Around the MovieRetriever offices, we've taken to referring to this week's big-screen X-Files sequel as X-Files: I Want to Believe That This Movie Will Be Good, But, Honestly, Did You See How the Series Ended? What the Hell was Chris Carter Thinking? But can you blame us for not wanting to open up our hearts to The X-Files again? During its heyday, it was a TV phenomenon, one of the godfathers of water-cooler television, and yet no other popular TV series in recent memory sputtered, burned out, and died with as much shame and ignominy as The X-Files.
The early adventures of Mulder the believer and Scully the skeptic were some of the coolest TV episodes ever produced, but, following the first X-Files movie - which took place after season 5 - the show veered off the tracks and never came back. We could've dealt with David Duchovny leaving and new cast members joining the show, however, it soon became glaringly obvious that X-Files creator Chris Carter had no master plan, no outline, no idea where his show was going (and never had one to begin with), and the series limped to a close with the hideous, two-part wrap-up extravaganza "The Truth," which will forever stand as one of the lamest TV finales ever produced. (Can you sense that we're still a wee bit bitter?)
So, the question is - having been burned so badly, why should ANYONE actually be excited about another X-Files movie? Sure, the old theme music still gives us goosebumps and it's a kick to see Mulder and Scully running with flashlights again, but do we have any reason to believe that Chris Carter (who wrote and directed this new sequel) learned his lesson from the fatally-flawed X-Files finale and will be able to deliver anything that might be able to finally get the foul tastes of seasons 8 and 9 out of our mouths? We'll admit - we're total Scullys (i.e. skeptics) about Chris Carter's chances of pulling off a worthwhile X-Files movie, but, if Carter really, really wanted to win over our jaded hearts, here's where he can start:
TEN MOMENTS WE WANT TO SEE IN X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE
10. During a tearful heart-to-heart with Scully, Mulder admits that he's secretly been a long-time supporter of Pat Buchanan and the "aliens" he's really been fighting against are mostly from Mexico. Later, after explaining why he refers to the Japanese as "Flukemen," Scully slaps him and returns to her hotel alone.
9. Thanks to new strict anti-smoking regulations in Hollywood, Cigarette Smoking Man is renamed "Overweight Twitchy Gum-Chewing Man."
8. When asked how he's preparing for the upcoming alien invasion - The X-Files ended with the revelation that aliens are planning to take over Earth in 2012 - Mulder describes his contingency plan in detail, which mostly involves having his longtime friend Jeff Goldblum hack into the aliens' version of internet with a circa 1996 laptop and send a spam email that should crash the whole system. But if the aliens don't open the "Click Here for Natural Alien Enhancement" email... humanity is doomed.
7. In a scene with David Duchovny's wife Tea Leoni making a cameo appearance as Assistant Director Skinner's new boss, Gillian Anderson mistakenly refers to her as "Yoko."
6. Halfway through the movie, Duchovny and Anderson are inexplicably replaced by Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish.
5. Scooter Libby leaks Scully's name to the alien press corps after Mulder criticizes the American government's extra-terrestrial invasion preparedness. George W. uses his executive privilege to commute Libby's sentence and claims that Venus has weapons of mass destruction.
4. Upon arriving at a crime scene, Scully carefully studies the landscape, rubs her chin, and declares, "I don't friggin' know. It's probably ETs or wolfman or something. I'm never right anyway..." She then pulls a half-pint of Wild Turkey from her jacket sleeve and retreats back to the rental car.
3. After the Lone Gunmen point out to the FBI that the pilot episode of their short-lived 2001 spin-off series aired six months before September 11 and was centered around a plot to fly a hijacked airliner into the World Trade Center (true story, conspiracy nuts), the Gunmen spent the rest of the movie tied to a waterboard in Guantanamo Bay.
2. In a loving tribute to the late, great Peter Boyle and the classic X-Files episode he appeared in - "Clyde Bruckman's Final Response," which was named the 10th greatest episode in TV history by TV Guide - Fox Mulder actually does die from auto-erotic asphyxiation.
1. Chris Carter walks in-frame during a pivotal scene, stops the action, and spends the next 45 minutes apologizing to the camera for ruining one of the best shows ever on television. And, once Carter finishes, the Flukeman appears, eats him, and returns to his home in the sewers. Fin.