In which Gerry Hayes wants to believe it can be better than this…
The X Files: I Want To Believe, 2008.
Directed by Chris Carter.
Written by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.
Starring David Duchovny, the lovely Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, X to the Z.
Full disclosure: In common with many men who were fans of the X Files television series, I had a crush on Gillian Anderson. I’m not certain why – perhaps it’s that whole ‘thinking man’s crumpet’ thing or perhaps it was the rather spiffy white tights that she wore in some early episodes. Who knows. Incidentally, wives and girlfriends of men who had crushes on Gillian Anderson were even more confused by these crushes than their partners themselves. This made the whole thing even more delicious.
Now that’s out of the way you should note: there will be spoilers.
Really big spoilers. Right now, in fact.
Head transplants? Frickin’ head transplants? Gimme a break. What? Head transplants? Yeah, I’m getting ahead of myself but, I mean, head transplants?
I was a fan of the X Files up until about season five when it started to get too much like hard work. It was all too confusing. Stuff with Mulder’s dad and Mulder’s mum and Scully’s baby and Harley Davidson and The Marlboro Man and that bloke with the rubber arm who liked tea. Trying to keep up smacked of effort and I drifted away. 1998’s X Files film did little but top up my Anderson crush and bewilder me further with its talk of bees and alien swine flu and whatnot.
The X Files: I Want To Believe, on the other hand isn’t confusing, at least in the same sense. It’s a pretty self-contained film without too much reference to all of the craziness of the series or previous movie.
Anderson is older but still looking well. Duchovny is older. Despite no longer working for the FBI, they’re helping the FBI investigate the abduction of an FBI agent. Also helping is a psychic – Billy Connolly plays a paedophile priest (was it too unrealistic to feature a priest who wasn’t?) who has visions about the crime. Mulder laps it up and, as usual, Scully gets all tetchy about paranormal powers while utterly failing to apply her sceptical eye to her belief in her own invisible friend, God.
Billy, or Father Joe, leads them, mysteriously and paranormally, in their search. He finds a bundle of arms and legs in the snow but no missing FBI Agent. The search continues and things meander about inoffensively enough with some scruffy Russians, Mulder and Scully getting it on (to the collective sighs of relationship-fiction losers around the world) and some cryptic visions from Father Joe – he even cries magic tears of blood at one stage. Or possibly pokes himself in the eyes – it’s not completely clear.
If you can suspend your disbelief sufficiently, it’s all fairly enjoyable…
Right up to the point where even an X Files fan finds the belief-suspension hard to maintain and the whole house of crackers crumbles to broken crumbs of disappointment.
Head transplants? That’s what it was all about? Oh for the love of- Head transplants? Really?
Really. Some ugly Russian blokes head sown, rather poorly, to the female FBI agent’s body.
Now of course, transplanting my head to a lovely lady’s body is something I’ve thought about from time to time myself – what man hasn’t. But seriously? That’s it? Girls being abducted so the Russian bloke can have his head popped on their bodies? Why Chris Carter, why? I liked the series – I can buy the little alien blokes that only show up when Scully’s looking the other way. I can buy that crap-monster that lived in the sewers but this?
Read more I Sat Through That? right here.
Gerry Hayes is a garret-dwelling writer subsisting on tea, beer and Flame-Grilled Steak flavour McCoy’s crisps. You can read about other stuff he doesn’t like on his blog at http://stareintospace.com or you can have easy, bite-sized bits of him at http://twitter.com/gerryhayes