X-Files: I Want to Believe isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it might be one of the more half-assed. 10 years separate the first X-Files movie from the sequel. 10 years, and yet in all that time they never managed to get a script beyond the outline stage. That’s really what this is: a script outline, a series of scenes only loosely tied together with some of the lamest expository dialogue since Independence Day.
See, the tough part of writing anything is the little details, those plausible yet novel sequences of events that connect one concept to another. The concepts themselves are important too, but that’s the creative part, the fun part. Connecting those concepts requires work, not just ideas but critical thinking. The writers of X-Files 2, meanwhile, seem to have discovered a novel method for bypassing all that by just having Scully look shit up on the internet. No, really. At one point Dr. Scully is trying to save a kid with an incurable brain disease (and I’m being extremely generous by not making fun of the kid’s unintentionally hilarious mongoloid speech right now); she goes from having no treatment for the kid one day, then that night we see her Google – seriously, we actually watch her type this into Google – “stem cell research”. And voila! The next day Scully miraculously has a radical new stem cell treatment for the boy. Between the way they envision a doctor’s research process and the way they structure their script, you really get a sense of what the writers’ concept of hard work must be.
The other problem is that the plot hangs on the relationship between Mulder and Scully and the whole believer vs. skeptic business – hence the “I want to believe” title. Points for consistency of theme, but that conflict was never the interesting part of the show, it was just the premise. That episode about the circus freaks (the killer turned out to be a guy’s Kuato-like Siamese twin who could detach himself and prowl freely through the night) was about the freaks, not about Mulder and Scully. In I Want to Believe, Mulder and Scully come out of retirement (and yes, Mulder has grown a beard and lives in a shack in the woods and there’s a big moment when he decides he’ll take the case and he shaves his beard off and yadda yadda wank motion) to investigate the disappearance of a female FBI agent and a local girl. Their only lead is a pederastic priest played by Scottish comedian Billy Connelly who’s prone to psychic visions and bleeding from the eyes. His visions are of course correct every time, and yet every time they have to have a big fight over whether they should believe in this supernatural stuff. Hey bitch, how about you believe him because he’s right every goddamned time? And of course the believer is going to be right. If the skeptic were right, there’d be no magic, no ghost in the machine, no world beyond our eyes, and hence: no story. So all that time they spend arguing back and forth about whether to believe a guy who’s their only lead is effectively wasted. “He’s our only chance, Scully.” “Mulder! He’s a pedophile!” Which brings me to another point: why do they have to say each other’s names so much? How often do you call a person by their first name in the middle of a conversation when you’re the only two people in a room? Is that so we won’t forget? They’re Mulder and Scully, we’re not going to forget.
Anyway, from the magic pedophile, we get drawn into a Russian organ harvesting plot. I guess. What we know is that two Russian dudes have kidnapped two chicks who both have a blood type of AB negative, and the Russians either want to harvest their organs or cut off their heads and attach them to different peoples bodies. Who knows with Russians these days. There’s also a sweet two-headed dog (a Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix I believe) running around just for shits and giggles. Bottom line, we never get much idea what possible motive these guys might have for doing what they do. And you know what? That would’ve been the interesting part. But instead, the Russians and their two-headed dog and their nonsensical organ harvesting are just a vehicle for Mulder and Scully’s ongoing belief vs. non-belief struggle. Gee, I wonder how that turns out.