Wednesday 15 December 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - X (The X-Files: I Want To Believe)

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W


Director: Chris Carter
Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly

Synopsis via IMDB: Mulder and Scully are called back to duty by the FBI when a former priest claims to be receiving psychic visions pertaining to a kidnapped agent.

Upfront, I'm going to be entirely honest and say that I have next to no knowledge of The X Files. It seems like the kind of thing I'd probably dig, and my dad is a fan and used to watch it when we were younger, but I just never got into it. I don't really know why. However, I was reliably informed by a few people that The X Files: I Want To Believe did not require an in-depth knowledge of the story beyond "David Duchovny is Mulder, and Gillian Anderson is Scully". Given how often they address each other by surname, I don't even know that I'd have needed that going in.

I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who *was* a big fan of The X Files based on the little bits of information I have gleaned. I imagined them sitting down to this movie, all excited after a few years without a franchise entry, and coming out of it going "Wow, with one exception that was a bit by the numbers as crime dramas go, except Mulder and Scully were also there." I say this because I came out of it going "Wow, with one exception that was a bit by the numbers as crime dramas go." I assume the rest is self-explanatory.

Here's the thing. I didn't think it was by any means a bad movie. It's well paced, tells an engaging story and the performances are all fine. I get the feeling there's a *bit* of character development for fans of the infamous duo, but I can't imagine it stretches their characters beyond the realms of all that is holy about the previous canon, so it can't be judged excessively offensive on that level. I spotted one moment where I found myself going "Presumably that was for the longtime fans", but otherwise I was able to follow the plot with zero problem. I think that speaks to its credit, rather than as a detriment, because personally I feel like franchise entries that would be completely impenetrable to the casual viewer could potentially be using that canonical bombardment as a cover for not being well executed.

Having said that, I can only think of examples of good canonical movies and shows that *don't* rely exclusively on fan service, which sort of feels like vindicaton of my point but in reverse. If that makes sense.

Anyway, if you're a fan of crime dramas, don't let the fact that this is a branded endeavour put you off. It's worth a watch.

I can get this done. I've managed to have a brainwave regarding Y, and Z has been locked in for a couple of weeks (provided the Netflix movie removal dates are kind). X proved to be a worthwhile endeavour as I quite enjoyed the movie once you factor in the above critiques. What more can I ask for, really?

I can complete the letters this side of New Year. Not only do I want to believe, I believe.

Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're a few weeks in and might have to double up to get up to speed, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

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