I Want to Believe is a self-contained story, which plays like a beefier version of the t.v. show. Many years on, we find Scully is a doctor at a Catholic hospital and Mulder is, well, still Mulder. They are not married, but they are living together.
An FBI agent (played by Xantha Radley who, a little birdie tells me, was also in the famous “Frankenstein” episode of the show) goes missing, and a defrocked Catholic priest (an excellent Billy Connolly) is claiming he has visions about her abduction. Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) wants to find her, and needs Mulder and Scully’s help to determine if he’s really a psychic or just wasting everyone’s time.
From there, there’s lots of action, scares and moody atmosphere. There’s also some camp and some lines that are entirely too on-the-nose, as when Scully openly accuses Mulder of making this case about his long-ago abducted sister, despite his knowing that she’s dead.
To be honest, it’s been so long since I followed the labyrinthine twists and conspiratorial convolutions of the show and first film, I couldn’t remember whether Mulder and Scully had ever gotten together, or had a child together, or whether Mulder had confirmed his sister’s death or who Skinner was to them and other such references. Not that you need to know to enjoy the movie.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe is kind of like having dinner with a friend that you fell out of touch with years ago. You can see why you were once friends, and enjoy the dinner, but they occasionally refer to people and events you only vaguely remember.