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FOX

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Chris Carter
Cast:
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Xzibit, Mitch Pileggi, Callum Keith Rennie, Adam Godley
Writing Credits:
Frank Spotnitz, Chris Carter (also creator)

Tagline:
Believe Again.

Synopsis:
When a group of women are mysteriously abducted, it becomes a case right out of the X-Files. The best team for the job is ex-agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), who have no desire to revisit their dark past. Still, the truth of these horrific crimes is out there somewhere ... and it will take Mulder and Scully to find it!

Box Office:
Budget
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$10.021 million on 3185 screens.
Domestic Gross
$20.981 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 104 min. (Theatrical Version)
108 min (Extended Cut)
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 12/2/2008

Bonus:
Disc One:
• Both Theatrical and Extended Versions of the Film
• Audio Commentary with Creator/Writer/Producer/Director Chris Carter and Writer/Producer Frank Spotnitz
• Three Deleted Scenes
• “Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production” Featurette
• “Body Parts: Special Makeup Effects” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• Music Video
• Still Galleries
• Trailers
• Public Service Announcement
• Previews
Disc Two:
• “Trust No One: Can The X-Files Remain a Secret?” Three-Part Documentary
Disc Three:
• Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The X-Files: I Want To Believe - Special Edition (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 23, 2008)

After six years off the air – and 10 years since its first big-screen adventure, The X-Files returned in the summer of 2008. Would the fans care? Apparently not. The X-Files: I Want to Believe received weak reviews and earned a miserable $20 million at the box office. I think that’s how much The Dark Knight made in its first 32 seconds of release.

Does this mean the end of X-Files? Perhaps not; the series may still maintain enough general appeal to get another chance. However, after the forgettable Believe, I can’t imagine too many would mourn the series’ demise. They had six years to come up with a lively tale and this was the best they could do?

In Believe, we follow up on former FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Since the series ended, Mulder went into retreat to avoid trumped-up charges the feds brought against him, while Scully retired from the FBI to work at a hospital.

The Bureau requests their services again when an agent goes missing. A Catholic priest defrocked for pedophilia named “Father Joe” (Billy Connolly) claims to have psychic visions that could provide clues to the kidnapping. Because Mulder specializes in the supernatural, the FBI wants him to sort out Joe’s alleged abilities and to help find the missing agent.

Disclaimer: I'm not a big X-Files fan. I watched the first movie, the recent Revelations compilation DVD and a few other episodes over the years, but that’s it. I don't think my disenchantment over the flick stems from my lack of intimacy with the series, though. I think it would've seemed just as dull and pointless even if I adored the show.

Much of the problem stems from the seriously muddled story. The whole kidnapping plot never gets clarified and makes little sense - like pretty much everything else in the flick. There may be good explanations for a lot of the actions in the movie, but the film itself does a poor job of relating them. Some claim the requisite exposition appears elsewhere, but we shouldn't need novelizations and other explanatory elements to make sense of the thing.

The same lack of clarity connects to the relationship between Mulder and Scully. It feels like we’re missing a scene to connect the dots. One minute it looks like Scully hasn't seen Mulder in years, and the next they're bed-buddies? I felt like I'd napped briefly and missed something.

Then again, I may have napped briefly - this was a messy, barely coherent, and damned dull film. The main story hardly existed and was shockingly pedestrian when the "twist" was revealed. I kept thinking "is this movie ever going anywhere?" but the answer was "no".

And that’s a shame, as even with my insubstantial knowledge of The X-Files, I’m sure it could do better than this. Each of the eight shows on the Revelations DVD proved substantially more compelling than Believe, and even the flawed 1998 movie worked a lot better.

Perhaps I could forgive the flaws of Believe if it at least provided an ambitious mess. Given the length of time since the last X-Files episode, wouldn’t you expect the filmmakers to come back with a big splash? Instead, they deliver a story that’d seem pedestrian within the context of the weekly series. I’m not saying that Believe needed a giant alien invasion story or something like that. I am saying that it needed a more substantial plot to involve the audience.

In a way, I admire the small scale of Believe; it feels gutsy to create a big summer movie with such an intimate scope. However, I’d admire it a lot more if it worked. Again, I’d feel more forgiving toward the film if it shot big and missed the mark. For it to aim so low and still tank, it becomes a much more substantial disappointment.

I also dislike the déjà vu factor. In essence, Believe often feels like a remake of The Silence of the Lambs with a minor supernatural twist. While that simplifies things, it still feels correct, at least in terms of tone. Believe does attempt a spiritual subtext, but it can’t deliver substance beneath the surface. Instead, it ends up as a wholly pedestrian, muddled and dull “adventure”.

Footnote: hang out through the end credits for a little Mulder/Scully coda.


The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

The X-Files: I Want to Believe appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Lately I’ve seen so many mediocre transfers for recent movies that I started to worry something was wrong with my TV. Happily, Believe established that my set’s working just fine, as it provided a solid visual presentation.

Sharpness looked strong. Very little sharpness ever cropped up, as even wide shots delivered good clarity and definition. This was a consistently tight image. I noticed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge enhancement remained absent. At no point did I detect any source flaws; the movie seemed clear and clean.

As one might expect from a somber, low-key movie, Believe went with a somber, low-key palette. The film reflected a winter setting and showed a chilly, bluish tone much of the time. The DVD delivered good clarity for the hues, as they seemed appropriate for the material. Blacks looked dark and deep, while shadows appeared smooth and well-defined. Overall, I felt impressed by this positive presentation.

I also felt pleased with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Believe. Because the movie didn’t feature a ton of action sequences, it usually focused on general atmosphere. That side of things worked well, as the flick delivered a good sense of environment. The smattering of louder scenes demonstrated involving material. These involved elements like helicopters and cars; none of them dazzled, but they opened up the spectrum in a satisfying way.

Audio quality was always pleasing. Speech appeared concise and distinctive; no edginess or other issues materialized. Music sounded lively and dynamic, while effects also came across in a positive manner. Those elements were full and rich. They showed good clarity and accuracy, with tight highs and warm lows. Though not a killer soundtrack, the mix worked well.

Plenty of extras appear in this 3-DVD set. On Disc One, we start with an audio commentary from creator/writer/producer/Director Chris Carter and writer/producer Frank Spotnitz. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss cast and performances, sets and locations, story, editing, and changes for the extended cut, production design and camerawork, visual effects, and a mix of other movie details.

Spotnitz and Carter provide a “meat and potatoes” commentary. They cover the requisite material in a reasonably succinct manner, but they never make this a particularly involving discussion. We get a decent overview of the basic issues here and that’s about it. The commentary informs but doesn’t turn into anything especially winning.

We can watch the film’s theatrical version or an extended cut. The former goes for one hour, 44 minutes and 24 seconds, while the longer edition runs one hour, 48 minutes and four seconds. How do the two differ? In minor ways, I think. Although I saw Believe theatrically, I honestly couldn’t identify any additions. I think the alterations are subtle at best, and I don’t feel they change the movie’s impact in any way.

Three Deleted Scenes run a total of five minutes, 54 seconds. These include “Cheryl Cunningham Begs Scientist to Let Her Go” (1:31), “Father Joe Visits Scully at Hospital” (1:14) and “Mulder Escapes from Car Wreck” (3:09). Of the three “Hospital” seems the most interesting, as it shows a tense encounter between Scully and Joe. None of them come across as especially memorable, though.

For a look at the project’s ecological impact, we go to Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production. The six-minute and 16-second piece provides notes from Carter as he tells us the ways the production attempted to avoid harm to the environment. It all seems pretty self-congratulatory to me.

Next comes the eight-minute, eight-second Body Parts: Special Makeup Effects. We hear from special makeup effects designer Bill Terezakis as he shows us fake torsos and body parts. This becomes a fairly disgusting featurette, but it offers a nice look at the makeup effects work.

A Gag Reel fills nine minutes, 48 seconds. People fall down, flub their lines, and act silly. I’m sure X-Files fans will enjoy this look at their heroes out of character, but it bores me.

We also get a Music Video for Xzibit’s “Dying 2 Live”. The term “music video” is a stretch, as the clip simply plays the song on top of photos from the movie. What’s the point?

Four Still Galleries come next. These break into “Collectibles” (89 images), “Storyboards” (152), “Concept Art” (16) and “Unit Photography” (50). All offer some interesting elements, but I like “Collectibles” the best; it shows a nice array of X-Files memorabilia from throughout the series’ run.

In addition to two trailers, we find an anti-tobacco Public Service Announcement. DVD One also opens with some ads. We get promos for digital copies and the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

DVD Two features an extended three-part documentary. Trust No One: Can The X-Files Remain a Secret?” goes for one hour, 25 minutes and 55 seconds as it features notes from Carter, Spotnitz, Terezakis, sound mixer Michael Williamson, producer’s assistant Marcie Larson, gaffer David Tickell, production designer Mark S. Freeborn, assistant location manager Sean Finnan, costume set supervisor Dawn Climie, executive producer Brent O’Connor, director of photography Bill Roe, costume designer Lisa Tomczeszyn, Spotnitz’ assistant Errin Clutton, script supervisor Portia Belmont, video assist operator Rob Parisien, Carter’s assistant Evan Godfrey, title designer Ramsey McDaniel, end credit additional designer Jeff Stone, senior visual effects supervisor Mat Beck, digital FX artist Eli Jarra, editor Richard A. Harris, composer Mark Snow, and actors David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly, Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner, Amanda Peet, and Callum Keith Rennie. “Secret” looks at the development of Believe and its story, coming back after so many years apart, shoot specifics, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography and costumes, makeup and visual effects, music and editing, the end credits, and attempts to keep the movie’s plot secret.

Given the documentary’s title, you’d expect a stronger focus on that last subject. Indeed, the efforts enacted to prevent plot details from leaking creates a consistent thread through the program, but it doesn’t really dominate. It does become the most interesting aspect of “Secret”, as we learn the extent to which the filmmakers tried to thwart Internet spies.

The rest of the show seems more ordinary. It delves into various topics in a reasonably efficient manner, but it never quite turns into something particularly compelling. We learn a fair amount about the flick, though, so I can’t complain too much. I think it would’ve been better if the DVD’s producers had put the “making of” bits into one piece and the secrecy issues into another.

Finally, DVD Three includes a Digital Copy of Believe. It seems like every DVD provides this option these days; it allows you to easily transfer the flick to a portable device. I have no use for it, but I guess someone must dig it.

If one expects a big, slam-bang return for The X-Files with I Want to Believe, one will emerge disappointed. The movie suffers from a myriad of flaws and few strengths, all of which leave it as dull and disjointed. The DVD provides very good picture and sound as well as a fairly solid package of supplements. I can’t complain about this release, but the movie itself becomes a massive letdown.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.8666 Stars Number of Votes: 15
35:
14:
6 3:
12:
41:
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main