Where’s Mulder and Scully When You Need Them?

I can’t believe I only heard yesterday about the Montauk Monster, an alleged mutant creature that washed ashore at the Ditch Plains beach in Montauk, New York this past July. Of course, the government claims that the creature is just a badly decomposed dog. But we all know the truth: It’s one of the escaped creations of the Department of Homeland Security’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Our latest weapon against terrorists (since the gay bomb didn’t work): genetically-enhanced giant rodent/avian hybrids.

Speaking of Mulder and Scully, yes, I did catch the new X-Files movie on opening night. And yes, like many fans, I was a little underwhelmed by it. The movie was extremely well-acted, but poorly written, and marketed even worse. I’ll get it on DVD of course, but touting it as a “summer blockbuster” on the heels of The Dark Knight (which I also finally saw this past weekend) proved to be the studio’s biggest blunder. This is a movie that would have done better with a fall release as one of those low-budget adult thrillers that starts small and finds an audience in subsequent weeks.

There were no aliens or sewer monsters or creepy inbred killers in this movie. There was not a single explosion or gunshot. Not that there needed to be any of those things, really, since one of the X-Files’ greatest strengths during the first half of its nine-year run on network television was its ability to suggest a faceless menace rather than hit you over the head with it. And admittedly, there are some genuine moments of horror in the movie, especially when you start piecing together the bigger picture from the various human body parts that turn up as the movie progresses.

But the X-file itself – which was quite unusual for this series – didn’t provide a compelling reason for our favorite ex-FBI agents to come out of retirement. And so there was not really a tremendous sense of foreboding in the film for the lead characters; if we didn’t already care for them, nothing in this movie would have caused us to. (I kept rooting for a plot similar to the pilot of Chris Carter’s brilliant but short-lived series, Millennium. Now *that* would have made for a creepy sequel.)

But alas, poor reviews and no-so-hot box office performance may have put the kibosh on any future sequels. But I’m still looking forward to that promised alien invasion in 2012. By then, I hope Mulder and Scully quit chasing after small potatoes and start investigating government-sanctioned mutants again.


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