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I am at a loss as to why so many critics gave indifferent or negative reviews to THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE ($40). Personally, I thought it was one of the best films of the 2008 summer season. What I especially liked about THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE is the fact that it was character driven; did not rely on big elaborate special effects in place of old-fashioned storytelling and served as a creepy, mystery/thriller in the best tradition of the television series stand-alone episodes. Of course, the biggest reason I really liked THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE is because it put the characters of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) back on the screen where they belong.

As THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE opens, we learn that Mulder and Scully are no longer with the FBI. Scully has gone back to the practice of medicine and is trying to save the life of a young boy with a rare neurological disorder. As for Mulder, it seems the bureau finally forced him out on trumped up charges, in addition to closing down The X-Files. However, the bureau lets Scully know they are willing to let bygone be bygones, if Mulder will assist them in their search for a missing female agent. After an initial reluctance, Mulder and Scully agree to assist and are brought to Washington by Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet). Agent Whitney advises Mulder she requires his expertise with the paranormal aspect of the investigation for the missing FBI Agent.

Father Joe Crissman (Billy Connolly) is a defrocked, pedophile Catholic priest, who claims he is being sent visions, in relation to the missing agent. As expected, Scully is hostile to Father Joe, but Mulder is able to overlook the manís past and recognize his ability. Eventually, Father Joe leads the Mulder and the FBI agents a dumping ground for human body parts, as well as well as the automobile belonging to another recently abducted victim. As Mulder races to try to find the abducted women, Scully works toward saving her young patient, and in doing so, makes a startling discovery regarding the reason why the missing women were abducted. The cast of THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE also features Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner, Mitch Pileggi, Callum Keith Rennie, Adam Godley, Xantha Radley, Sarah-Jane Redmond, Christopher "Fagin" Woodcock and Nicki Aycox.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Both the original Theatrical Version and the Extended Cut of the film are present on the disc. The 1080p presentations are fairly terrific. Image sharpness, clarity and fine detail are all very strong. Some softness creeps in, as there is a bit of smoke and diffusion applied to the cinematography. Colors are strongly rendered; both warm and cool, plus the flesh tones are pretty appealing. Blacks are pitch perfect and the whites are clean and crisp. The image can be a little contrasty in some of the outdoor sequences. Shadow detail is pretty strong. The elements from which THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE are transferred appear virtually pristine. Grain appears throughout the course of the movie and can be somewhat heavier in darker sequences, but it gives the presentation a slightly gritty and very film-like quality.

THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This is another superior soundtrack, although the sound design is smaller in scale than the first feature, which is in proportionate to the story the film is telling. Channel separations are clearly defined and the outlying channels are well utilized; sounds effortlessly pan around the soundstage, whenever required, in addition to the track creating realistic sonic environments. Fidelity is just great, producing a full-bodied musical component, as well as convincing sound effects. The bass channel is deep and adds an effective punch. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the filmís dialogue is generally very understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Animation and sound have been added to give the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director co-producer/writer/director Chris Carter and co-producer/writer Frank Spotnitz. There is also a Bonus View picture-in-picture Video Commentary featuring Carter and Spotnitz. Other Bonus View options include Real-time Index (Red Button) [alerts], Behind The Camera (Blue Button) [making of clips] and Storyboards And Concept Art (Yellow Button).

Trust No One: Can The X-Files Remain A Secret? is a three part program that runs eighty six minutes and offers a detailed look at the production. Featurettes include Body Parts: Special Make-up Effects and Chris Carter: Statements On Green Production. Filling out the supplement are an Isolated Score Track, Deleted Scenes, Still Galleries, a Gag Reel and a Music Slideshow: Dying 2 Live by Xzibit. THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

I am a long time fan of the series and really enjoyed THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE and look forward to a follow up feature that will explore the core mythology one more time. The Blu-ray release of THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE really looks and sounds quite impressive. Recommended.



The X-Files: I Want to Believe (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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