Saturday, July 26, 2008

X-Files 2: I Wanted to Believe

I just got back from seeing X-Files 2 (another one with a fuddy duddy title) and, well... It reminds me a lot of Star Trek IX: Insurrection in that "it's not really a movie... it's like seeing a two hour episode of the old show" way.

Yet, I think that the writing on the old "X-Files" TV show was a lot stronger than that of X-Files 2. The movie won't stand up for any post-film scrutiny and, really, it even falls apart while it's being viewed. For example, the B-Story has Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson, like you didn't know) pursuing various treatment options for a patient at the Catholic hospital where she now works. The kid's name? "Christian," of course. How's that for a metaphor about Scully working to save her faith? In a word, unsubtle. That the Catholic hospital allows her to pursue stem cell therapy on the kid seems a stretch. That she fucking Googled about the procedure a few hours before doing it herself is unnerving. "Dr. Scully, I didn't know that you were a brain surgeon!"

"I'm not, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

For the more literal minded in the audience, that quote wasn't actually in the movie but what I was saying to myself as I watched Scully perform this radical surgery. Did I mention that she was Googling about it just a few hours before? Of course, this helps break the case later in the film but we don't have to mention that, do we? That's just one of many coincidences that builds this house of cards.

Scully is away in the B-Story so much that the film reminds me of those episodes where Mulder and Scully were separated (like "Never Again") and only talk via phone. Yet, this time they don't talk via the phone much. Scully doesn't pick hers up (allowing Mulder to give some exposition) and Mulder loses his (allowing him to be put into peril).

As long as you don't think too much about this movie, it might be okay but it's definitely not the taut storyline to which fans of the show are used. There's no overarching tie to the show's major themes, only one appearance from another past cast member, and absolutely no characterization from the two other FBI agents that call Mulder and Scully back into action.

The only other thing I can say about X-Files 2 is that it really made me realize just how much I'd stopped watching the TV series. Looking back, I think I tuned out around the sixth or seventh season; perhaps prior to Mudler and Scully's "Moonlighting Moment" or maybe I just put that out of my head.


Anonymous said...

I felt exactly the same way! In fact, when I got home from the movie, I went to sleep, woke up, and couldn't do another thing before I blogged about how irritating that Googling nonsense was. I mean... wtf. It made me really sad that Chris Carter would allow something like this to go on. Also, I, too, stopped watching the series shortly before it ended. Not sure exactly when, but it was a little after the first movie came out -- sometime after then, the show became sitcom-ish and a huge let-down. /sigh You'd think maybe, ten years later, Chris Carter would return to what had made The X-Files so good. :(

Robert H. said...

It was written by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, who wrote the last movie... and who wrote a good part of the last two seasons, which sucked.

How could anyone really think that this was going to be good?

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