Tuesday, May 12, 2009


B-Sol of The Vault of Horror stepping in this week for the vicious & delicious BJ-C, bringing you a poster which got my goat a year ago, and hasn't let go of said goat since.

X-Files: I Want to Believe was one of the most notorious flops of the 2008 summer movie season, and amazingly, there were actually many who were surprised by this. Hmmm, what could've caused this? The completely uninspired title? The brilliant idea to disconnect the film from the main storyline of the TV show? The fact that they destroyed the good will of their fans with the final couple seasons, and then allowed the show to complete fade from the pop culture zeitgeist before going back to the well?

It could've been any of those things. But one thing's for sure: This poster certainly did not help in any way, shape or form. Pompously, it assumes an instant recognizability which it clearly does not possess. It's a picture of two non-descript people with criss-crossing shadows, and it's supposed to instantly say "X-Files"?? Maybe to the core base of die-hard fans--and obviously, they were the only ones who showed up at theaters.

It's one thing if you have a movie poster with the Batman symbol on it, or Indy's hat and whip, or even those ominous descending green digits that signify The Matrix. These are things which do indeed conjure an instant image in the average viewer's mind, and come off very cool in the process. This obscure, bland and frustratingly minimal image has NONE of the power of those aforementioned symbols. Perhaps if we squint real hard and try to make out the tiny faces of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, but really, what's the motivation to work that hard?

With a property that had vanished from the Earth as completely as X-Files in the years since the show's ignominious TV climax, a lot more care was needed to re-educate the public. Let's face it, the average young viewer may not even have been all that keenly aware of what The X-Files was in the first place. And this poster does nothing at all to change that, or to inspire any interest in changing it.

Oh, and did I mention that on top of that, the whole thing is in a blue-tinged black & white? This might have been all cool and arty if the image itself was cool, but instead makes it even more completely befuddling and meaningless.

I'm sorry, Chris Carter. I really did want to believe. But this poster was one of the reasons I just couldn't.

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