoming postscripts to the hugely popular sci-fi series. CJSF volunteer, Dylan Mulvin, attended the midnight screening to review it, and revel... X-Files Two stories were told at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver on Wednesday night. As part of a growing tradition of original screenings, the Rio paired a midnight screening of the new X-Files film, I Want to Believe, with a presentation by Miriam Delicado, a local alien abduction survivor. If there was one surprising contrast in the two stories of the night it was in Ms. Delicado's emphasis on the importance of free will with the heavy-handed struggle of faith in the X-Files. The last X-Files film, 1998's Fight for the Future, is a sweeping, series-changing blockbuster that ends with giant alien saucers (seemingly borrowed from the set of Independence Day) leaving the series' protagonists, Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, alone in Antarctica. If the 1998 iteration suffers from biting off too much I Want to Believe chews too long. The mystery in the film is secondary to the struggle between Scully and Mulder (who are now live-in partners, both having left the FBI) to cope with their new lives. But while Mulder tries to cope with his own want to believe, the force of now long-entrenched cynicism creeps in. Scully's internal battle is more wrought and significantly less interesting for the casual fan. Her complex faith in God once grounded her skepticism of the x-files themselves. Now that same faith merely prevents her from going down the rabbit hole once more. One review before the release of the film aptly sums up the film's appeal: the best X-Files episodes were not about aliens (slate.com). But what made the run-of-the-mill episodes good and what carried the show for much of its run was the relationship between the agents. With Scully unwilling to cross the threshold and embrace the mystery of the x-files, we're left with an incomplete meditation on the difference between faith and a more simple need for belief in something. The film succeeds where Fight did not, as an elongated episode fit for the show's long run. But without the weekly serial, the separating out of the two characters' struggles makes conflict where co-operative conspiracy sleuthing would have been more satisfying. Perhaps the title was more apt than intended. Long-gone from our television watching lives we want to believe in these characters. Problem is, we sort of need them to believe too.