Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Only X-Files Review That Really Matters

The new X-Files film got destroyed by Batmania Redux, but at their core the two films address the same root problem- how bad religion, bad politics, radical selfishness and the canonization of materialism have destroyed the heart and soul of Western Civilization, and replaced it with something dead, hard and extremely cold.

The brutal cost-cutting measures at our media outlets have replaced the great movie critics of yesteryear with a bunch of perennial C students willing to work for peanuts- or for nothing. And the appalling mediocrity- and herd mentality- of their thinking has probably steered you towards as many mediocre films as it has with me. And sadly, the ill-informed reviews also steered people away from this film (at least in the theaters, I'm sure this will be well-rented). There are a few real critics (as opposed to reviewers) left, and happily, they have understood a film that isn't about explosions and CGI and car crashes-it's about facing up to the malaise we are all suffering from.

Under the subheadline, "Mulder and Scully aren't just trying in vain to revive a dated franchise. This time, they're in search of a remedy for the spiritual malaise of the West," David Cox writes:

In his film, the message is laid on with what at first seems like excessive and unpersuasive zeal. The wintry Virginia landscape is as unforgivingly frozen as our own faithless world. In enforced retirement, Mulder clings stubbornly to his belief that there are more things in heaven and earth than Horatio dreams of. This leads him to endorse the apparently psychic visions of a paedophile priest, who in turn trusts in God's forgiveness. Scully is the sceptic on all of these counts, but puts her faith in untried medical treatments (she's now a doctor) and the God of the Roman Catholics.

By which of this rag-bag of beliefs are we expected to set store, we ask through much of the action. However, as in the best police procedurals, purport awaits the denouement. It turns out that the priest may be a faker who's in on the crime. Or, he may not. Faith doesn't deliver truth. It doesn't necessarily deliver happy outcomes, either. The fate of the child that Scully is treating remains unresolved.

Where we should actually place our faith turns out to be up to us. The Foxes (20th Century and Mulder) not only challenge the claims of truth, but neglect equally to endorse freedom, justice, religion or the American way. The quest for belief itself, however, is now so serious, apparently, that we mustn't squander it on indulgences, like the extra-terrestrials of the TV show. Faith is the key to fighting crucial battles. We cannot simply duck out of these, since the darkness finds us, not we it. Faith is what preserves our ability to press on in the face of the horror of it all. We must therefore embrace it, not scorn it.

But, of course, I would argue that even Faith itself is no longer useful- we must replace it with Knowledge. Or our civilization is finished.

Entertainment Weekly is getting in on the anti-critic backlash as well.

UPDATE: Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz are not backing down and groveling before the C-Student Mafia for forgiveness.
CARTER: Well first of all we're not a big-budget blockbuster! I mean to be fair, we couldn't have picked a worse week to open in the States. We opened in the shadow of The Dark Knight and so... I mean this is a modest budget movie. It is not a blockbuster movie -- it does not have a lot of the big CG and the big action sequences -- it's a really emotional story that's very, very scary at the same time.


  1. I'd choose seeing X-Files over Batman anyday...

    I think Faith however is a nice compliment to Knowledge, because we certainly cannot explain everything, though knowledge and faith (I choose family and friends first on that one) do go well hand in hand. Also, the "I Want To Believe" I think is directly aimed at the viewer. Belief in oneself. I just don't like the "Trust No One" thing even though I do run mostly conspiratorial posts! LOL

    Cheers Chris for standing up against the reviewers.

  2. It's definitely a high quality flick, Skaggsie. Very reminiscent of the 70s flicks that influenced the show in the first place. And after all the crap shoved down my throat by the so-called "critics" I feel like seeing it is an act of defiance.

  3. hi Chris,

    1. I never saw one X-files before this movie.
    2. I looked forward to seeing it since i had read most of the comparison between the
    egyptian God mythology and x-files - which I found fascinating. For that I understood the William reference in the movie.
    3. It seemed to me like a made-for-Tv movie, melodramitic soap opera, in a good way, since they were concerned and emotional over issues which deserve it.
    4. Scully and fox seemed like twins or perhaps, "specially gifted in an handicapped way," people who spoke a special language with each other, that no one else really understand easily.
    5. I especially appreciated the love story between them and can understand how that could become addictive.
    6. the treating humans as though animals - as animals are used in experimentation, made sense since this is a hugh underground issue in this culture - treatment of animals.
    7. Seems to deal with subjects in a "weird" way so very serious subjects will not be threatening.
    8. The picutre on my icon for the synchromystic forum and on my blog was a screen shot taken from the "History channels" coverage of the 9/11 Truth movement. I was caught writing "9/11 The Truth is Out There" on a monument in Union Square. I was criticized strongly on the fake site "911blogger" for using a motto from the x-files. Al Duffy (who also never saw one episode of the show or knew it from anything, he's a homeless or quasi-homeless artist) had just made up the slogan. No one believed us.


  4. --Spoiler Warning--

    First time comment from me Mr. Knowles. I have been reading your blog for a few months now. As someone who was heavily involved with a fundamentalist religion, who then drifted towards dogmatic liberal / left / socialist / anarchist ideologies, I have now slowly moved towards a more humble, searching attitude towards the hidden messages and meaning in our global culture. Your blog is like a glass of water on a hot day. Thank you.

    I only ever watched about a dozen episodes of the X-Files TV series, so I was certainly not familiar with the dense mythology of the X-Files. I did not intend to see the movie because of my lack of background knowledge.

    When the movie opened here in Australia, I was on vacation in a tiny seaside town and was away from the internet and other media outlets, so I had not been exposed to any negativity regarding the movie. Being on vacation, I had time to kill so I went to the local cinema to see what was playing. I had already seen 'The Dark Knight' and I was not in the mood to see 'Mamma Mia', so I bought a ticket to Mulder and Scully's latest adventure...

    When the final credits rolled I felt strangely uplifted and moved by the two protagonists' trials and evolving relationship, despite the bleakness they both were up to their necks in. Further into the end credits when an aerial view was presented of Mulder and Scully rowing a boat in a beautiful emerald green sea, a lump formed in my throat!

    'The Dark Knight' was very slick and impressive, however I felt that I had been strapped into a chair and punched in the head several times at the end. The X-Files however was strangely life affirming. It is very frustrating that there is a herd mentality present amongst our cultural commentators regarding this fine piece of entertainment.

  5. Very nice comments, Tim and Peggy. I'm very glad you not only enjoyed the film but got something more out of it as well. That's what art is supposed to be about. A film shouldn't just be a thrill ride, it should offer food for the soul.

  6. True faith though is knowledge that just hasn't found a way to be proven or expressed into words yet. It's not something you wish was true or you hope is true - you know it is true, you just can't prove it to anyone other than yourself.

    One of the most tragic things about the way attitudes to life have gone for me is the way that what often claims to be the highest forms of spiritual thought say that truth is just some concept that doesn't really exist, and is down to points of view and opinions only.

    While I agree that at bedrock level you can only really know that you exist and not much beyond that (ie - there is you that perceives and thinks and, is), there's still truth in the sense that certain specific things took place, and have played out in specific ways. Even if they change! even if "the band you're playing in starts playing different tunes" - then the truth is that it happened that way, and it did not happen some other way.

    So if someone were to say, "but what is truth?", you could say "well truth is that you just asked me what truth is; you did not ask me some other question. If I were to now claim you asked me something else instead then I'd be lying and not telling the truth."
    And if they then said, "but how can you know this is really happening, and isn't an illusion?", then you could say "well then the truth is that I am indeed subject to some type of illusion, if an illusion this is; and further to that the truth is that as yet I have no exact means of determining what is illusion and what is real."

    Truth prevails.

  7. One thing to ponder is the fact that Melinda McGraw (who played Scully's sister Melissa) portrays James Gordon's wife in "The Dark Knight." Not sure what to make of that...


  8. Thanks for the tip, Jason. And thanks as always to everyone for contributing with your comments!

  9. http://www.southafrica.to/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=116524&p=146721