My non-spoilery reaction can be summed up like so: Much like Sex and the City, it was worth it because you knew the characters. I'm happy it was made, I'm happy I went to see it in theaters, and I will most certainly buy it on DVD, but on its own power, it didn't exactly blow me away and/or instill in me a need for much capslocking (EXCEPT FOR A FEW CERTAIN MOMENTS). It was just...nice. A little Christmas-in-July present for loyal fans. You don't argue a chance to go on one last adventure with Mulder and Scully; you just don't.
I saw it with Mom, who watched the show but wasn't nearly as huge a fan as I was. She came out of the theater with kind of the same response I had, about it being good but not amazing; she didn't think it had "that X-Files edge." She also thought part of what made it suffer was an overly political bend - like they were really trying to make a statement. Cited examples included the pointed (though clumsily inserted) comparison between George W. Bush and J. Edgar Hoover, pedophile priests, stem cell research, gay marriage (when they announced that little fact, I honestly thought Mom might die from trying to hold in her laughter - she was mouthing "of course! what next?"), and the weird atmosphere of the Catholic hospital full of not only priests but nuns in actual habits.
I dunno. I didn't really notice it that much, but I was also a lot more focused on MULDER AND SCULLY, MULDER AND SCULLY, MULDER AND SCULLYYYYYYYY!
I went into it hoping so hard that Scully's line from the promos about how "I don't work with Fox Mulder anymore" was just a front she was putting on, because I'm pretty sure my heart could not take it if they'd split up after that beautiful motel room ending in the series finale and been going their separate ways for any part of the past six years. Because that is Not Allowed. They set the eternal standard as far as lifelong partnerships on TV go; I've never had a doubt about their permanency over the interim and it would just be cruel and unusual punishment to take that belief away from me after all this time.
I clung to this belief throughout the whole beginning, all the way to Scully driving up to the house and going in ("Look! CLEARLY THEY LIVE IN THIS HOUSE TOGETHER. YES. SHUT UP, VOICE."), and then I saw recluse!eccentric!Mulder with his wild mountain man beard, and you could actually hear my heart plummet through the floorboards. Because that's exactly how you'd do it to me, wouldn't you, TPTB?? You'd make Mulder's obsessiveness eventually get to be too much for her to handle, and he'd hole himself up somewhere while she had to walk away and move on with a normal life, still caring about him but only as far as checking in once and a while. How do I know this? Because Scully would never put up with that beard if they were still together. Obviously.
My only consolation at this point was that somebody, somewhere, was going to write the story of how this happened and it would make a brilliant fanfic. And I would find this fic, yes I would, even if I had to search the internet for a year.
So, yeah. A subconscious part of my brain recognized that there was still a chance this was a fake-out, but it wasn't helped by the fact that Mulder and Scully just seemed uncomfortable around each other. I mean, the series finale? Mulder had been gone for a year, but they got back on screen together and the chemistry exploded just like it always had. This movie? Stilted. Awkward.
All such thoughts were washed away as soon as we saw them in bed. And while I was still wary for another minute, wondering if this was a random tumble into bed for old times' sake, it quickly became all about the pillow talk and snuggling and comforting cheek kisses (plus Scully was, you know, not naked! Which was pretty much the highlight for me as far as confirming comfortable routine went). "Scratchy beard." The delivery of that line, all cute and adorable, is the spark that finally brought my characters back to me - they were the same old familiar people, same perfect intimacy they've always had. At which point I died of joy as all my earlier fears were erased and replaced with OVERWHELMING SQUEE!!!!! I can justify the existence of the entire movie for this scene alone.
The squee kept right on rolling through the painfully extended "Mulder, I'm leaving you" scene and kept me sane. Oh wait, maybe that was because the promo totally gave away the fact that we still had a kiss coming, and it didn't seem like a particularly sad kiss. Plus it confirmed that I was not completely paranoid when I feared this had happened prior to the movie's opening. I dunno. I feel like if you're going to have some requisite relationship angst/conflict in a movie, this is a pretty safe way to go about it. Especially if you bookend it with cuddly bits.
Also, this scene is totally worth it to hear "we are two people who come home at night. To a home now." Before that I still suffered from a niggling fear that they were officially keeping separate residences. Now I have endless joy and shippy daydream material to feast upon. Oh, that and "It's why I fell in love with you." Because no matter how many other ways it's expressed, you never turn down a chance to hear the L-word, either.
Besides, an angsty conflict like that just makes the final rescue even more satisfying. :)
And the ending kiss! Oh, pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty. Yep, that's all the farther my thoughts can get. Brain has frozen over in squee.
In conclusion: the MSR storyline was not wrecked to kingdom come, but expertly maintained, and now even comes with a couple new layers of icing on top. Sheer perfection.
A Smattering of Things I Found Amusing
-Pencils in the ceiling!
-SKINNER! I did not even realize how much I liked Skinner until he showed up. Also amusing is the fact that Mulder and Scully both look older - Mulder in particular, wow, in a way that's very fitting but still a little sad after you've been watching season 3 - but he looks *exactly* the same.
-Scully's look when Skinner says something along the lines of "It's Mulder. He wouldn't do anything crazy." At which point I was pretty much rolling on the theater floor with laughter.
-Boggs! Clyde Bruckman! And I think there was one more name-check, but I was too overwhelmed with joy to pay attention. REFERENCES: you're doing it right.
A Smattering of Things I Did Not
-Did you really have to go the William place? I mean, really? I would have bought it if that kid had been William, just with a different name post-adoption (FIC TIME NOW). I even would have bought it if the plot had required his illness kill him by movie's end. The way they brought it up instead, all clunky and noticeably expository for the clueless members of the audience, kinda left a sour taste in my mouth. I might change my mind in later viewings, and eventually it'll probably be one of my favorite parts, but for right now...did not want.
Don't mind me. I've always been kind of uncomfortable with Mulder mentioning William at all, just because he and Scully have vastly different levels of involvement. It might be his biological son, but he was only there for what, a couple months of her pregnancy (during which time he was kinda busy recovering from...being dead, and therefore not his usual self at all), and then about three days after the baby's birth before he disappeared underground and never saw him again. I guess I feel like it's more Scully's grief than Mulder's, and he always seems just outside of it - comforting her more than anything, and missing an idea more than a son.
I may have more issues with this story arc than previously suspected. Let's move on.
-The Samantha angle was so random and out of place. Because, hey, remember that time we got closure on her? In that episode called "Closure"? My memory is fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure Mulder not only found out what happened to her FOR REAL THIS TIME, but even saw her spirit and said goodbye and generally made peace with the fact that she was at rest. In a way that makes it hard for me to understand why Scully immediately compares Mulder's current quest to find the missing women with the search for his sister.
-Agent Doggett, Agent Reyes, how've you been? ...hello? Anyone? Ohhhh, that's right! THEY WERE NOT EVEN MENTIONED. Which, you know, I may have griped a whole lot about seasons 8 and 9, and/or hated Monica right up until the very last episode where she laid the verbal smackdown on the prosecutor in Mulder's defense and became Awesome, but I'd still kind of like to know how they're doing. Did they escape the Black Helicopters of Death? Did they hightail it to Canada/Mexico
Yes, yes, I know; Mulder is 425,000 times better than either of them and I should shut up and be glad he's starring again. But I fell in love with the show (after years of being just friends) a week before season 8 began. Like it or not, Doggett (and later Reyes) formed the cornerstones of my new episodes. I have to have a little bit of nostalgic fondness in my heart for them.
-THERE WAS A LOT OF REALLY GRUESOME BLOOD IN THIS FILM. I had to cover my eyes more times than I could count. Squick, squick, squick. I forgot about that part of the series.
Plotty Type Things
-Agent Whitney, woo! Since no one can ever be as annoying as Leyla Harrison, this could only be an improvement, and the fact that she was played by Amanda Peet just made me really happy. I think you either have to love or hate her. I personally think she has gorgeous eyes, and therefore love her. And OK, I lied, I knew one thing going into the movie - I knew she was due to die at some point, possibly by elevator shaft. But I forgot about that until about 2 minutes before it actually happened. Meh, I've seen worse deaths.
-Ohhhh, that's Xzibit! I heard he was in the movie, and the other agent looked familiar, but I never put 2 and 2 together until someone else mentioned it in a review. Wasn't he on CSI? No, wait, that was someone else. Law & Order: SVU? Crap, that's not it either. *caves and looks at IMDB* CSI: MIAMI! THERE we go, that's why I know him. Dang, it's hard to keep my rappers-turned-quasi-actors straight, especially since most of them I've never heard of until they try acting. Anyway. Um. He wasn't bad, actually.
-Father Joe: COMPLETE AND UTTER FAIL. I hated absolutely every second he was on screen. The actor, the acting, the character, the storyline; none of it was watchable for me.
-#1 overwhelming complaint with movie: how was that an X-File? No, really, how? It wasn't overtly tied into government conspiracies or aliens, which was a relief, but it also wasn't really that paranormal. No miracle cure for Scully's patient, no mythical monsters. A psychic (maybe) + Dr. Frankenstein? Please, that's straight sci-fi, which I know is the official genre this show fits into, but...not like this. This was straight out of one of those two futuristic horror novels I read earlier this summer, Unwind or Sara's Face. I felt just a little bit cheated by that. In fact, the serial-killer angle would have fit right into "Medium" with only a teeney modicum of tweaking. Try fitting the Flukeman into Medium. See what I'm getting at?
-That, and it was sort of weird to have such divergent parallel storylines fighting for space in the same movie. I felt like Scully's was out of place - in an episode on its own, I mean, it would have been very compelling, but when you were trying to focus on
I've been poking around the internet (which, SHOULD NOT DO), and apparently there are still people up in furious arms because it was all about Mulder and Scully's feelings (~ew, yucky!~) and not all about AWESOME ALIENS AND STUFF. Part of me is all "Seriously? I thought the NoRomos were extinct," and the other part of me is "Haaaaaahahaha! Neener, neener, neeeeener!" Also, it makes me feel a lot better about the non-X-Filey plot, because if it's a choice between paranormal and relationship development, as much as I liked my monsters, I'll choose relationship every time.
Sorry. I'm distracted again by remembering how very, very much I liked that last scene with Mulder and Scully. And I've probably written enough anyway.
Weird. In the 2 hours since I started writing this, my opinion seems to have improved significantly. Apparently I just needed time to digest it? In that case, TWO THUMBS UP. Now go see it, and then report back on your journals. There is a pathetic lack of chatter about it on LJ, especially considering that I've gone past about a frillion "Dark Knight" reviews.