How's this for a conspiracy theory?
Chris Carter created the iconic series of the '90s. But his other shows had bombed ? 'Harsh Realm' was canned after three episodes. So when 'The X-Files' fizzled out in 2002, he was screwed. He tried pitching new ideas to TV networks. With nothing matching the appeal of his hit, they weren't interested. Not even in the cyborg stripper ninja with telekinetic powers who solves mysteries while playing Twister in her underwear. Desperate, he dug up a poorly-written, rejected screenplay for a detective programme. And changed the lead characters' names ? to Mulder and Scully.
Not much of a conspiracy theory, granted, but it's better than anything you'll find in 'I Want To Believe'. Released in a shroud of mystery six years after the series ended ? and a decade after everybody stopped watching it ? the second spin-off film does little more than trade off the franchise name. A generic cop thriller ? women go missing; a psychic claims to know where they are ? it's no better (or worse) than anything you'll see on an average night in front of the box. 'CSI' minus the forensics, 'Without A Trace' sans that annoying ticking clock, 'X-Files' without the aliens, Carter's film is truly nothing special.
As a director he has no idea of cinema's potential. While 1998's 'Fight The Future' movie boasted a hyperkinetic chase sequence through a cornfield and a visually imposing Antarctic set, this one has a bit of the running-after-baddies that Jack Bauer does in every '24' episode. He elicits about as much excitement from his actors.
And as a writer, he has lost the plot. Quite literally. Whether you hate the show/can't remember all the convoluted conspiracy stuff/know that Cigarette Smoking man prefers Morley, he wants you there. And by trying to appeal to everyone, very little of the show's legacy remains. Mulder still wants to believe (geddit?), hasn't stopped trying to find his sister, and looks like David Duchovny. Scully is still a sceptic and looks like Gillian Anderson. Other than some new insight into their relationship, a pointless walk-on part from one of the series regulars and something about the meaning of faith, that's about it. There really was no need for the plot to be kept so tightly under wraps ? except perhaps to hide from fans how disappointing it is.
With all that secrecy surrounding 'I Want To Believe', US talkshow hosts have joked that people aren't even being allowed into the cinemas to see it.
It might actually be a better idea than letting them in.