Yesterday’s exciting cinematical evening brought us The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
I was never a real fan of the X-Files, so don’t expect me to get all the obscure references and comment on them (although I could hear deadra squeal every time there was a more or less obscure reference). Why I went to see it anyway? Because deadra wanted to see it (and it’s gonna be “my” movie today) and because I heard that it worked pretty well without the TV show and was a solid thriller.
Well, it’s not. The story line is stretched thin, thinner, the thinnest and was just plain boring. The acting was okay, mostly, but nothing outstanding. It would pass as a mediocre film, if it wasn’t for bad cliché after cliché thrust upon us, sprinkled with some phobias to make for that special bad taste.
[After here, there will be SPOILERS!]
The bad guys are Russians. Well, the characters are, the actors are not. Which makes for really bad Russian. I mean, my Russian sucks, but even I could do better. Imagine scene after scene: The captive is given food, the Russians say: холодная. Which means cold. The Russians prepare the operation and say: холодная. Which still means cold. They talk to the dogs and say: холодная. I guess, you know by now, what that means. [You can only be glad that they didn’t have subtitles.]
But apart from the bad Russian, I’m trying to think of one big Hollywood action blockbuster in the past years that did not have somebody talking with an accent as the bad guy. As deadra put it, when I asked her if she could think of any, “… [silence] … [silence] … I’m still thinking, but even if the villains were Americans, they were some kind of Hillbilly, or something, so different as well.” I could only mention Lex Luthor, but I don’t know if I should count comic adaptations.
Hell, even the pedophilic psychic in this movie, some kind of bad guy, or at least not one of the good ones, spoke with an accent. At least, his was real, although I couldn’t decide if he was British and trying to pass for an American (and failing) or if he was American trying to pass for a British (and failing).
It was obviously not enough to make the villains bad Russian Frankensteins. But the main bad guys had to be gay as well.
As Cinematical says:
do Carter and Spotnitz have to mention that the two male lead suspects in the kidnappings are “… married in Massachusetts”? It’s as if someone suggested “Kidnapping and dismemberment isn’t creepy enough; let’s make them gay kidnappers!”
It didn’t matter a bit to the story that they were married in Massachusetts. It didn’t even matter that they were gay.
It was kind of relevant to the story that, actually, one was apparantly a transsexual [and yes, there is a difference], but they could have kidnapped men and have the whole gay thing obliterated. And it would be really cool to see a man kidnapped who doesn’t free himself but needs to get rescued. [Can you think of any movie? Anything that comes to my mind is Proof of Life. But it’s been so long since I’ve seen that movie that I’m not sure, if Russell Crowe actually rescued him or if he freed himself in the end. (Now, next step: guy being kidnapped and getting saved by a girl.)]
Then we come to the clichés. Oh joy!
The way Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) died… How often have I seen somebody fall down an elevator shaft (or something similar in a possibly-yet-to-be-finished house)? And it’s never enough that they only fall like 35 floors down, there is always one metal thingy sticking out, and they will unfailably hit it.
But apart from that, it’s just plain embarassing that they used a green screen technique for this, which was so amazingly bad, that I could see Amanda Peet rolling around the floor waving her arms and screaming. Seriously, I have seen better blue screen stuff in the 80s.
And how stupid can a villain get?
Imagine that you have two bodies to dispose of, through dismembering and then freezing them in a giant ice cube at exactly the same spot since, probably, years.
Now, one body is dead. You’re sure of that, as it’s headless.
The other body is not, as he’s been only tranquilised and keeps on moving. It’s not very forceful movements, looks more like me when I search for the Snooze-button on my alarm clock in the morning, but obviously a kind of “I’m-still-alive”-moving.
Would you stop to sharpen the axe? Would you chop up the dead body first, carefully wrapping the parts in plastic bags? Would you take about 3 hours to swing the axe over your head to behead the still living guy? Or would you behead the living body right that moment and then start the chopping?
If you’re the X-Files villain, the answers would be “yes”, “yes”, “yes” and “no, I want to give the guy’s friends time to kill me instead”.
It’s the X-Files equivalent to the Bond-villain-talks [(c) deadra].
Then, of course, because you have a psychic, who helps with your case, even if you don’t really trust the guy, you don’t need to do any other police work than wait for him to have a vision.
Like the animal tranquiliser they found in the severed arm – obviously, Scully is the only one who can figure that out [how badly equipped must the FBI be?] and since she’s caught up with the dieing boy, nobody takes the time to have a look around: Who sells those tranquilisers? Who buys them? Maybe there’s a connection? No, they don’t think of that until it’s almost too late, and then it’s Mulder, who follows that lead? Weird, weird, weird.
Oh and, I don’t really know the regulations in the US on stem cell research, but I find it deeply disturbing that a) between having the idea that they could use it and Scully operating the boy, there’s a time span of about 2 hours, b) Scully operates the boy herself, although it’s such a complicated procedure and she’s never done it before and c) Scully researches this THROUGH GOOGLE… A frightening perspective, in my opinion.
Returning to the topic of the psychic: He obviously has visions all the time, because no matter, what he says in any given point of a conversation, in the end it’s a clue. And Scully, obviously a superhuman, can read small address signs, which of course have been hinted at by the psychic before, in the dark while driving past it in a car at no little speed. WOW.
Surpisingly, there were two things I thoroughly enjoyed: I will never be able to look at a picture of George W. Bush again without hearing the ominous X-Files-whistling.
The end credits were really nice. Although it looked to me like a display of “we saved so much money through our bad green screen thing that we had enough left to give you this beautiful, but pretty pointless view of the world from a helicopter”.
The ending itself though (the scene after the credits), couldn’t care less about it. It would have been nice to see different things like what happened to the little boy Scully operated, especially since he was the only engaging character in the whole movie. Did he make it? Did he die? We will probably never know.