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The X Files: I Want to Believe

Blu Ray

  • Score
    65
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 'I Want to Believe' disappoints fans but offers quality Blu-ray features; it's worth a fresh look.

    The X Files: I Want to Believe Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    70
  • 'I Want to Believe' Blu-ray reproduces its theatrical experience with excellent detail and contrast, minor video-to-film transition issues, and stylistic out-of-focus effects, mostly preserving its natural, film-like quality without digital flaws.

  • Audio
    70
  • I Want to Believe's Blu-ray features an eloquently atmospheric DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, focusing on clear dialogue and Mark Snow's creepy score, with minimal high-decibel scenes.

  • Extra
    67
  • The Blu-ray offers an array of special features including an interactive timeline, exclusive commentary, and various behind-the-scenes content, appealing to fans' diverse interests.

  • Movie
    60
  • 'The X Files: I Want to Believe' disappoints fans with a lackluster story, despite Duchovny and Anderson's engaging performances, failing to reignite the franchise's former glory.

    Video: 70

    I Want to Believe" presents itself on Blu-ray with a commendable 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer, maintaining the movie's original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. This transfer proficiency reflects the theatrical presentation closely, emphasizing the dual medium of 35mm film and high-definition video cameras utilized during production. The shifts between these mediums, however, introduce occasional visual inconsistencies. Notably, during numerous nocturnal scenes where bright lights intersect darkness, viewers might discern banding—a flaw also observed in its theatrical release, hence not attributable to the Blu-ray's transfer quality. Despite these sporadic disturbances, the transfer excels in avoiding edge enhancement and digital noise, underscoring a clean, unblemished digital presentation. The visual experience is further enriched by outstanding contrast and shadow detail, putting forth a clear and distinct image that faithfully replicates the film’s intended aesthetic.

    The photography style chosen for "I Want to Believe," with its reliance on handheld camera work especially in exterior sequences, contributes to a somewhat limited depth of field and occasionally soft focus. This stylistic decision, affecting some of the film's longer, panning shots between characters, is not a detraction caused by the Blu-ray encoding process but rather a deliberate artistic choice that may not appeal to all viewers. However, it’s crucial to note that compared to its predecessor 'Fight the Future,' this Blu-ray showcases a superior rendition with negligible edge ringing and an absence of color banding, macroblocking, digital compression errors, or noise reduction artifacts.

    Overall, "I Want to Believe" achieves a film-like quality on Blu-ray that is both natural and minimally processed. The film’s inherent dark, slightly grainy aesthetic is faithfully preserved without exacerbating noise. Although the picture might appear soft at times, it doesn't seem filtered, holding onto the grainy texture characteristic of "The X Files' " unique visual tone. While minor issues like edge ringing are present, they do little to detract from the overall high-quality video presentation that fans and cinephiles will appreciate for its authenticity to the theatrical experience.

    Audio: 70

    The Blu-ray release of "The X Files: I Want to Believe" is equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that enriches the viewing experience with a masterful blend of sound. Right from the outset, viewers are greeted with a powerfully bass-driven soundscape that sets a chilling tone, an aspect that while it tapers to a more subdued aura as the film progresses, remains palpably immersive. Despite the narrative’s leaning towards dialogue over dynamic action sequences, the audio mix does not shy away from moments of low-end vigor and encompassing surround sound, albeit sparingly. The sound design meticulously balances atmospheric tension with crystal-clear articulation of dialogue, ensuring that even the most hushed exchanges are discernible, while Mark Snow’s haunting musical score is presented with exceptional clarity, further amplifying the film’s eerie mood.

    Unlike typical action-packed blockbusters, "I Want to Believe" favors a meticulous approach to its audio presentation. The majority of the film revolves around intensive conversations and it is in this aspect that the soundtrack excels, ensuring every nuance of dialogue is captured and conveyed with precision. This focus on clarity and ambience over sheer sound intensity serves to enhance the story's atmospheric tension rather than detract from it. Nevertheless, when required, the soundtrack delivers robust sound sequences that momentarily elevate the home theater experience.

    In conclusion, "The X Files: I Want to Believe" on Blu-ray offers an audiophile an experience that is both understated and effective. The judicious use of bass and seamless integration of sound elements—from dialogue to ambient noises and the score—creates an audio landscape that is immersive without being overpowering. For fans and newcomers alike, the film’s soundscape is a testament to how audio can subtly yet significantly enhance storytelling, maintaining fidelity throughout and proving that in the realm of sound design, less can indeed be more.

    Extra: 67

    Fox's Blu-ray release of "The X Files: I Want to Believe" impresses with an expansive set of special features that cater to both newcomers and die-hard fans alike. Key highlights include an interactive timeline that allows for an in-depth exploration of the series' lore, audio commentary from Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz providing insights into the film's production, and an isolated music score that will delight audiophiles and score enthusiasts. The inclusion of a feature-length documentary provides a comprehensive look into the challenges faced during the movie's development, offering viewers a deep dive into the filmmaking process. Exclusive to the Blu-ray are BD-Live features and D-Box motion codes, enhancing the viewing experience with interactive elements and physical feedback. However, it's the well-curated mix of high-definition featurettes, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes content that rounds out this package, making it an essential addition for collectors and fans seeking to fully immerse themselves in the X-Files universe.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary with Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz: Insights into the film's creation.
    • The X-Files Complete Interactive Timeline: An engaging way to explore the series' lore.
    • Picture-in-Picture Commentary with Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz: Additional perspectives on the film.
    • The X-Files Dossier: Agent Dakota Whitney Files: Interactive avatar profile and forensic challenges.
    • Isolated Score Track: For Music and score enthusiasts.
    • Body Parts: Special Make-up Effects Featurette: Behind-the-scenes on gore effects.
    • Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production Featurette: The director's approach to sustainability.
    • Deleted Scenes: Extra content cut from the final film.
    • Gag Reel: Humorous flubs and slip-ups.
    • Music Slideshow - Dying 2 Live by Xzibit: A unique take on production photos.
    • Theatrical Trailers: Promotional material for the film.
    • Still Galleries: Including collectibles, concept art, storyboards, and unit photography.
    • In-Movie Features via BD Remote Direct Access: Includes Real-time Index, BonusView Commentary, Behind The Camera features, Storyboards, and Concept Art.

    Movie: 60

    The X Files: I Want to Believe" arrives on Blu-ray as a testament to the enduring appeal of one of the 1990s' most innovative television shows. Despite the excitement surrounding its release, the film faced a harsh reception from critics and a lackluster performance at the box office, failing to recapture the fervent audience of its heyday. Set years after the series' conclusion, the narrative reintroduces viewers to Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), now a doctor, and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), hiding from the FBI he once served. The film unfurls around the disappearance of an FBI agent, with only a defrocked priest claiming psychic visions to guide Mulder and Scully's return to the investigative fray. Unlike its predecessor and much of the series that inspired it, "I Want to Believe" forgoes the franchise's rich tapestry of aliens and government conspiracies for a "Monster of the Week" story that, paradoxically, contains neither monsters nor the expected paranormal punch.

    Critics and fans alike have noted that while the film effectively maintains a creepy atmosphere and offers satisfying nods to the series' legacy, it notably diverts from expected X-Files lore, focusing more on human horror than extraterrestrial or supernatural phenomena. This direction could be seen as a missed opportunity to delve into the rich mythological aspects long associated with the series. Despite these criticisms, the performances of Duchovny and Anderson shine through, their chemistry and deep understanding of their characters providing a nostalgic return to form for longtime viewers. However, moments of questionable directorial choices and perceived laziness in the screenplay have not gone unnoticed.

    "I Want to Believe," thus, stands as a curious entity within the X-Files continuum. It garners appreciation for bringing Mulder and Scully back into the fold and attempts to serve both die-hard aficionados and potentially new fans with its standalone narrative approach. Yet, it struggles to fully satisfy either demographic, falling short of rejuvenating the franchise or offering a compelling new chapter for its protagonists. Nevertheless, the film's release in high-definition Blu-ray offers both a visually and audibly enhanced viewing experience. This includes an Extended Cut with additional footage, aiming to perhaps address some narrative shortcomings and providing a fuller experience for those still wishing to believe.

    Total: 65

    The X Files: I Want to Believe" Blu-ray presents a paradox for the franchise’s fervent followers. Disappointment is a recurring sentiment among the fanbase, given the high expectations for a narrative that would seamlessly tie into the series' long-standing lore of extraterrestrial intrigue. Instead, viewers found themselves confronting a story significantly detached from the overarching alien narrative, leading to tempered enthusiasm for this installment. Despite this narrative shortfall, the technical execution of the Blu-ray edition merits applause. The release boasts exemplary video and audio quality, indicative of meticulous attention to the sensory aspects of home viewing. Supplemental materials are abundant and enriching; particularly noteworthy are the comprehensive making-of documentary and an innovative interactive timeline which offers fans a deep dive into the series' complex history.

    The film itself might diverge from the anticipated reunion with beloved characters engaging in cosmic confrontations, instead offering a more subdued, albeit misplaced, chapter in the saga of Mulder and Scully. This thematic pivot has not gone unnoticed by the series' loyalists, who yearned for a plot more reflective of the original series' essence. However, when assessing “I Want to Believe” on its individual merits—divorced from the burden of X-Files lore—it delivers a somber yet engaging exploration of its protagonists in a new light. The Blu-ray amplification of this experience through superior technical quality and insightful extras does provide a compelling case for giving this film another chance, albeit with recalibrated expectations.

    In conclusion, while "The X Files: I Want to Believe" may not fulfill the grandiose expectations set by its television predecessor, its Blu-ray incarnation offers a silver lining through stellar audiovisual fidelity and a generous suite of bonus features. These technical enhancements and additional insights bestow upon the film a veneer of redemption, asserting its value as a supplementary, rather than central, piece of the X-Files puzzle. It stands as a testament to the franchise's enduring appeal, even when straying from its alien-centric roots, and serves as a nuanced epilogue for aficionados of Mulder and Scully's unparalleled partnership.