The X-Files: I Want To Believe - ** 3/4

The Star Trek: The Next Generation movies have, for the most part, been crap. The first one wasn't too horrible, as a simple transition between the old movies and the new ones; but numbers two and four were about as bad as could be imagined. Looking back at these movies, the big mistake seems to have been trying to be bigger than the source material - trying to make "epic" stories out of a medium that supported either 43 minute episodes, or 22-episode seasons. But the third TNG movie - Insurrection - was watchable, interesting, and kindof silly, but most importantly it was an episode. There were some cute bits, and the plot advanced in ways that never happened in the show, but at its core it was just a double-length episode of a popular, and long-off-the-air, television series.

I offer this as a review of X-Files: I Want To Believe because of one similarity: this movie was also just an extra-length episode. But there's nothing wrong with that for fans, like myself.

X-Files 2 is creepy, silly, and just a bit ludicrous. The plot is sortof supernatural, but not really - there's a psychic but he isn't really the point of the exercise, and there's some medical stuff going on that's a bit out there but is vaguely plausible. Mulder and Scully's relationship is odd and compelling, as are their relationships with the FBI and the medical industry (respectively). And all of this really has the feel of the show, of just being a few years down the path of the creepy, silly, supernatural, medical, FBI drama that feels like a product of the 90s.

So, it's an episode. But it really is a big one, not so much because of the plot (which advances things, but has nothing to do with the "Mythology" of the black oil, the bees, Big Scary Guy, etc), but because of the reminder that Mulder and Scully's relationship changed a few years back. It wasn't surprising to see the two of them still hanging out; it was surprising to see the two of them in bed, and realize that this makes perfect sense based on that last episode. That relationship seemed different, and interesting, and something that couldn't have been done well in the show. That makes it big in my book.

I didn't expect much going into the movie, besides being something that the crowds didn't want to see (and given that there were seven people in the theatre including me, experience seems to be bearing that out). But I came out happy to have seen the movie, and a little bit encouraged to go and watch the show again, too.

** 3/4