I didn’t think the new X-Files film made sense. And not in an X-Filey everything-has-double-meanings way – it just didn’t hang together at any level. Here are some things that happened (spoilers ahead):
An FBI agent has been kidnapped, and a psychic dude claims he can locate her. Mulder, obviously, believes him, and demands they take a trip to the crime scene. They pull up to the house, but Psychic Dude knows they’re not in the right place. She wasn’t kidnapped here! And he trots over the road. To a house they’ve just driven past. A house covered in ‘crime scene’ tape. It turns out Mulder took him to the wrong place as a test, and look what happened! Everyone’s well impressed at this amazing display of psychic powers. This wasn’t an audience-knows-best thing either – I think they just arranged the scene badly.
They realise the kidnapper is choosing his victims based on blood type. Scully is on this like a shot – they’re clearly stealing organs to order. The FBI team should for some reason start by investigating local organ couriers. So they do, and they happen across Bad Guy immediately. And he has some tenuous link to Psychic Dude. Ra! Except, the plot turns out to have nothing to do with stealing organs. So Bad Guy was an organ courier by chance.
The worst FBI team in history raid Bad Guy’s office. Bad Guy wanders in, sees them, quickly hides, and leaves via the front door. But Mulder spots him, so Bad Guy runs off, in the process dropping Victim 1’s head, which he was carrying for no particular reason. Irrelevant shenanigans occur. Mulder then takes a trip to Psychic Dude, and asks him if Victim 1 is still alive. Psychic Dude says yes. Mulder = despondent, Scully = vindicated. Keep this in mind.
Mulder and Scully crack the case independently, and both do it using magical powers. After going on about animal tranquilisers for half the film, Mulder has the genius idea of asking the local animal supplies store whether they’ve sold any lately. But while he’s in there, he sees a truck pull up. Oh noes! A truck! Clearly, only he and the killer use said shop, so Mulder hides and follows him.
Meanwhile, Scully has announced to her hospital that she intends to treat a young boy with stem cell therapy. Being the amazing doctor that she is, the first thing she does is return to her office and google ‘stem cell therapy’. She finds lots, and prints it all off. Later, she comes back to her desk and her eyes are drawn to something she’s printed but apparently not read. It details a Crazy Russian Doctor who’s been transplanting the heads of dogs. ZOMG. Everything falls into place – clearly this Crazy Russian Doctor is now trying his Crazy Experiments on humans! This has nothing to do with stem cell therapy.
So Scully phones (by now in grave danger) Mulder and says, inexplicably, “she’s still alive!”. Referring to Victim 1, whose head was found in a bag. We then cut to an operating theatre, where we see a man’s head on a woman’s body. When Mulder and Scully later burst in on Crazy Russian Doctor, they find a head, sitting on a desk, still alive. Just a head.
I could go on for quite a while. The weirdest thing is, it was barely an X-File. Psychic Dude did very little, and the rest was just crazy medical bullshit. The first film wasn’t particularly coherent, but at least there was a dirty great alien spaceship.
Oh yeah, there’s one more scene that should be mentioned: at the beginning we see Mulder and Scully waiting outside an FBI office. The camera pans left to reveal a portrait of George W. Bush. And the main X-Files doo-dee-doo-doo riff plays. Not as part of the background, or anything subtle like that, just loudly. The camera then pans back, and everything carries on as normal. I like a bit of Bush-bashing as much as the next guy, but this was just crap.
But my main gripe is what they did to Scully. She’s gone from uber-cool Agent of Rationality to whiny religious housewife. She and Mulder had 25 identical conversations, all of which involved her telling Mulder to give up. At one point she complains they they have a home now, and she doesn’t want this kind of darkness in their home. She also ends up completely obsessed with Psychic Dude saying “don’t give up” to her. What could he mean? How can he have such insight into her life? How amazing! Scully now has the analytical reasoning skills of a badger, and has clearly never read a horoscope.
Scully is also suddenly very Catholic (was she always religious? I don’t remember) and spends lots of time having strops over Psychic Dude’s claims that God is speaking through him. How does he know it isn’t the Devil, she asks. And she eventually attributes the whole plot to God’s will. Sigh.
She does at least save Mulder, for possibly the first time ever.
The X-Files always had a great premise and great actors. But the series pretended it was unravelling some great plot, when actually they were making it up as they went along. And despite having six years to write a film script, they apparently couldn’t think of any storylines. Shame.