Friday, July 25, 2008


The world writes an open letter to John McCain.



Double guest passes to a 10:00pm preview for The X-Files: I Want To Believe showed up at Happy Harbor last night at around 8:30. After much hemming and hawing, my penny-pinching side won out over my lethargic one, and T and I went to see the film.

I’m guessing/hoping for Chris Carter’s sake that everywhere that got passes in the city got them an hour and a half before the film, like we did, because there were fewer people in the theatre last night than there were for the preview of Rainn Wilson’s by-the-numbers, obviously written for Owen Wilson comedy Rocker on Monday.

The film is a bit of a mixed bag. On balance, I think I liked it, but I would’ve liked it considerably less if I’d paid for it. A few reviewers have noted that it plays like an extended episode of the television show, and this is true. What’s weird is that it plays like a random episode of the TV show, rather than one of the mythology-building alien conspiracy episodes. Which is fine when you’ve got to do 22 hours a year, but when you’re doing, what, maybe two hours every couple of years (being charitable/optimistic and assuming that they’ll get more X-Files films made, something I’m not even sure the creators believe, given the ending that’s unspooled under the final credits, as literal a goodbye to viewers as any I’ve seen since the finale of MASH)? I think you need to build up the brand a bit more than simply shoehorning the two main characters (and a favourite supporting character, eventually) in to a creepy mystery/suspense story, at least in a re-introductory story like this one.

Now, in fairness, the creepy mystery/suspense story did have legitimately creepy and on occasion even suspenseful elements (if cruelty to animals disturbs you, this will not be your cup of tea). And, as an old fan of the series, there was a bit of a nostalgic thrill in seeing the characters interact again--especially Duchovny, who brought just a little bit of the energy he’s got in Californication to this incarnation of Fox Mulder.

But, outside the Hollywood economics of having recognizable leading actors in a pre-established franchise, there’s absolutely no reason this had to be an X-Files film. I’m almost inclined to think it didn’t need to be a film at all--if Duchovny and Anderson careers are enough on the downswing, the franchise is almost ideal for experimenting with direct to DVD or internet to DVD productions.

My understanding is that the film was made for a relatively small budget, so economically, it doesn’t need to win its opening weekend to make money and possibly justify (for the bean-counters) further films. Which is lucky for it, because judging from the still-completely-sold out Dark Knight screenings happening in four of the other theatres at the multiplex we were at, it’s going to get annihilated. I kind of hope it does get another shot, somewhere along the line--and I hope this time they actually resolve the alien conspiracy plotline in a way that makes more sense than I recall the series finale doing.

Speaking of The Dark Knight: still haven’t seen it. Maybe next week at a matinee. Maybe the week after that. Neither T nor I have the stomach for crowds at the moment, and only free passes seem to be enough to get us to brave facing the public at the moment.


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