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December 9, 2008
The X Files: I Want to Believe Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
25/7/200825/11/2008FoxChris Carter
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 5.1MDavid Duchovny
Gillian Anderson

THE MOVIE
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David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson back together.

For one reason or another X-Files: I Want To Believe did not do as well at the box office as expected. With a box office take in America of $US21 million and an additional $US47 million around the globe (compared to $US189 million totla for the first X-Files movie) this movie didn't meet expectations. Reasons for its failure could be put down to several. It could be due to a poor movie (but we don't think it was that bad), it could be the long period of time since the end of the TV show (that didn't stop movies like Starsky & Hutch or The Brady Bunch though), or - and we think this is the maing contributing factor - the movie got lost amongst the massive hype, and box office dollars for The Dark Knight which opened the week before this movie.

As highlighted in the documentaries the creators of this movie went to great lengths to keep the story a secret, and we won't reveal too much here. What we can say is that this is a seperate storyline to the alien mythologies built up during the X-Files television run. Set six years after we last saw Fox Mulder and Dana Scully working together both have moved on with their lives outside the FBI, but when a psychic starts having visions of a missing FBI agent Mulder and Scully are asked to come back to assist with the case.

Where this movie does succeed is with the return of the key personell from the TV series including creator and director Chris Carter and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Their chemistry on screen sizzles from the moment they are put together. The spark returns instantly and they really are the highlight of this movie. Billy Connolly is brilliant as Father Joseph Crissman, a serious role where he doesn't use his comic skills at all. Now I won't spoil it for you but someone else returns to this movie, and it really is a shame their role isn't any greater then just the last act in the movie. Still, you'll be pleased they have returned.

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Billy Connolly in X-Files: I Want To Believe.
X-Files: I Want To Believe comes to Blu-Ray with two different versions of the movie - the Theatrical version (104 minutes) and the Extended Cut (108 minutes). There aren't any great differences between the two versions however the Extended Cut adds in some additional gore and occasionally extended scenes.

I'll have to admit here that I was a big fan of the TV series, particularly the first five or so seasons. I continued to watch to the very end but certainly the punchiest episodes were early on in the shows run. Is it important to know this? Well somewhat as fans are certainly more likely to get something out of this movie then non-fans however it must be pointed out that you need not have seen the TV series to still enjoy this movie.

VIDEO
Visually this Blu-Ray disc is quite impressive. Fox have encoded the disc in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 at 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. Much of the movie has brilliantly contrasting scenes between the brilliant white snows to the dark indoor locations. Colours are handled well although we did note some black crush in some of the scenes. The bitrate typically hovers around the 18-25Mbps mark although does jump up on numerous occasions into the 30+Mbps range.

AUDIO
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The snowfields are a brilliant white!

As with almost every Fox release on Blu-Ray the main audio track is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 experience. As such a recent movie there are plenty of surround sound moments with some decent tension built from the effects and music. Indeed composer Mark Snow has composed the music for this movie and it links in perfect to the experience he provided on the original TV series with similar cues.

Other Audio tracks on this disc include French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 448kbps which, while acceptable are a little lower in bitrate then we would expect, and you can hear a difference between these tracks and the uncompressed English track. Subtitles are provided in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.

EXTRAS
X-Files: I Want To Believe includes a couple of decent extras although, disappointingly, the main feature isn't presented in High Definition. Still, fans should be impressed...

In-Movie Experience: This feature allows you to turn on or off features such as the PIP commentary, or flick out to other featurettes. Fairly well put together it may be a bit too much effort then it's worth. This uses the coloured buttons on the remote control, but those with only a PS3 controller will need to bring up the full controller menu making it a chore to use.

PIP or Audio commentary by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz: Not the livliest of commentaries, but there is plenty here to digest about the production of this movie. I did find the video window showing Chris and Frank was a little large, but tolerable. The track is also available as an audio commentary if you don't want the visuals.

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Let's hope David isn't looking up porn!
Deleted Scenes (5:53/HD): Three deleted scenes are presented here in High Definition. I'm not sure if any of these would have added much to the movie, but nice to have included on this disc.

X-Files Complete Timeline (HD): This is a Java based timeline of tevents in the X-Files. Quite detailed this is worth a look with plenty of details and clips from the TV series.

"Dying To Live" by Xzibit (4:03/HD): To be honest this is a pretty average song, with a pretty average video clip.

5.1 Isolated Score: Available only on the Theatrical version this audio track provides music and selected effects only. It is only encoded using Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps, but is still great to hear how much goes into the music in a movie like this.throughout the movie. Very cool, but perhaps a little gruesome for some, especially if you walk in part way and don't realise they are props!

Trust No One: Can The X-Files remain a secret? (1:26:01): Split up into three segments ("You Can Go Home Again", "Misinformation", "Don't Give Up") this is the biggest and bulkiest documentarty which looks the pre-production, production and short post production on the movie. There is also extensive discussion about trying to keep the plot and filming of the movie a secret in this digital/internet age. There is some repetition here (especially with different people repeating the same line), but it is quite a detailed look at the making of this movie with plenty of behind the scenes footage.

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Guess what Dana Scully will find here!
Body Parts: Special Makeup Effects (8:12): This is a great look at the numerous body parts used throughout the movie. Very cool, but perhaps a little gruesome for some, especially if you walk in part way and don't realise they are props!

Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production (6:16): Kudos to the Chris Carter and the movie studio for providing this featurette which talks about the cars, printing fewer scripts, getting the caterers to create compost from scraps, source food from within 100km to reduce transportatio effects, biodegradable plates and so on.

Gag Reel (9:49/HD): A lenthy sequence of mistakes and gags during the filming of the movie. Impressively this is presented in HD, and there's some entertaining footage here.

OVERALL
While it's not the best movie ever made - far from it - X-Files fans will certainly enjoy everyone coming back to make another film. Technically this disc is impressive and there's also a decent set of extras. X-Files: I Want To Believe is one for the fans to check out.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
7/10
THE VIDEO
7.5/10
THE AUDIO
9/10
THE EXTRAS
6/10
OVERALL
7/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Fox. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.