According to reviews I've seen of the new X-Files movie, fans of the TV series either love it or hate it.
Director and Creator Chris Carter wanted to make a movie that audiences unfamiliar with the television series could enjoy and I think he, with co-writer Frank Spotnitz, succeeded.
Unlike the fourth Indiana Jones movie, which only an Indy fan could enjoy, I Want to Believe (2008) has a stand-alone story while still including a few in jokes for followers of the series.
Billy Connolly as Father Joseph Crissman is one of the creepiest characters in a long line of X-File geeks and perverts. He's a defrocked priest living in a seedy apartment complex for pedophiles. His wild white hair and unkempt chin stubble contribute to his distasteful appearance. Knowing that he "buggered 37 altar boys" adds to the viewer's revulsion every time he's on screen.
The FBI is investigating a series of mysterious disappearances. All the victims are women who have the same rare blood type. "Father Joe" claims to have visions concerning the women in which he sees glimpses of what happened to them. When one of the FBI's own is abducted from her house, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are recruited to help find her before she is killed.
Mulder has no visible means of support but he has never forgiven the FBI for their treatment of him and does not want to get involved. Scully, a medical doctor, is working at a hospital. She persuades Mulder to help by reminding him of his lost sister. For his sister's sake he decides to join the search for the missing woman. Scully, however, wants nothing to do with the investigation, but is dragged into the case because of her attachment to Mulder.
Scully is utterly disgusted by the pedophile priest and reminds him of her contempt for him at every opportunity. She is convinced that his visions are fraudulent and that he knows details of the crimes because he is somehow involved. Mulder believes that the visions are genuine.
Callum Keith Rennie as the chief villain, a Russian dealer in illicitly obtained human organs, is more disgusting than Father Joe. It's his teeth.
The two FBI agents running the investigation, Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) and Agent Mosley Drummy (Alvin Joiner) are in conflict. Whitney believes in Father Joe's visions while Drummy does not. Whitney is the senior officer so she gets to call the shots. Having studied old X-File documents, she's the one who insists on calling in Mulder and she insists on using the visionary priest.
The special effects are not extravagant, but are satisfyingly unsettling and in keeping with the story.
Scully, a lapsed Catholic who wears a cross, is especially conflicted by the disgusting priest, but in the end believes enough in his visions to base a serious medical decision on something he says to her while experiencing a revelation.
This X-Files fan was pleased with the Mulder/Scully relationship as depicted in the movie. And I have to confess that I was so delighted to see Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) appear for a cameo towards the end of the action that I had to clap.
You may or may not be pleased by this latest X-Files movie, but if you enjoyed the series, you need to give it a chance.
And if like me you are one to stay in your seat until the last credit has rolled, you're in for a surprise treat.