X Files – I Want to Believe (2008)

Rating 15
Length 1h 44
Release 1.8.2008
Director Chris Carter
About Though FBI special agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and his partner Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) once chased things that go bump in the night, his tireless search for the truth out there has led to his professional exile. However, a missing-persons case leads to the agents’ reunion, along with an encounter with a priest (Billy Connolly) who may or may not be experiencing psychic visions.


First Things First

Right now, I’m sat kicking myself for not seeing this in the cinema. I worked there, for Mulder’s sake. I actually have a vivid memory. An almost ‘Sliding Doors’ moment in which I was done for the evening and the last showing of the day was about to begin. I passed up on the opportunity.
Now, it’s at this point I should clarify, I was possibly one of the strangest ‘fans’. I was such a fan that I wore a Mulder and Scully watch for at least 4 years, even though I’d probably only seen a handful of episodes.
Yeah, I was 8 years old when Scully was sent to spy on Mulder, so I was only allowed to press record on the VCR and watch up until that distinctive theme song. It wasn’t until 1996 or so when it had moved to Saturday nights, that I saw my first full episode. Can you imagine it; being banned from watching the show, but being bought the merch by the same parent?! Then again, this was the same person who, without fail, would buy me a board game every Christmas and refuse to play it with me. Go figure.
Much like a lot of my teens fandoms; Buffy, Star Trek and Angel… I fell a little out of love with X Files. I’d not taken it upon myself to do a rewatch (or a first watch) and I just felt very disengaged in 2008.
However, it’s now 2021. I’ve spent the last few months watching all 9 seasons, and one movie, leading up to this one. I’d been dreading it, I won’t lie.

The Good

  • It’s X Files. Even with its flaws, I’m in. You’re giving me Mulder and Scully. You’re in theory giving me together Mulder and Scully. What’s not to love. It certainly has its moments that will have any fan happy. When they’re together on screen, its frigging awesome.
  • It’s a story that is that perfect middle ground. It’s the supernatural rather than the mythology that, at times, bogged the show down. I love the alien shit, but I think the fatal flaw of the franchise is that it wavered too much on that line of ‘are the aliens real?’. At least this keeps it conspiracy lite. Well, except for the priest with a taste for choir boys.
  • Speaking of the whole pedophilia subplot. It was a powerful thing to address considering this would have still been a rather raw subject, for American viewers in particular. The Boston sex abuse scandal was only exposed in 2002. I’m sure Carter was trying to say something profound about this dirty secret of the Catholic Church. I’m not sure it works completely, but damn I’m still impressed he tried.
  • The editing in the opening was excellent. It was unsettling and lacking context, but it worked. It was something very different to what we’ve come to expect of X Files and it really got my attention.
  • Billy Connolly, while giving me the creeps, was a delight to see on screen. Rather strange to see him without his beard, but given his character I was glad of that disassociation.

The Bad

  • I struggled with Scully’s B-Plot storyline. It felt a little too contrived and almost a plot device hiding in plain sight. The film needed a bit of a change in editing (Like, don’t give me shifty looks to the Father, when the other one was a convicted pedophile, and not give me a resolution to that either way). It’s a shame, because when Gillian Anderson’s scenes worked, it was powerful.
  • This is the ‘ship that coined the term ‘shipping’. So why the fuck does the film play them off against each other for most of the movie?! Why, after EVERYTHING Scully has seen, is she still a skeptic? Both the relationship, and Scully herself are completely devolved to fit the narrative. It does all fans a disservice.
  • Our new Mulder/Scully, Dogget/Reyes. I don’t get them and they’re booted out of the script halfway through. While I adore Amanda Peet and she does an amazing job, put Agent Monica Reyes in that role and it blows the whole thing open and adds investment.
    Then there’s Xzibit as Agent Drummy as the overly-aggressive skeptic. The biggest problem being that there’s no chemistry between him and Mulder…. so he just ends up shouting.

The Ugly

  • That fucking beard! What the fuck, man?! I get that the film was trying to show that Mulder was not the same, but did we really need him to wear such a bad joke-shop stick-on beard?! It was cheap, it was tacky and it lasted so much of the movie.

Final Thoughts

There are worse episodes that feel way longer than this outing. It is flawed and I did shout “Oh, fuck off Scully.” At the tv screen. Something I’ve not done since mid-series 3.
As much as this was made as a stand alone to bring in the uninitiated, I doubt the franchise would gain any fans from watching this first.

Film Review: Evolution (2001)

Rating PG
Length 1h 41
Release 22.6.2001
Director Ivan Reitman
About Professor Ira and Professor Harry are called in to analyse a meteor that crashes at Arizona. Soon, they learn that the organisms found on the meteor are evolving and reproducing rapidly.


The Good

  • From the get go, it plays much like a Ghostbuster outing. The undervalued underdogs in the professional field saving the day. For me, I can never get enough of the Ghostbusters and, at the time, this was as close as I was going to get.
  • The cast is pretty perfect. David Duchovny plays on his Mulder persona, but gives him much more charm and less morbid back story. Duchovny carries the lead duties really well and I always wonder why he didn’t get more oportunities.
  • Orlando Jones gives us black-meta commentary and sleaze I never quiet caught before and Julianne Moore is trying to give us the anti-Scully. It never quite works, and it has me wishing Anderson was there playing the role, but I can’t deny that Moore does try.
  • The graphics still stand up. as good as early noughties graphics can of course.

The Bad

  • It takes a long while to really get going. Partly because of establishing Scott’s character in the opening. While this does have pay off, it does stall the proceedings somewhat.
  • I’m not sure I like the clumsiness of Moore’s character. It feels like acting clumsy and is too forced.

The Ugly

  • That sleeze of Orlando Jones. Barf! I know its college, but him trying to get it on with students and discussing showering with his all-female basketball team is just gross. I probably thought nothing of it at the time, but watching it in light of so many accusations within the industry, it makes you question the mind-set of the writer. Yeah, call me snowflake all you want, but its the normalisation of off-the-cuff remarks like this that have allowed this behaviour to go on, unchecked, for so long.

Final Thoughts

Had this been an X-Files or Ghostbusters sequel, in which we could do away with the introductions, this would be an amazing film. Tonally different I’m sure, but amazing non the less.
That said, this is a film I will watch again because it’s fun, the good guys win and we have Sean William Scott singing to a pterodactyl-type creature.

The Craft. Legacy (2020)

Rating: PG
Length: 1h 41
Release: 19.8.1994
Dir: Chuck Russell
About: An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.


The Good

  • The cast was spot on, especially the four corners of the new Coven. While we perhaps didn’t get as much background on all of the individual players as I would have liked, its a testament to the actresses that I wanted to know more about each one.
  • David Duchovny was an excellent choice as the ‘spooky’ new man in Lily and her mum’s life. He’s again a character I would have loved to have seen a little more of.
  • The character of Timmy, while at the outset seems like a stereotype, becomes this relatable and refreshing look at the antidote to toxic masculinity.
  • In the same week that Lily Allen attempts to break the taboo on female self love, The Craft Legacy presents us with a casual masturbation scene. Something I would not expect from an American film and again is something that is powerful, empowering and handled so very well.

The Bad

  • The trio of brothers are not developed enough and lack any development. There’s something lacking that gives them purpose. In fact, I would go so far to say that the biggest flaw of this film is its character development. When it comes to the brother’s; they disappear by the time we get to the final act. Which is no bad thing because I couldn’t really tell them apart. They all had that moody Edward Cullen thing and I can’t even recall if any of the three spoke in full sentences.
  • It is not necessarily the casting I have an issue with, but I do feel like MM’s character should have been one of the original coven. I almost feel, by the time the credits roll, the character was originally written with one of the original actress’ in mind, but they chose to pass. I mean, just take a look at the actress playing Lily and tell me she doesn’t look like the offspring of Sarah’s Robin Tooney.
  • With David Duchovny, I do feel like they were going for a Lost Boys sort of approach, but there was a lack of commitment to really make it work or have it impact the plot in any way.

The Ugly

  • One of the defining, or iconic, aspects of the 1996 original was that epic soundtrack. At one point, I had thought the soundtrack that everyone listened to was a thing of the past, but then Guardians of the Galaxy came along and reminded us all of what we were missing. Maybe its a sign that this film is for a younger audience, but as the target demographic of the original; we’re watching it too and this music flatlined.
  • Sequel, soft reboot, cash-in reboot? Well, the creators have given their word that it’s a sequel and, if you’ve seen the trailer, that seems to be confirmed. My issue being the nods to the original are too heavy handed to be considered ‘Easter eggs’ and the diversions from the original story lack any sort of quality to elevate it from being a pale imitation.
  • It’s not long enough for what was trying to be achieved. It’s way too long, too bloated and lacks any connection to the characters. I feel as if this idea would have been executed in a better way in a mini series of 10 or more episodes. Basically the Locke & Key treatment. Make the brothers more involved and give the audience more of a reason for these girls to be the outcasts. Give me more Timmy and give his story a resolution.

Final Thoughts

It was a fair watch and relatively painless. Unfortunately, I do feel like this is suffering from a similar fate to Prometheus in the sense that the decision to make it a sequel came way to late in production and those like-minded will feel a little cheated out of that ‘legacy’ aspect.