evadne_noel: A man and the cresent moon in a rowboat (Mucha Icon)
[personal profile] evadne_noel
So, if you are looking for this movie to tie up loose ends from the series, explore the ramifications of the last season, or even deal with them in some sort of coherent way, you’re probably going to want to skip this movie. If you’re still a big fan of The X-Files, I would recommend waiting for this to come out on DVD, renting it, and pretending that it’s just a really long episode of the television show. Because that’s pretty much what it is.

As an episode of the TV show, though, it’s not bad. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson still have plenty of chemistry (more on that later), and the plot is pretty good. Callum Keith Rennie (who was occasionally on the TV show because he’s one of the seven Canadian actors who shows up in every show filmed in western Canada ever) plays a Gay, Russian, Serial Killer/Hacker-of-Limbs for Love (henceforth known as GRSKHLL, pronounced Griss-KILL) who abducts an FBI agent and others because they have AB- blood and he needs their organs and various sundry limbs for his husband (they’re married in Massachusetts). The FBI engages a psychic and decides that, since they’re already using unconventional methods, they might as well call off the ten year manhunt for Fox Mulder and invite him along for the trip, too.

Annnnd, this is where things fall apart in the premise. Remember the ratcheted up tension of the last season? How Mulder and Scully were likely to spend their days running and hiding from the very agency they once served? Remember the aliens? And their freaking son?

Well, forget all that. It’s not important, and shame on you for thinking that Chris Carter needed to address it. If he wants Scully to work in a Catholic hospital without even changing her name, and live with Mulder in West Virginia where the FBI knows where they are but can’t be arsed to drive all the way out there to get them (c’mon, it’s like a four hour drive to WV from DC; do you know how much gas costs now?), that’s his right. His incredibly disappointing right.

If you can get over that, you’re golden. Well, almost.

Once you get over the disconnection from the series, the movie’s biggest problem is that the paranormal aspect is shoehorned in and entirely superfluous. GRSKHLL and the limb grafting is sci-fi, but not entirely beyond average suspension of disbelief. It’s less X-Files and more CSI of the near future. So they add a psychic, pedophilic priest (Father Joe) played by Billy Connolly, but in order for his psychic powers to have any bearing on the plot, they have to make everyone else rock stupid.

For example, Father Joe’s psychic powers lead them to the car of a second abduction victim, who had been forced off the road by GRSKHLL. Except that the car has been sitting in plain sight by the side of the road for about 12 hours. I know it’s supposed to be an insolated area, but you expect me to believe that no one drove past the wreck in all that time? Or if someone did, they thought, “Huh, an obviously forced off the road car crashed into a hay bale. That’s nice,” and kept going? If a missing persons report had been put in for the woman, why had no one investigated the crash until our heroes showed up?

Another example of the uselessness of the psychic powers is the end. Scully uses something Father Joe said to her to track down where GRSKHLL and his surgeons are keeping the abducted women and our damsel in distress, Mulder. However, we recently saw Mulder track down this exact same location without the benefit of psychic help. He found his way there because GRSKHLL’s truck broke down, was stranded in the middle of the road, and we never saw anyone go back for it. Considering that Mulder and Scully started their search for GRSKHLL from the same place, why didn’t Scully also find the stranded truck? I mean, Mulder was searching after a car accident, addled, freezing cold and walking. Did the truck fairy come through and remove all evidence of a trail before Scully could get there?

In short, no one needed a psychic in this movie. The most important thing Father Joe accomplishes is testing Scully’s faith in God (because it wouldn’t be X-Files if Scully wasn’t having a crisis of faith). But even that was handily accomplished with a subplot of Scully attempting to treat a boy’s incurable disease in a Catholic hospital that for some reason has decided to allow stem cell therapy. And also forces her to do research on medical procedures using Google.

Onto more important things: namely, Mulder/Scully. Were you a fan? I was, and if you’re like me, you will be simultaneously pleased and disappointed (a pretty good descriptor for the entire movie experience, too). They’re explicitly together, but on the other hand, we skip straight to the troubled marriage part of their relationship. They went from not having sex because they weren’t together, to not having sex because they’re too tired (admittedly, Scully has a right to be tired, as she is Super-Doctor, conducting surgery by day and a murder investigation by night). I feel like we’ve missed out on the exciting parts of their lives (again, a pretty good descriptor for the entire movie). However, Chris Carter does throw shippers a bone (HINT: stay through the credits).

I also enjoyed the parallel partners of Amanda Peet and Xzibit. These two continued the fine X-Files tradition of having a believer and skeptic paired together (with the sexes reversed this time) so they can debate the merits of paranormal phenomenon and be snippy at each other. It was all going quite well, until Amanda Peet was killed off for no reason other than to prove that GRSKHLL is Pointlessly Evil (he had already lost her and Mulder, so there was no reason for him to sneak up behind her and shove her off a building. I guess chopping people up for love just wasn’t evil enough). Xzibit’s character pretty much disappeared after this, as I don’t think the writers had planned out their characters beyond their interaction with each other.

In general, I think that Chris Carter also handled the movie’s themes fairly well. The parallel stories of how far one can and should go to save another’s life run close enough for there to be ambiguity, but far enough away from each other that the line still exists. It also twisted into the ways Scully and Mulder separately and jointly try to save the world. I honestly felt it was well done.

On a final note, I just want to add that the soundtrack is terrible. Seriously, guys, it’s not the 90s anymore. You can’t create a score by letting your cat walk all over the synthesizer keyboard. And they don’t even play the famous theme all the way through. Boo.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-07-31 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurenmitchell.livejournal.com
I was never a shipper (actually, I was a noromo), but I could deal with this level of it because it was just there, not in your face or anything. Loved that credits sequence though. It made me laugh.

I liked the soundtrack and want to buy it.

Other than that, your description of it as an extra-long movie is exactly what I've been telling everyone, and although I'd recommend that people see it at the movies just because I don't go to movies very often and thus if I like something I'll recommend it anyway, I don't think it's one for the hardcore conspiracy/mytharc fans.

Also, how long after the end of season nine was it set? I wasn't quite sure; I may have missed something.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-02 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evadne-noel.livejournal.com
The credit sequence was great. Thank goodness for friends who make me sit through credits.

I see lots and lots of movies, so I guess I'm more sparing with my recommendations. I think the only people I know who want to see it are hardcore fans, and maybe it's not the best movie for them.

I swear I heard someone say it had been ten years, but I'm not positive.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-02 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurenmitchell.livejournal.com
I like sitting through credits precisely because there are often little bits like that.

I checked Wikipedia and, according to that most authoritative resource, it's six years after the finale of season nine.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-02 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evadne-noel.livejournal.com
Six years? Huh, that seems too short.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-02 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurenmitchell.livejournal.com
Yes. For one thing, I think Mulder needed at least ten years to cultivate that beard.

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