The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008) - Ultimate X-Phile Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Mystery / Science Fiction
Fox || PG13 - 108 minutes - $39.99 || December 2, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-12-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Chris Carter
Writer(s): Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter (written by)
Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connelly, Xzibit


Theatrical Release Date: July 25, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Theatrical Version and Extended Cut
  • BONUSVIEW: PiP Commentary (BD Exclusive)
  • The X-Files Complete Timeline (BD Exclusive)
  • In-Movie Features (BD Exclusive)
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • "Trust No One: Can the X-Files Remain a Secret?" Documentary
  • Chris Carter: Statements on a Green Production
  • Body Parts: Special Makeup Effects
  • Gag Reel
  • Music Video
  • Still Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese

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.::THE FILM::.

Chris Carter’s once popular TV series “The X-Files” finally gets a movie sequel after 10 years following Fight the Future (6 years since the series ended). Unfortunately based upon some less-than-stellar box office results, it was probably 7 years too late. Of course, despite how much some crap makes in America, we do have a sixth sense when we see a stinker and well, The X-Files: I Want to Believe was pretty close.

This film plays more like a subpar episode than a feature, and really, there isn’t much here that works. The first 30-40 minutes are bland and boring with little momentum propelling the story and when the puzzle begins to come together, you could care less because it’s just not a very interesting plot. I wonder if Chris Carter felt that if he were to get Mulder and Scully together that that would be enough, to hell with a story. But even the once fantastic dynamic duo was M.I.A. (figuratively). That spark I remember seeing on the TV series and that 1998 feature was gone. Combine that with a story you can see any week on “Eleventh Hour”, and you have a movie that fails to ignite anything from beginning and fizzles by the end.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe revolves the kidnapping of a federal agent. The two lead agents, Whitney (Peet) and Drummy (Xzibit), get help in finding the agent from Father Joseph Crissman (Connolly), a convicted child molester and a supposed psychic who has visions of the crime. Because of the unusual nature of the case, Whitney wants help from “fugitive” ex-agent Fox Mulder (Duchovny). I say “fugitive” because the Feds, even though they know where he is, have no interest in capturing him; they just want him out of their hair. I also should mention that Scully too is no longer an agent and is now a doctor. When the movie begins she is handling the care of a child who has a terminal illness. For the X-Philes, Mulder and Scully are together at last.

But I digress, after some meandering and useless dialogue/plot-points; it is questioned whether Crissman has real psychic abilities or if he perhaps is involved. If that weren’t enough, more women are being kidnapped and body parts are being found, by Crissman in ice. This leads to the ultimate discover of what really is going on... and sadly it sinks the film further down than it already was.

I Want to Believe was the movie “X-Files” had been waiting for but instead of getting something connected with the excellent mythos and government cover-ups, the movie is more of a freak of the week plot rather than grandeur-scale like we saw in Fight the Future.

The film fails on almost every conceivable level:

1. The aforementioned plot that, while probably consistent with a substandard “X-Files” episode, did not take advantage of the scale of a feature film.

2. Co-writer/Director Chris Carter provides absolutely no momentum thanks to said story and characters we could, oddly enough, care less about. How is it possible that I did not care about the well-being of Scully and/or Mulder? And if didn’t care about the stars, then how disposable were Whitney and Drummy? Speaking of which, apparently Carter has a name book or something and pulled that one out of the hat...

3. Back to the story, I couldn’t get involved with a TV-series adaptation that relied so much on government conspiracy and completely left that off... I mean, it’d be like a studio stripping everything that made a James Bond movie awesome, spitting out a generic action, Bourne-copycat, flick; and we know THAT would never happen.

4. While I admire certain parts of Gillian Anderson’s performance, it’s the team effort of Anderson and Duchovny that made “The X-Files” what it was (along with a strong mythos), but that chemistry was missing in this endeavor. Even a well timed kissing scene, put in only for fans, wasn’t very satisfying.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe isn’t a bad movie but given how long they’ve been trying to get this off the ground, I’m surprised this is the best Carter and company could come up with. This was not a feature film worthy story – more appropriate for a TV movie maybe – though I guess some fans will appreciate just seeing Mulder and Scully again, even if they weren’t at their best.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe comes to HD in a 2-disc single-wide Blu-ray case that matches the recently released Fight the Future Blu-ray.

First up, the Blu-ray has the theatrical version and extended cut. I watched the extended one so I can’t tell you exactly what was added, but looking online, there were a few scenes/shots added back in. Some of the stuff added in probably would’ve nabbed the movie an R rating. The other addition was digital photos superimposed over the end credits. FYI: the extended cut runs about 3:40 longer...

In-Movie Features is a quick way to watch various features available on the disc separately. How it works is while watching the movie you use the colored buttons on your remote to access these features when they pop up for certain scenes. It’s pretty similar to Universal’s “U-Control”. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

BD-Live (2.0 Profile) – There’s an interactive community game you can play with clues laid out by Chris Carter. When the disc (finally) loads, you’ll get the message and clue concerning something about Agent Drummy. I didn’t bother trying given my disinterest in the movie and the character. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

BONUSVIEW: Picture-in-Picture Commentary (1.1/2.0 Profile) features co-writer/producer/director Chris Carter and co-writer/producer Frank Spotnitz. The track contains plenty of info about the movie itself and their thought process on certain elements of the story and casting. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Feature Commentary is the same as the PiP, just the audio version.

Deleted Scenes (5:53; HD) – Given this release contains two versions, there are only three scenes included, none of which were all too impressive but still fun to watch.

“Trust No One: Can the X-Files Remain a Secret?” (86:00; HD) is an all-inclusive ‘making-of’ documentary (split into three parts) that takes the viewer on the journey of making the movie. The funniest thing, given the box office disappointment, was the time/energy spent to keep the script a secret not even giving the cast their own copies. Beyond that, there is a ton of behind-the-scenes footage with plenty of interviews with the cast and crew about their experiences. There is also some coverage from Comic-Con International with Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (during which the fan base fever was overestimated). The doc wraps up with post-production footage (music, sound, visual effects, editing and scoring).

Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production (6:16; HD) – Carter explains what part he did in making the film using green products like hybrid cars. Not sure if this was necessary, but whatever.

Body Parts: Special Make-up Effects (8:12) is a basic featurette on how some of the bodies were made and trying to get the texture just right and in line with reality.

Gag Reel (9:49; HD) has plenty of line flubs, birds interrupting filming and all that good stuff. Actually this was pretty fun to watch even if it’s usually the same old thing everytime.

The X-Files Complete Timeline is a cool little feature for fans to look back at the history of the show from season to season and both movies. This includes still photos along with clips from certain episodes/movies. You can explore characters and even the pre-history. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Agent Dakota Whitney’s Files is fairly dumb where you can go through her files and see some of the characters not only features in I Want to Believe but a few from the series as well. You won’t be missing much skipping it. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Finally there are some still galleries, trailers (HD), music video (4:03; HD) from Xzibit and a digital copy on disc two.

Note: The back of the case says there is a “Visual Effects Featurette”, which I could not find. However, some of it is covered in the documentary.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

This is not an eye-popping video experience. Fox presents I Want to Believe on a 50GB Dual Layered disc (AVC video codec), in its OAR of 2.40, and the picture is good, but not great. Black levels did seem fine but something about the colors were off, though this is a dark film so I assume this is what the director intended.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a nice track. The movie is pretty dialogue heavy with some emphasis placed on Mark Snow’s score and occasional “X-Files” theme, especially a remixed version at the end. It may not be demo worthy, but it’s serviceable.



.::OVERALL::.

Despite a less-than-satisfying movie, this Blu-ray disc delivers some great features, especially the 86-minute documentary. Although it may not be one of the best ‘making-of’ docs I’ve seen, it is still well worth watching. Also a nice bonus is the PiP commentary and the extended cut of the film.