The X Files: I Want to Believe Blu-ray Review
PictureI Want to Believe comes to Blu-ray with a next-generation High Definition 1080p video presentation in its original, theatrically broad aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. Detail is pretty excellent throughout, the relatively small budget only really becoming glaringly obvious in one particularly poor green-screen moment where Mulder looks over a cliff, clarity remaining solid, with no digital defects, limited softness and negligible grain. The icy Virginian forestry limits the colour scheme somewhat, almost making for a monochromatic affair, although this works quite well given the dour subject-matter and nature of the X-Files in general. Scully makes for a particularly striking redhead and you can even see the varying colours in Mulder's beard. Blood reds look deep and authentic and the solid blacks work particularly effectively given the fact that the movie is dominated by eerie night sequences, splayed in shadow or moonlight.
SoundTo accompany this new X-Files adventure we get a top of the range (at least technically) DTS-HD Master Audio track that creates a superb atmosphere for this relatively low-key movie. Dialogue - from the mumblings whispers to the screams and barked orders - comes across clearly and coherently throughout the proceedings, given precedence over the frontal channels. Although there are few big effects, the more subtle, ambient sounds are picked up with keen observation and really give you an eerie, unsettling environment in which to view the proceedings. The score too is quite a well-contemplated, brooding affair, coming through with some rumbling bass during key moments (not least the punchy Unkle-remixed main theme) and accentuating the tension throughout.
ExtrasFirst up we get an Audio/Video Commentary (i.e. it is available as either just an audio track or the Picture-in-Picture alternative) by the Writer/Director Chris Carter and his right-hand man Co-Writer/Producer Frank Spotnitz. They talk at length about bringing the X-Files back to life, the difficulties (both logistically and in terms of resuscitating fan interest) incurred and the moments (both subtle and obvious) strategically engineered to ease the transition. It's an interesting enough affair, and far better than those offered on the first movie.
Trust No One: Can the X-Files Remain a Secret? is a mammoth Making-Of Documentary that rivals even the main feature in runtime. Covering all of the usual bases, from pre- to post-production, with Casting, Locations, Sets, Costumes, Effects and Scripting all covered in detail, highlights including further discussion into getting the backing for the production, returning to the show and re-interpreting it for the Big Screen (in a different style to the first movie). There is also a separate Visual Effects Featurette and a brief Statements on Green Production Featurette focussing on how Chris Carter did his bit for the environment during the making of this movie. Much of the Behind the Scenes footage can be accessed on the corresponding Picture-in-Picture track.
We also get three watchable Deleted Scenes, ten minutes of average gags and line fluffs, a stills gallery (again, accessible through the Picture-in-Picture facility), the trailer and, last but certainly not least, an Interactive Timeline. Arguably the best extra feature I have ever come across on any release EVER this facility enables viewers to go through the entire X-Files timeline from Neanderthal alien confrontations to the latest movie, with every episode, every important occurrence documented and detailed in both text and pictorial form. Utterly comprehensive, this would fill out a fat X-Files encyclopaedia and is excellent as such.
VerdictThe X-Files movie sequel takes a completely different approach to the first movie, adopting a much smaller-scale, low-key style which returns the whole franchise full-circle, back to its origins. The story is classic X-Files exploration of the paranormal, with the added benefit of finally telling the full story about Mulder and Scully. On Blu-ray it both looks and sounds pretty good, and comes packed with a bunch of decent extras and one feature that is simply not to be missed - a comprehensive time-line that charts the entire history of the X-Files, from BC to present day. Newcomers should be warned that this is a little late in the game to try and get on this particular bandwagon, and may be advised to go back and start at the beginning, but all fans will have absolutely no choice but to add this concluding chapter to their collection - it is a worthy and fitting climax and comes recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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