*There are spoilers here.*
I've been meaning to write this for a while, but wanted to wait until I could give The X-Files: I Want to Believe a second viewing, which I finally did yesterday, on beautiful Blu-Ray. I am a long-time X-Phile; the show, which I started watching around age 13, is one of my formative viewing experiences; I trace my current love for things ambiguous, fantastic and otherworldly squarely back to Chris Carter's brilliant creation. And I dissent in a big way from both the layman and fan consensus on I Want to Believe. I still think, as I did in the summer of 2008, that the movie is a fantastic X-Files episode. But more importantly, I still think it is a genuinely moving farewell to two beloved characters, and one of the most satisfying pieces of closure that any long-running series or franchise has ever given us.
One thing that I suspect threw people off was the movie's snowbound melancholy, replacing the apocalyptic terror of The X-Files' last big-screen outing, 1998's Fight the Future. There's some excitement here, and a few laughs, but the overall tone is more akin to "Beyond the Sea," the beloved, somber first-season episode that was more concerned with personal demons than actual ones. It's hard to fault moviegoers for expecting something bigger and louder out of what was, after all, pitched as the popular series' triumphant return. But it's also hard -- or at any rate it should be -- to fault Chris Carter and his team for wanting to take the movie in a different direction. Rather than have Mulder and Scully go out with a bang, they chose to put them to bed, give them a hug, and tuck in the covers.