•Like most people, I loved Dark Knight (despite the troubling fact that Batman-loving six-year-olds probably shouldn’t see it). It may well come to be regarded as the definitive depiction of two familiar characters (not necessarily Batman himself). One of many brilliant moments that may not have gotten much attention yet: despite all that darkness, there was still, I think, an homage to the 60s show in the form of that slowly-rotating camera angle on the Joker during his final conversation with Batman. Made sense in context, made sense psychologically, and made sense as a geek hat-tip.
•As for X-Files: I Want to Believe: I’m left feeling that Chris Carter wasted the last six years if this is the best he can do, much as George Lucas wasted sixteen coming up with Phantom Menace. I take no joy in saying this — I just feel sad for the people whose careers were quietly dying in front of me while I watched the X-Files movie.
Where’s the humor? Where are the genuinely awe- and terror-inspiring scenes, like the scene on TV in which lights suddenly appeared over the bridge in that alien abduction two-part episode? Where’s the weird, surprising thing right near the beginning that makes you love the story from the get-go?
It’s unbelievable that this film takes two hours and accomplishes less than the average ten-minute segment of the original series. And there’s a bonus shot at the end of the surprisingly low-budget-seeming end credits that might as well be a placard reading “You don’t want to see any more of this ever again, do you?” So lame.
It doesn’t even rise to the level of fun-but-ridiculous B-movie, since it’s downbeat and drab and has almost nothing in it more mindbending than an episode of Law and Order with a crime-solving psychic thrown in. I don’t know why this movie was made, and I question the intelligence of everyone involved.
It is in some sense worse than a disaster. True disasters — like Phantom Menace or Chronicles of Riddick or even Dune — are something you can take a certain amount of pleasure in condemning. They are glorious failures in that at least they have enough moments of audacity and spectacle to leave you feeling that you can insult them and be assured that they have the strength to fight back, as it were — sort of like telling a Viking that his oil painting is terrible but knowing he will soldier on regardless.
X-Files: I Want to Believe, by contrast, is such a feeble, ineffectual film that it is more like a quietly expiring old woman who must be politely but awkwardly told that she is too smelly to remain seated in the common room. Just depressing.
In short: I didn’t hate X-Files: I Want to Believe. I felt sorry for it.
•I stress the fact that I don’t enjoy rendering that verdict on the X-Files movie because I know that we nerds can be merciless in our negative judgments — a side effect of us liking clear-cut rules, as I’ll discuss in tomorrow’s review of the book American Nerd.
In another reminder nerds can be harsh, here’s an anti-religion cartoon some nerd did, depicting Doctor Who, forwarded to me by Michel Evanchik. You see what I mean — and I say that as an atheist and Doctor Who fan.