If I'm honest I did too. Wanted to believe that is. As a bit of a closest 'X-Files' fan who spent much of the late 1990s following the adventures of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, hopes were high when series creator Chris Carter announced he was reuniting the duo on the big screen.

The story picks up six years after the end of the series, with Mulder (Duchovny) now a recluse and in hiding from the FBI, while Scully (Anderson) has returned to medicine and works as a doctor in a run-down hospital.

However, this being 'The X-Files', spooky shenanigans are afoot and it's not long before the duo are reluctantly dragged back in to help the FBI find a missing agent, with the help of ex-priest Father Joe (Connolly). It's at this point that the first misgivings about the film begin to surface.

Connolly is hopelessly miscast in his role and despite his best efforts to make it work, it's tough to believe one of the world's finest comedians as a sinister former-priest with a psychic link to the case. It's almost impossible to suspend disbelief anytime he's involved, and as a central character in the film this leaves '...I Want to Believe' feeling almost like a pastiche at times.

Connolly isn't the only curious casting choice, a wooden Xzibit - yes that's 'Pimp my Ride's 'X to the Z' Xzibit - turns up as FBI agent Mosley Drummy, a one-dimensional disbelieving character whose only real purpose is to set up a cameo from cult series star Agent Skinner (Pileggi).

The relationship between Mulder and Scully, which was central to the success of the television series is as taut as ever with Scully's scepticism balancing out Mulder's desperate need to believe, but much of the chemistry and sexual tension between the two has evaporated, leaving the film hinging on the weak story.

In an effort to appeal to those unfamiliar with the series, '...I Want to Believe', is a stand alone film, almost unrelated to the over-reaching story arc that kept fans hooked through the course of the television show's eight-year run, so don't expect any secret government conspiracy, alien abduction or anything else that 'The X-Files' became synonymous with.

Instead Carter has settled for a weak serial-killer tale, that's more reminiscent of a watered-down 'Se7en' and one that struggles to engage the audience. It shows none of the originality or inventiveness that the TV series enjoyed, dipping after the initial burst of nostalgia in the opening 30 minutes before lapsing into the kind of story that would have been a weak filler episode during the show's heyday.

Which is a shame because failure at the box-office is likely to put paid to the chances of anything more from Mulder and Scully. While '...I Want to Believe' disappoints on nearly every level, there's still the potential for a great 'X-Files' film, if only the writers would show a little more ambition.

Rob Wright

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