Making the Grades
For seasoned followers of The X-Files, this latest venture of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) may be a refreshing break from reruns of the TV program, which ended in 2002. (Luckily for fans, The X-Files was the first TV show to be released on DVD.) However, for those who missed out on the series, this second big screen adaptation gives only snippets of back-story, which may leave many viewers lost in the dark in more ways than one. (The first X Files movie released in 1998.)
As the story opens, Scully is working as a doctor in a Catholic-run hospital. She has a young patient (Marco Niccoli) suffering from a rare brain disease. Despite the severity of his condition, she is determined to explore every possible cure option. The religious head of the hospital (Adam Godley), however, is pushing the parents (Carrie Ruscheinsky, Spencer Maybee) to rely on their faith rather than medical intervention.
Meanwhile, Mulder lives an isolated, hermit-like life in order to avoid prosecution from government officials. But the two former partners are reunited when Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) seeks out their help. Another FBI officer has gone missing and a psychic (Billy Connolly) has come forward claiming to have visions of where she is. While Whitney and her fellow agent, Mosley Drummy (Xzibit) could use some help in locating Monica Bannan (Xantha Radley), they are skeptical about the revelations.
Unfortunately, the reunion of the ex-colleagues doesn't happen without their old differences resurfacing. Although Mulder is quick to trust the clairvoyant's premonitions, Scully is far more skeptical, especially when she discovers the "visionary" is a former priest who sexually assaulted dozens of innocent alter boys.
But as reports of missing persons begin to multiply in the small West Virginia hamlet where Bannan went missing, the investigators stumble upon a dumping ground of severed limbs, thanks in part to Father Joe's directions. The unearthing of the appendages along with depictions of decomposing corpses, bloody body parts, surgical procedures and gruesome injuries, gives this film a decidedly sinister feel. Other concerns for family viewers may be the negative religious and homosexual depictions, repeated profanities and scenes of smoking.
Viewing this film without the benefit of being a devotee put me at a definite disadvantage, yet considering how long it's been since the program ended, this film needs to stand on it's own. Weltering in gory scenes of carnage and savage experimental activities, the movie may want me to believe in the power of the paranormal and the endless allure of the series. But, like Scully, I'm a skeptic.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about X-Files I Want to Believe.
What events from the past drive both Scully and Mulder to pursue the antagonist in this story? How can our former experiences influence current decisions?
One patient accuses Scully of being unable to understand her plight because she is not a mother. How does this woman’s lack of knowledge impact the doctor? How can insufficient information lead to incorrect judgments about another person’s life or choices?
Can negative portrayals of religious figures or other minorities promote misconceptions?