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The X-Files: I Want to Believe


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Guest ZeusFaber
Just want to put my 2 cents in about this movie. I thought it would have made a great Millennium tv episode but as a movie it was really a dumb idea. A comeback movie for this series needed to be big in scope , and mythology based.

I think you're wrong there. A mythology movie would have been completely the wrong move in every possible sense. On the contrary, it needed to be standalone in nature in order to make sense to both new and forgetful audiences. While I Want to Believe may lack explosions and big CGI set pieces, the one thing it has in abundance is intelligence.

Those last 2 seasons I liked , as I am a nut for the X-Files but most people thought those last 2 seasons stunk.

I don't think that's necessarily true. There's a highly vocal contingent on the internet with a lot of hatred to spread, but no evidence whatsoever to suggest that "most people" are of that opinion.

That he would agree to stop running Millennium so that he could run that new abomination Harsh Realm really enraged me.

No such agreement ever took place. Harsh Realm went into development the season after Millennium was cancelled by the network, and over two years since Carter stopped showrunning it.

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Guest Laurent.

I'll take this opportunity to discuss something that annoys me a bit, which is people saying that I Want to Believe didn't deserve to be on the big screen, or that it would have been a good two-part episode but that it doesn't work as a movie.

From my point of view, these people must take hollywoodian blockbusters movie as the definition of cinema, because I Want to Believe certainly had more scope and content than some other horror movies (or any genres for that matter) that get produced. As I see it, if a movie as enough substance (visually, conceptually or intellectually) to justify the 2 hours, I think it deserves its place. I Want to Believe had more content than any X-Files episode and used the bigger budget to give us a much more beautiful view into the dark world of The X-Files.

And about the television/cinema distinction; I think that the only major difference between the two format is in the storytelling pace required by the medium. A television series needs to keep viewers interested in blocks of 10 or 15 minutes between commercials, which mean that the story as to move forward during this period. Feature length movies on the other hand can take their time to develop the story or characters before giving any action to the viewer, which is its big advantage versus tv. So from that definition, I Want to Believe certainly belongs on the big screen rather than on our television sets! It's written in a slow and subtle way that wouldn't quite work on the small screen.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I think you're wrong there. A mythology movie would have been completely the wrong move in every possible sense. On the contrary, it needed to be standalone in nature in order to make sense to both new and forgetful audiences. While I Want to Believe may lack explosions and big CGI set pieces, the one thing it has in abundance is intelligence.

I don't think that's necessarily true. There's a highly vocal contingent on the internet with a lot of hatred to spread, but no evidence whatsoever to suggest that "most people" are of that opinion.

No such agreement ever took place. Harsh Realm went into development the season after Millennium was cancelled by the network, and over two years since Carter stopped showrunning it.

Say what you want but the box office speaks for itself. The movie was a complete bomb as far as box office goes. This movie may have killed the franchise. If your going to put out a small budget movie and not have it be a sort of ending to the mythology part of the show ( which IMHO would bring in a lot of X-Files fans ) then you better not release it during the time of year where every big movie is released. Those trailers were sleep inducing , I talked about this movie on a dozen or more forums and I found 2 things on all of them. No one was talking about the movie and anyone who did say the trailers were a bore. I liked the movie but be honest , this was a tv episode shown on the big screen. Almost every season had a 2 part episode that was way more interesting then what they threw up there on the big screen.

Hey I am a huge millennium fan and also obviously the X-Files so don't think it didn't kill me to see this movie fail. I just was disappointed that they didn't see it would get killed in the time frame where it was released especially with it being a small scale standalone. I wonder how the dvd is doing? And the reason why I said I was mad about Harsh Realm was I read an interview a long time ago that seemed to indicate that Carter was ok with Millennium being canceled because he was more interested in his new project. I can't seem to find that interview anymore but I do remember reading that. Hey maybe I will try and watch that show now since a lot of you seem to like it. FYI Harsh Realm basically did replace Millennium , it came on the air when the next season of Millennium was supposed to start ( October of 1999 is when it first aired whilst Millennium's last episode was in may of that year )...it basically replaced Millennium though the blame is mostly on FOX not on Carter ( I still think Carter was ok with this since he had more interest in his new show ).

Edited by Lutheran122
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Guest Anephric

From an older blog post I had made:

Long story short - The X-Files: I Want To Believe gets everything right what The Dark Knight got wrong.

2008 is turning into the year where I'm starting to think the problem isn't Hollywood making bad movies but Hollywood having stupid audiences. For the nihilistic, "damned if you do, damned if you don't" popular morality blather that is the new Batman movie, the new X-Files movie will fail in every possible way. No one is shot, no one is dead-then-alive only for someone else to be dead instead, there is no pastiche of a superior film in attempts to glob another movie's ideas. There is no overblown nonsense of Oscar nominations. There is little preconceived notions about the film and the ones that are are thrown out the door after the first two thirds. The plot's reveal is a good one in that you don't see it coming.

I won't go into the "monster of the week" format - since it isn't there. In fact, there is no monster - and not in the overplayed "humanity is the real monster!" copout or its variations. The "monster" takes a backseat (perhaps too far back) from the rest of the story, revolving around a missing FBI Agent and a local woman. Mulder (complete with crazy man beard) is eventually pulled back into the investigation world by his former partner Scully (who looks great, even though she looks like she could stand to sleep more). Billy Connolly plays a role of a priest with a very dirty background; his part is part-paranormal, part moral center of the film. And in the end, the movie leaves you to ask you where you stand, instead of telling you what to think (which was really the most insulting element of TDK).

Its not a perfect mix - somewhere around the middle it lags and Amanda Peet is simply not convincing in the role. There could have been one more chase and a little less criminal justice science just to give it a little more punch but thats a small misgiving considering the end result.

Its a slowly paced character drama, reminding us that a movie without good characters and a good message is not worth seeing. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that as far as summer blockbusters go - the morality in this is almost reaffirming of something greater than I can describe here. Its not a concrete feeling or a specific moral quandary solved - its simply a lot of good questions and a lot of ernest hope for the future. But being you and I are in this world where people pay to have their intelligence and morals trampled on so long as they can agree that someone dead deserves an acting award as a consolation prize - this film will not be popular, not even for its fanbase. I would go as far to say that the movie is in many ways the movie everyone says they want to see, but end up actively avoiding. After all, how dare we have hope in each other when we can bury ourselves in self-actualizing narcissism.

Chris Carter directs (Frohike is first assisstant director!) what is essentially the biggest valentine of a movie a fan can hope for. If there is no other X-Files movies to follow, he went out on the best note possible and for a man whom I've derided for years as losing track of what made the show great in the beginning, has reaffirmed my faith in him as a writer.

I originally hesitated at the subtitle to the movie. It had long been established as one of the show's catchphrases - but as a movie title, it didn't quite roll around in your mouth. But I wouldn't change it for anything because it really gets the whole idea down pat - I want to *believe*.

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Guest Laurent.
Chris Carter directs (Frohike is first assistant director!) what is essentially the biggest valentine of a movie a fan can hope for. If there is no other X-Files movies to follow, he went out on the best note possible and for a man whom I've derided for years as losing track of what made the show great in the beginning, has reaffirmed my faith in him as a writer.

That's nice to hear.

I completely share your opinion about the new X-Files movie.

The most negative aspects of IWTB are not even related with the quality of the movie; the marketing, the release date, the box-office. It would be a shame if we never get a third movie because of those, but I guess that's why they put the "business" in "show-business"... :death:

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Guest ZeusFaber
Say what you want but the box office speaks for itself. The movie was a complete bomb as far as box office goes. This movie may have killed the franchise. If your going to put out a small budget movie and not have it be a sort of ending to the mythology part of the show ( which IMHO would bring in a lot of X-Files fans ) then you better not release it during the time of year where every big movie is released.

I know precisely how much money it took at the box office. I never claimed it was a financial success, but your assertion that a mythology story would have made more profit has no real logic to it. With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to say that anything different would have made more money, but that simply makes no sense and has no basis in reason. You say that a mythology movie would bring in more long-term fans, but what you have to understand is that those people make up the minority of the cinema-going audience, while the outsiders who have limited or no knowledge of the series continuity make up the majority of the cinema-going audience. Therefore, to maximize your appeal, you have to target that majority group -- it makes no fiscal sense to target the minority group.

As for the budget and the release date, I agree with you that neither were ideal. But both of those decisions were entirely down to the studio, and the makers of the movie had absolutely no say in it whatsoever. The studio forced I Want to Believe into a summer premiere in the shadow of The Dark Knight because they had no other viable products to bring out because of the knock-on effect of the writers' strike to other productions. Blame 20th Century Fox for that, no one else.

Those trailers were sleep inducing , I talked about this movie on a dozen or more forums and I found 2 things on all of them. No one was talking about the movie and anyone who did say the trailers were a bore.

I completely disagree. The trailers were excellent, very well constructed, and very excited. I'm sorry the internet forums you visited didn't respond favourably, but here and at the official forum, there was an awful lot of excitement. They were also met with resounding cheers from a packed WonderCon and Paley event. So if you think you speak for everyone, think again.

I liked the movie but be honest , this was a tv episode shown on the big screen. Almost every season had a 2 part episode that was way more interesting then what they threw up there on the big screen.

No, I wont agree with that. I wouldn't say that it was superior to everything and anything seen in the series, by no means, but I Want to Believe was eminently cinematic. The sweeping cinematography, the mature pace, the picture-perfect landscapes, the narrative structure -- all were befitting of a feature. If you were to project one of the old TV two-parters onto the big screen, with its inferior film stock, tighter framing and commercial television structure, the difference would be very noticeable. Don't confuse an intimate atmosphere and a grounded scope with being uncinematic.

And the reason why I said I was mad about Harsh Realm was I read an interview a long time ago that seemed to indicate that Carter was ok with Millennium being canceled because he was more interested in his new project. I can't seem to find that interview anymore but I do remember reading that. Hey maybe I will try and watch that show now since a lot of you seem to like it. FYI Harsh Realm basically did replace Millennium , it came on the air when the next season of Millennium was supposed to start ( October of 1999 is when it first aired whilst Millennium's last episode was in may of that year )...it basically replaced Millennium

I'm perfectly aware of when Harsh Realm was scheduled. It inherited Millennium's time slot -- it did not replace it. Millennium was cancelled because the network thought they could stand to do better numbers with something new. Perfectly normal practice in television, happens all the time. Harsh Realm taking the new slot on FOX's Fall schedule was a consolation prize, it wasn't usurping Millennium.

The suggestion that Chris Carter sat down with the network and asked them to cancel Millennium in favour of Harsh Realm is absurd. Carter had no say in such matters, he got what he was given by FOX. The executives decide what they pick up and what they cancel, and they decide when to schedule the shows on their lineup. They hold all the cards, they can do whatever they want. Even if the suits were in a mood to listen and Carter was given a free choice, we needn't doubt for a second that he'd have Millennium running as well as Harsh Realm, not instead of.

But Millennium was gone. The axe had fallen. It could have been anything that succeeded it on the Fall schedule, Fridays at 9. Something new was going to get that slot no matter what, it was just a consolation for Ten Thirteen (and for fans) that it happened to be Harsh Realm. I'm not privy to the details of Carter's contract with Fox Television at the time, but it's standard practice for bankable producers like him to have development deals that tie their next X number of projects to the studio, and Harsh Realm would have been one of them. If he had not been big enough to have such a deal, then it would have been some other show that ended up inheriting the slot on FOX's Fall schedule on Fridays at 9. Millennium would not have been renewed for a fourth season no matter whether Harsh Realm existed or not. Of course, Carter wasn't bitter about the cancellation because he had this consolation, plus he's a gentleman and never outspoken, smart enough to know what to say and what not to say in public if you value your career. That's why he would have been sanguine about the whole thing and is probably what you read in this interview. It's not because he valued Harsh Realm above Millennium, or sacrificed one for the other.

He did not encourage Millennium's cancellation in any way, shape or form. Let's be clear about that.

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Guest Laurent.
I wouldn't say that it was superior to everything and anything seen in the series, by no means, but I Want to Believe was eminently cinematic. The sweeping cinematography, the mature pace, the picture-perfect landscapes, the narrative structure -- all were befitting of a feature. If you were to project one of the old TV two-parters onto the big screen, with its inferior film stock, tighter framing and commercial television structure, the difference would be very noticeable. Don't confuse an intimate atmosphere and a grounded scope with being uncinematic.

That's well said...

I remember saying something similar in a much less eloquent manner somewhere on this board... wait a minute, it's in this thread, in this very page! We're discussing in circles here:

From my point of view, these people must take hollywoodian blockbusters movie as the definition of cinema, because I Want to Believe certainly had more scope and content than some other horror movies (or any genres for that matter) that get produced. As I see it, if a movie as enough substance (visually, conceptually or intellectually) to justify the 2 hours, I think it deserves its place. I Want to Believe had more content than any X-Files episode and used the bigger budget to give us a much more beautiful view into the dark world of The X-Files.

And about the television/cinema distinction; I think that the only major difference between the two format is in the storytelling pace required by the medium. A television series needs to keep viewers interested in blocks of 10 or 15 minutes between commercials, which mean that the story as to move forward during this period. Feature length movies on the other hand can take their time to develop the story or characters before giving any action to the viewer, which is its big advantage versus tv. So from that definition, I Want to Believe certainly belongs on the big screen rather than on our television sets! It's written in a slow and subtle way that wouldn't quite work on the small screen.

So I think it's pretty clear that I completely agree with Zeus (love that nickname, feel like I'm talking with Jupiter himself) on this matter. I also enjoyed the trailers. They reminded me a lot of the old X-Files commercial, and I certainly thought that we were going to get an old fashioned X-Files ride. That definitely got me excited for the movie. I like trailers that leave a lot to be desired, because you can expect anything. For example, the trailer they are currently showing over here for Coraline is awesome, because you know something magical is going to happen, but I haven't a clue as to what it is (talking like Father Joe here).

But lastly, I understand that it's hard for Lutheran to express his point of view because there are a few members here who really enjoyed the movie and are eager to discuss, so opposite opinion may be hard to defend. I'm thinking that you (Lutheran) are certainly right to an extent, because the movie did lack some action or entertainment when compared to FTF or other blockbusters; so if you expected more of this, you are right (and have the right) to be disappointed. But thinking that you know what this movie should have been or what the behind-the-scenes deals were is unfounded in my opinion.

Sorry if we came out too strong at you, but that's the way it is.

Take care,

Laurent.

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Guest Anephric
My issue was the abysmal plot and one-dimentional characters, maybe bad casting is partly the blame.

So your complaint is that... there was too much plot? Because if anything, the whole lack of Hollywood chase scenes and unattractive sex montages and Music From And Inspired By pop album slow motion sequences should point to the quality control given to the film.

Secret human head transplants...WTH?

It should be more than a little obvious that its a "Frankenstein" situation of sorts. Or, as Roger Ebert says, "Pay close attention to the hands".

Also the subplot with Scully and the sick boy took up too much screentime.

I can't particularly judge a person's like or dislike of something since those types of semantic discussions are best left for those who are entertained by ball-in-the-cup toys. That said though, the whole point of the movie *was* Scully's relationship with the child. Yes, thats not in keeping with The X-Files really but it was a very bold and very mature (the word fits but I don't know why) decision on Carter's part. It would be easier to fill the movie with flukemen or zombies or clever Joss Whedon-isms for the bubblegum and hammering-a-nail-with-a-mortar-shell crowd but it is a much, much greater thing that Carter attempted. Even if you dislike it, the attempt at what he did was something we see with exceeding rarity in Hollywood, let alone "sci-fi films": Someone who doesn't talk down to its audience or coddle them with obvious ideas. It leaves the moral implications (of which the movie has more than one of!) in the lap of the audience to let them decide for themselves. I can think of no greater respect to a fandom this.

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Guest Laurent.
it was a very bold and very mature (the word fits but I don't know why) decision on Carter's part. It would be easier to fill the movie with flukemen or zombies or clever Joss Whedon-isms for the bubblegum and hammering-a-nail-with-a-mortar-shell crowd but it is a much, much greater thing that Carter attempted. Even if you dislike it, the attempt at what he did was something we see with exceeding rarity in Hollywood, let alone "sci-fi films": Someone who doesn't talk down to its audience or coddle them with obvious ideas. It leaves the moral implications (of which the movie has more than one of!) in the lap of the audience to let them decide for themselves. I can think of no greater respect to a fandom this.

That's really well said.

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