Saturday, August 09, 2008

This discovery might make up for my disappointment with the new X-Files movie. Head transplants are not nearly as scary as the Peacock family.

In the years since the X-Files went off the air, Chris Carter seems to have forgotten a few things, namely that the show was based around supernatural phenomena. Many critics have pointed out that the post-9/11 world might not be as open to a show as rooted in distrust of government as the X-Files, but it certainly seems to be open to sci-fi. Lost, Heroes, and my beloved Battlestar Galactica have thrived. Why, then, did Carter decide to create a central mystery for The X-Files: I Want to Believe that wouldn't be out of place on a special Halloween episode of CSI?

When it comes down to it, the story wasn't original. Carter and company essentially remade The Silence of the Lambs with more utilitarian villains. The Russian(I called him Leoben while watching the movie-Callum Keith Rennie might be in danger of type-casting) isn't interested in fashion, he's interested in function, specifically in easy to kidnap female bodies. It's just too bad their heads have to come off before he can let his husband see if they fit. The psychic pedophile priest barely DOES anything, and a side plot about Scully, her ever-conflicted faith, and stem-cell research(clearly written in after Gillian Anderson discovered she was pregnant and couldn't do serious stunts), was distracting and frustrating.

A Catholic hospital would be a great place for a conspiracy. 15 years ago, stem-cell research would probably have sounded like something out of an X-Files episode. Religious zeal and orthodoxy have infected government and science alike in the last eight years; Scully's scientific rigor and Mulder's search for the hidden Truth are heroic for different reasons now than they were during the show's heyday. There were good ideas buried in the script, and I wish that Carter had explored them instead of writing a slightly more gruesome "woman-in-distress" flick.

I'll set aside my attempt to make a serious critique of the film and mention my real frustrations: there were no aliens. None. No aliens, no giant flukeworms, no telekinetic teenagers, no evil inbred recluses, no Cher-loving abominations of science, no prehistoric ice-dwelling rage-parasites, nothing. Many of the stand alone episodes featured memorable creatures, some of which still give me the heebie-jeebies(don't put me in a freshly cut section of forest at dusk. I'll freak out). I wasn't expecting much from the movie, but even my diminished hopes were disappointed. It was good to see Mulder and Scully again, weird as it was to see them acting like a couple, but it felt like a missed opportunity. I know I'll never be able to recapture the feeling I had the first time I saw an episode of the show("E.B.E.," in my basement, with all the lights off, when I was 11), but I'm sure if they make another one, I'll go and hope.

A Postscript: I spent the whole time Rennie was on-screen suppressing the urge to shout, "You'll never create another Starbuck!" Clearly I've found a new show to love obsessively. Once a nerd, always a nerd.

1 comment:

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