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The X-Files: I Want to Believe


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#1 K Borowski

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 08:19 PM

This comes as a big surprise, as the TV show was always shot on 500- or 800T film stock and the grain really added to the stories. Also, apparantly this film is printed on Vision Premiere print stock, which I don't think I've ever seen projected before.

So I'm kinda surprised to find this mixed bag of shooting formats and Vis Premiere. I'm heading out the door to see it now and will be back with my reactions. Don't think I've ever seen the Genesis on the big screen, so hopefully it won't disappoint.
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 11:48 PM

Just got back from the movie a liittle while ago. Overall I'd say a mixed bag, not great, but worth if you're a fan seeing as it'll probably be the last X-Files production made.

First off, It was great to see that Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were still their old selves. They both looked a little bit older, but still in good shape. It bothered me the setup that they had where neither of them worked for the FBI anymore. Also, Xzibit from Pimp My Ride gave a dismal performance. In one case Scully does the pimping on him! Guess he won't be working on her Ford from the movie. . .

Supporting cast was pretty lackluster overall, except for the Russians, who were interesting. Of course, it doesn't help that they speak badly-accented Russian the whole time with no subtitles. Having taken three years of the language, I still had trouble due to very poor accents, so not sure what they were going for there.

The story basically, without giving anything away, revolves around the use of stem cells. It draws into question the Catholic Church's policy of discouraging the use of stem cells in medical procedures and tries to question whether their use really is "monstrous" by drawing parallels between stem-cells and "Frankensteining" human beings and animals together. This is all well and good, save for one fundamental flaw. . . As a more-or-less practicing Catholic, I can say with certainty that the Catholic Church has no qualms with the use of stem cells in medical procedures whatsover. It takes issue with the use of stem cells derived from aborted fetuses, as the Catholic faith is against all forms of abortion and it is logical to oppose the use of stem cells derived in a manner they consider immoral.

So we have a IDK how many million dollar movie with a fundamental flaw in it because someone wants to villify Catholics and didn't bother to get off their lazy asses and actually find out what the Catholic Church's stance on stem cells IS :blink:

I also find the whole angle with the paedofile priest to be odd, although the actor who played him gave a good performance in spite of rather weak script material.


I've read other reviews that praised this film's cinematography. I can render no such praise. Cinematography was really unremarkable, save for a few night shots. The X-Files look with deep shadows is no where to be found although the DP lucked out in that the DI made the grain very noticible. I won't give him credit for intentionally generating it. Unfortunately, unlike "Wanted" digital did make it into this movie. I'd assumed that it'd probalby be just used in the night shots, which was the case for the most part, and in the Russian hideout, but unfortunatly for me, a great deal of this movie takes place at night. The Genesis did no better than the F900 and Viper did in Collateral. I think there were a few shots that I didn't notice because it looked just like film, mainly low light night shots, but every shot it had to handle with a highlight it stuck out like a sore thumb. What was the motivation behind this, to save money? Shoot 16mm, push a couple of stops, but don't cut back and forth between formats that are like night and day. Ick. IDK why they even did a DI on this film, although maybe it had something to do with a S35 to anamorphic finish. There were relatively few CG effects, so it didn''t seem worth it when they could have just shot anamorphic right off the bat.

Other problems were the setting: West Virginia in the winter. They wisely concealed the price of gas to avoid dating this movie before it was released for the part when Mulder is at the gas station, but why on Earth would they date it by setting it in the winter and releasing it in the middle of the summer? Maybe they're throwing a bone to you Aussies, South Americans, South Asians, and Africans on this board ;) Also, snow is also not conducive to the deep shadow dramatic look of this film, as it makes getting black harder. I don't like snow that isn't photographed as white unless it is under vapor lamps. It was blue, yellow, green, and very briefly white in this film. Not only should you not eat the yellow snow, you shouldn't photograph it either. . .

Again, if you are an X-Files fan this movie is worth seeing as it does tie up some of the things we've always wanted to see tied up on the show for Mulder, Scully, and the series. It's just like the first one, a big extended episode, and the script isn't very original, something that looks like a rehashed cold war movie with Russian scientists and all, just dressed up with stem cells and paedofile priests.

Also, talk about a waste of perfectly good Vision Premiere print stock, DIs, grainy Super 35 originated film and genesis material is the best they can print on this stuff? It still didn't bring the blacks back to where they can and should be for an X-Files production. THe truth is, sadly, not here in this movie; the truth is [still] out there. . .
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 11:58 PM

SORRY, WON'T LET ME EDIT. PLEASE DISREGARD POST ABOVE THIS ONE. . .

Just got back from the movie a little while ago. Overall I'd say a mixed bag, not great, but worth if you're a fan seeing as it'll probably be the last X-Files production made.

First off, It was great to see that Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were still their old selves. They both looked a little bit older, but still in good shape. It bothered me the setup that they had where neither of them worked for the FBI anymore. Also, Xzibit from Pimp My Ride gave a dismal performance. In one case Scully does the pimping on him! Guess he won't be working on her Ford from the movie back at his "crib". Stick to cars X-zib!

Supporting cast was pretty lackluster overall, except for the Russians, who were interesting. Of course, it doesn't help that they speak badly-accented Russian the whole time with no subtitles. Having taken three years of the language, I still had trouble due to very poor accents of the talent, so not sure what they were going for there, except the confusion and open-endedness that has become a hallmark of this series.

The story basically, without giving anything away, revolves around the use of stem cells. It draws into question, allegorically, the Catholic Church's policy of discouraging the use of stem cells in medical procedures and tries to question whether their use really is "monstrous" by drawing parallels between stem-cells and "Frankensteining" human beings and animals together. This is all well and good, save for one fundamental flaw. . . As a more-or-less practicing Catholic, I can say with certainty that the Catholic Church has no qualms with the use of stem cells in medical procedures whatsover. It takes issue with the use of stem cells derived from aborted fetuses, as the Catholic faith is against all forms of abortion and it is logical to oppose the use of stem cells derived in a manner they consider immoral.

So we have a IDK-how-many-million-dollar movie with a fundamental flaw in it because someone wants to villify Catholics and didn't bother to get off their lazy asses and actually find out what the Catholic Church's stance on stem cells is. The writers for this movie should have spent a little bit less time drinking and striking and a bit more time doing research :blink:

I also find the whole angle with the paedofile priest to be odd, although the actor who played him gave a good performance in spite of rather weak script material. Feels like they just threw it in there to give it a modern feel.

I've read other reviews that praised this film's cinematography. I can render no such praise. Cinematography was really unremarkable, save for a few night shots. The X-Files look with deep shadows is no where to be found although the DP lucked out in that the DI and Super 35mm sourced material made the grain very noticible. I won't give him credit for intentionally generating it. Unfortunately, unlike "Wanted" digital did make it into this movie. I'd assumed that it'd probalby be just used in the night shots, which was the case for the most part, and in the Russian hideout, but unfortunatly for me, a great deal of this movie takes place at night. The Genesis did no better than the F900 and Viper did in Collateral. I think there were a few shots that I didn't notice because it looked just like film, mainly low light night shots, but every shot it had to handle with a highlight it stuck out like a sore thumb. What was the motivation behind this, to save money? Shoot 16mm, push a couple of stops, but don't cut back and forth between formats that are like night and day. Ick. IDK why they even did a DI on this film, although maybe it had something to do with a S35 to anamorphic finish. Again though, the grain from an optical blowup would have served the look much better in trying to follow the look of the grainy, 800T show. There were relatively few CG effects, so they could have even shot anamorphic right off the bat, and pushed even more for night stuff.

Other problems were the setting: West Virginia in the winter. They wisely concealed the price of gas to avoid dating this movie before it was released for the part when Mulder is at the gas station, but why on Earth would they date it by setting it in the winter and releasing it in the middle of the summer? Maybe they're throwing a bone to you Aussies, South Americans, South Asians, and Africans on this board ;) Also, snow is also not conducive to the deep shadow dramatic look of this film, as it makes getting black harder. I don't like snow that isn't photographed as white unless it is under vapor lamps. It was blue, yellow, green, and very briefly white in this film. Not only should you not eat the yellow snow, you shouldn't photograph it either. . .

Again, if you are an X-Files fan this movie is worth seeing as it does tie up some of the things we've always wanted to see tied up on the show for Mulder, Scully, and the series. It's just like the first one, a big extended episode, and the script isn't very original, something that looks like a rehashed cold war movie with Russian scientists and all, just dressed up with stem cells and paedofile priests. To steal something I've read in another review, it really was like an episode of "CSI : West Virginia" with Mulder and Scully as two guest stars. Maybe these guys should have made a "Space: Above and Beyond" movie instead!

Also, talk about a waste of perfectly good Vision Premiere print stock, DIs, grainy Super 35 originated film and genesis material is the best they can print on this stuff? It still didn't bring the blacks back to where they can and should be for an X-Files production. THe truth is, sadly, not here in this movie; the truth is [still] out there. . .
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#4 Alessandro Malfatti

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 12:58 PM

fu**ing Mexican release isn't until August 8th... They got The Dark Night on the same day as in the U.S., why the Tacopie don't they get this one out on the same day? But I guess it beats the wait for Grindhouse (never came, I've recently seen some advertising for Death Proof...). It's just amazing how long it sometimes takes until a movie comes out, they don't even dub them! Are the distribution rights an issue? I bet it's just cheaper releasing the films later than in the U.S.... Oh well, the thread will probably be dead by the time I get to see the X-Files. And the theatres will probably be as full as a taco is full of grease, on the day of the release (No, they haven't invented numbered seats yet but in a single theatre in the whole country, and its far away from my home).
Wow, is this O/T or what.
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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 01:20 PM

Well Alessandro, this thread was dead on arrival, so I am willing to talk about it if you are!

I guess I'm the only one on the board that saw it in the U.S. . .
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#6 Alessandro Malfatti

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 06:24 PM

Ouch, I wonder what ever happened to all X-Files fans out there? Guess they went to see The Dark Knight, hahaha.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 09:34 AM

Ouch, I wonder what ever happened to all X-Files fans out there? Guess they went to see The Dark Knight, hahaha.


Yeah, I think you are right. Then they couldn't afford to spend any more of their college-living-expense money on movies for the month! ;)
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 09:58 PM

The AC article this month kinda shocked me. They said there were even some POV shots in a chase scene and I believe a jib/crane shot achieved with a Panasonic HVX200, recording to P2 cards.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 10:58 PM

I'm glad I wasn't the only one to be surprised by those tech specs in the article. I had to thumb back a few pages to make sure I didn't accidentally look at some other movie's specs.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 01:42 AM

The AC article this month kinda shocked me. They said there were even some POV shots in a chase scene and I believe a jib/crane shot achieved with a Panasonic HVX200, recording to P2 cards.


And I'm glad I wasn't seeing things. They shot FARRRR too much with this camera, car interiors, POVs, and a whole bunch of night shots from the film screamed HVX200, and not in a good way.

Shame on you X-Files!

Well, at least Gillian Anderson is still a *temptress* a decade later. I wish she were my doctor in that shot where she comes into the boy's room in those tight white stockings :wub:
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#11 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 05:37 AM

I saw a digital print of this yesterday and thought it looked pretty good. Nice moody work very reminiscent of the series. The genesis footage looked slightly sharper then the film footage, and had a few motion artifacts but on the whole i thought it cut together well. From what ive heard they didnt use much of the p2 footage because they weren't happy with how it intercut. Really enjoyed the mixed lighting of the interiors in the film's climax. Movie was average.
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#12 K Borowski

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:06 AM

I saw a digital print of this yesterday and thought it looked pretty good. Nice moody work very reminiscent of the series. The genesis footage looked slightly sharper then the film footage, and had a few motion artifacts but on the whole i thought it cut together well. From what ive heard they didnt use much of the p2 footage because they weren't happy with how it intercut. Really enjoyed the mixed lighting of the interiors in the film's climax. Movie was average.


Not to start a film vs. digital flame war, but the only thing I noticed about Genesis that was different than film was that all the highlights were blown out and teh skintones were terrible. So IDK how you can say it was sharper. It looked decidedly mushy and stood out like a sore thumb every time.

Too bad they didn't go with the grit of the old 800T stock that was used for much of the series. Sad to know it'll probably be the last X-Files work of any kind, and a flop at that.
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#13 John Holland

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:17 AM

Karl you know very well my feelings about the film/digital battle . I havent seen this film and prob, wont bother . Stephen saw a digital presentation you saw a film print , this is my arguement . Its a complete waste of time shooting digital and then going to a film print it just doesnt work , so until there are enough good Digital projectors around the world please everyone dont shoot digital for a filmout it just looks poop . end of whinge .
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:22 AM

John, I (unintentionally) saw digital projection once, making it worse it was really really close to the screen. If I hadn't been with friends, I would've walked out and demanded a refund.

*Nothing* was sharp, CGI or the film elements. So IDK how that'll make things any better, unless it's a 4K projector.

But I really really love when people talk about how sharp digital is and I see the same thing and it looks like crap. I am certain it would have looked bad on a 2K projector too, maybe not *as* bad, but still bad.

And the cuts were pretty jarring. I thought Genesis stuff would be hard to tell apart, but it really wasn't. I was sitting pretty far back, with (probably dirty) old-prescription glasses too!

IDK. I still think that people who play up digital must have some agenda. Granted I have one too, I want film to continue to endure and to "shut out" digital for as long as possible in this industry, but let me say that this in no way influences my evaluative abilities.

If I see digital that looks as-good-as- or better-than film, I'll get off my high horse and say so!

As the old saying goes: "Impress me with your knowledge, don't baffle me with your bullshit."
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#15 Alessandro Malfatti

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 12:58 PM

Ach, calm down. I finally went to see it yesterday, and if you're that pissed about some faults in the projection you surely wouldn't survive watching it here in Mexico. Sharpness? What's that? And scratches don't seem to bother anyone either. And the sound, oh yes, the sound, it sometimes changed totally from being a bit louder and with more treble and less base, to being less loud, with more base. Just like that. At one point someone was fooling around with the mask for some reason, leaving the soundtrack area visible for a few seconds, weird huh? ;)
Anyway, I liked the movie, I had hoped the plot would have been related to the whole X-Files mythology, but I didn't expect it, it had been said that it would be like an extended tv episode. And that's just what I thought it was. But I liked the way it was done, giving out very little details about the actual plot throughout the movie, so you didn't know what was really going on until you saw the last portion of the film. And yes, Xzhibit's performance was the big wart of bad acting in this movie, but also the only major fault I found.
Maybe it was the terrible projection, but could you give me some examples of which scenes were shot digitally? I didn't notice at all (maybe I was paying just too much attention to the storyline).
Anyway, I gave the film a solid 8 rating on IMDB, very good, but inferior to the first movie.
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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 06:51 PM

Ach, calm down. I finally went to see it yesterday, and if you're that pissed about some faults in the projection you surely wouldn't survive watching it here in Mexico. Sharpness? What's that? And scratches don't seem to bother anyone either. And the sound, oh yes, the sound, it sometimes changed totally from being a bit louder and with more treble and less base, to being less loud, with more base. Just like that. At one point someone was fooling around with the mask for some reason, leaving the soundtrack area visible for a few seconds, weird huh? ;)
Anyway, I liked the movie, I had hoped the plot would have been related to the whole X-Files mythology, but I didn't expect it, it had been said that it would be like an extended tv episode. And that's just what I thought it was. But I liked the way it was done, giving out very little details about the actual plot throughout the movie, so you didn't know what was really going on until you saw the last portion of the film. And yes, Xzhibit's performance was the big wart of bad acting in this movie, but also the only major fault I found.
Maybe it was the terrible projection, but could you give me some examples of which scenes were shot digitally? I didn't notice at all (maybe I was paying just too much attention to the storyline).
Anyway, I gave the film a solid 8 rating on IMDB, very good, but inferior to the first movie.


In my book, it's a 6 out of ten at best. I saw a top-notch film projection, brand new print, brand new theatre, brand new 35mm projectors, and paid dearly for it.

A lot of the driving shots at night were digital. The shot that stuck out like a sore thumb for being digital is the agent locked up in the box in the Russian lab and her hand is sticking out of a hole and her fingers are blown out because the Genesis or whatever they used couldn't handle the dynamic range.
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#17 Antti Näyhä

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:28 AM

And the sound, oh yes, the sound, it sometimes changed totally from being a bit louder and with more treble and less base, to being less loud, with more base. Just like that.

That's the digital track "dropping out" momentarily and being automatically replaced by the analog backup sound. The reason is either worn-out copies (on some prints/projectors the digital track can be almost completely worn out in a couple of weeks!) or badly calibrated digital sound readers, or a combination of both.

By careful calibration, the difference between digital and analog sound can be made much less audible. However, if there are a lot of drop-outs, it's often preferable to switch out the digital sound altogether in my opinion. The lower quality of analog sound is less irritating than constant back-and-forth changing between the two soundtracks.

I don't think I'm going to see I Want to Believe.
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#18 Alessandro Malfatti

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:36 AM

Worn out copies? You can say that again. I just mentioned in another post how the The Dark Knight IMAX copy was in pristine condition, my guess is that it was an imported print and that IMAX don't take kindly on scratched prints, wish they'd treat all prints like that.
It's your choice if you don't want to see it, but unless you're a real X-Files fan, you're not missing out on too much. Kinda Sad. It's almost as sad as me not really thinking that Karl's 6 out of 10 rating is unjustified.
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#19 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 11:46 PM

Saw it tonight, was greatly disappointed in the content. It was like a long and drawn out episode, honestly.

The very first shot of the film, a jib shot from some power lines to a car driving down a snowy road, had that digital look of HVX. After that I stopped looking for it though.
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