OK I've seen the X-Files movie. I post this with a twinge of trepidation. Because I love these two people, I love this show...and mostly because I love and have a deep respect for the people who make it, and I care about their work. And I know they care about what we think.
...But I don't have all wonderful things to say. I do have some wonderful things to say. But I'm going with the not-so-great stuff first, because I need to get it off my chest. I am going to do it honestly, as that is all I know how to do, and I hope it doesn't come off as harsh or...lacking in thoughtfulness or due regard.
Just keep in mind this is an initial reaction. I need to see this movie again.
Not unlike many other fan reaction, my initial impression was, and kinda still is something along the lines of this:
...followed by complete blankness.
This is not a good um or a bad um...I think it is a bit of a confused um.
There were definitely a few moments in the plot where I wasn't quite following what was going on. I know that much. But I don't know yet if this is a failure of storytelling or a failure of my brain.
To the credit of Chris and the almighty Spotz, I did see it at a theatre where alcohol was, in fact, served. But halfway through the bottle I remembered that hot wings + beer = gas, so I stopped. It's worth noting, however, that I am a complete and total lush. And that the hot sauce was very tasty.
I also was definitely disappointed with the science of the X-File. The X-Files was always so, SO good at basing just enough of the story points/phenomenon in science to inspire a reasonable suspension of disbelief. But I just...wasn't buying it.
The thing with regards to the X-File that I took issue with the most was the head transplant bit. I get that this guy wanted a woman's body. But if you were to replace his head with someone else's head entirely, he would clearly cease to be the same person. The person goes with the head, which I'm assuming was to be disposed of.
Honestly, Chris and Frank...This HAD to have occured to you. Where is Dr. Carpenter?
I also didn't buy into many aspects of the medical case Scully was dealing with -- both from the science angle as well as logistics. And I find these a lot harder to forgive than the case file issues.
There were a few things:
Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall the name or even the nature of the child's ailment being mentioned. I'd kinda like to know.
So Scully is a surgeon now. Alright, that makes sense -- After all, she spent years cutting up bodies. But if this child is *sick*...with a virus, or a genetic disorder, or cancer, whatever -- Why is he *her* patient? Shouldn't he be under the care of a pediatrician? Or an oncologist? Or a virologist? They could have easily just made scully a frequent visitor to his room and achieved the same effect.
I also fail to buy the idea that Scully would have the expertise to perform an experimental procedure on the BRAIN.
And lastly, but most embarassingly...Kudos to Scully for demonstrating her skillz in using The Google, but what's she doing looking up "stem cell research?" Aside from that being a very brroooaad category, doesn't she subscribe to medical journals? They'd surely be a lot more reliable source.
I don't know if I am being nitpicky. I should like to think I have the same approach to this show as I did when it was running. And in the case of the vast, vast majority of X-Files, I was quite satisfied with their believability. So what gives?
I loved the Bush/Hoover bit. Very cute. However --
The music. Yes it was funny. But it broke the 4th wall for me. The X-Files has never, EVER broken the 4th wall. It's, its...it's heresy! It's inconsistent with the moodiness of the show. And most of all, it's totally and completely out of character for Chris to do. And I heard it was his idea!
It is for this reason that I was also put off by the rowboat bit. I liked it, especially with the music, but...I'm not sure.
The last issue that I have with it at this point is...I'm afraid to even say it, but...*sigh* Being a passionate fan, having followed these two people on their journey for over 12 years of my life and 9 years of theirs...through their trials and losses as well as my own...I have a connection with them on a pretty deep level. They've taken on a life of their own, for many of us, in no small way. It was always so easy for me to connect with them, to get lost in their journey, very early on in an episode.
But this time, it just...didn't happen the way I remember being with the previous movie. Maybe I was too busy trying to figure out the plot? Maybe I'm still coming down off my Coldplay high? I dunno, dude. I did find myself a little moved by the "breakup" scene (particularly Mulder's reaction) and the spooning scene. The makeup scene didn't do squat for me, with the exception of Scully's little "Just you and me?" bit. I think I missed some of the dialogue, however. Damn Mulder and his mumbling.
Many of the other Mulder/Scully scenes are growing on me in retrospect.
A lot of people are talking about the depth of the emotional and spiritual journey of Mulder and Scully, particularly of Scully. Personally, I was pleased with Scully's journey but I didn't think it was AS deep as people seemed to think it was. It wasn't philosophically/spiritually as deep as, say, Momento Mori, All Souls, or Redux II. And I didn't feel taken away with the characters' journey quite like I did in Little Green Men, or Amor Fati. It was deep but not satisfyingly so. It wasn't as...layered as I expected.
But maybe I'm just not seeing all the layers yet.
But yes, dear readers, I do have good things to say about the movie. I have wonderful things to say.
I liked that they dealt with William a bit. I needed to know that these characters (including Mulder) still feel his loss. Emily just seemed to have been forgotten so easily. (In retrospect, although those were some excellent episodes, I really wish Emily hadn't happened at all. William is where it's at, storywise and characterwise.)
The two things I loved most about the movie: The cinematography and the music.
Oh, Mark Snow, your awesomeness knows no bounds. I'm a hardcore music lover...It's my life, in many ways. I tend to like the musicians who experiment a lot. A huge chunk of the show's signature moodiness can be credited to Snow. I was always impressed by the variety of sounds this guy came up with, ranging from ambient to melodic, etheral to clangy.
Throughout the movie I heard a ton of sounds that I REALLY liked. Some of it, I remember thinking, "Wow, I've never heard anything like this!" At first I was a bit put off, because virtually nothing sounded at all like the X-Files. But as soon as I decided to get over that, I realized how much I liked what I was hearing.
I'll have to get the soundtrack in order to get into specifics, but I remember really enjoying the way he used percussion in one bit, and being suprised but delighted at the melodiousness of another. I was also pleased when he pulled out a new variation of "Crossroads"...a variation of a variation of the X-Files theme.
And the cinematography. I can't tell you how many beautiful shots there were. And we all know it was all Carter. The moon rising in the sky, the silent snow, the way the camera panned around Mulder's hands as he snipped away at his newspapers...The shots of the kidnapped woman peeking out of a slit in her box, crying, "What is this place?!" The familiar over-the-shoulder shots of M/S conversations...the ice, the warehouse chase, the passenger-side view of Mulder's crash as he gets rammed in the drivers-side door by the truck...I know I'm missing a lot.
I really liked Father Joe. I think I almost felt for his character more than for Mulder and Scully. I believed he was sincere in his remorse. And I was a little frustrated at Scully for not seeing what it was that I saw in him. This character was well thought-out and perfectly casted.
I also liked Whitney. I don't have much to say about her other than I just really liked her. I was sad and suprised when she bit the dust. Or when she was, "taken care of," in X-Files lingo.
And most importantly and awesomely: KickAss! Scully, in whom I am well pleased, has been upgraded and enhanced with flavor crystals. Nice to know that six years of working in 9-5 land hasn't diminished her ninja skillz in the least.
...Anyway, bottom line: The jury is still out. I'm confused about a lot of things, most of which will require a second viewing. Many of the scenes that didn't do much for me are, in retrospect, growing on me. And I find myself wanting to see them again.
The thing that worries me, though, is that I and others are experiencing this confusion in the first place. That we didn't LOVE it right off. If we didn't, then what of the casual viewer?
I don't think this movie can succeed on our multiple viewings alone. I'm worried. I'm worried that this movie, combined with the last two seasons, will spell the end of the X-Files.
And I'm worried that I won't mind so much.