The verdict from by brother who on occasion would watch an episode with me but who wouldn't consider himself even a casual fan was that it fulfilled his expectations. He expected something akin to an episode of the series and in his opinion that's what he got. No more, no less.
It's definitely true that the movie gets better with repeated viewings.
Box office update: After 10 days of release IWTB has grossed $17 million domestically and Daily Variety is reporting foreign receipts of $22 million. That makes a worldwide total of $39 million.
The movie "teaser" was extremely well done. Suspenseful, exciting, and atmospheric. It's great and sets up the movie nicely. However after 3 viewings I'm still unsure why the owner of the organ transport business/the bald man with cancer (abductor #1) was even abductor #1. For someone who spent the entire movie in desperate need of a body and then receiving a female body he sure was spry in the teaser. Maybe he wanted to tag along for the kidnapping of his future body but was unprepared for Agent Bannan's quick thinking with the gardening tool.
I love, love the way the snow was photographed. Does it snow like that in West Virgina/Virgina? No, but who cares. It looks great and really emphasizes the feeling of isolation.
Scully driving to the unremarkable house is one of my favorite sequences. I like how the camera is inside the car with her and sort of handheld. The musical blips are good too. It's a nice touch to have her actually exit the car and open the gate leading to the property. It's a subtle way of showcasing how remote the house actually is. I can also relate to the whole gate opening thing from trips to my parents' ranch. Those gates can be a real nuisance.
I really liked the whole helicopter flight to Washington, starting with Mulder opening the helicopter door for Scully. It was nicely shot and the music accompaniment is good as well. I always loved it when the show reminded us that they were living and working in DC. The FBI establishing shots became routine so the occasional monument was always well appreciated. In FTF we got the Well Manicured Man's limousine driving down the streets of DC and this time we get an ariel view of the city and its gleaming white buildings.
Mulder, Scully, and Drummy exiting the elevator at the Hoover building sure tugged at the ol' heart strings. Oh the nostalgia of Mulder and Scully entering or exiting the elevators. I get a kick out of the agents they pass giving them curious stares.
The FBI ID tags have certainly changed since the show was on the air. Now they are just a simple photograph on a plastic, white background and an orangey looking seal at the bottom.
I am absolutely convinced that Sarah Jane Redmond's scenes were left on the cutting room floor. In the movie all she does is looking on observantly over the proceedings and hand a phone to Agent Drummy. It sounded liked she said her name was Janice Fossett or something like that.
As I watched the movie I tried to determine where exactly it is that the movie starts to falter. I think for me it begins with the scene right after the Mulder/Scully bed scene. I've decided that I'm not really a fan of the whole exchange out in the snow where Scully accuses Mulder of "looking for his sister". Did we really have to go there? It's funny that this should be the spot that I consider the quality turning point for the movie because this was really the only scene that was allowed out to the public.
Also, as much as it pains me, I'm not a real fan of the sick boy storyline. I'd forgotten that when I initially saw the movie every time the action shifted back to the hospital I found it a bit jarring. This is not something I like admitting. I adore both Scully and Gillian Anderson so having GA on screen as Scully should never be a bad thing but in IWTB the Scully scenes meant back to the hospital which was not where I wanted to be.
And while I'm very pleased where the MSR is at I am still a bit disappointed by the lack of "touching" that used to run rampant through the series. Mulder and Scully should never be lovey dovey but gestures go a long way with these too. There are so many instances throughout the series where I felt that if David kept looking at Gillian with the intensity that he did he'd burn a whole through her. I missed that. A simple hair caress would have gone a long way for me here, either from Mulder or Scully. But for these small things that I found lacking it was great to hear Mulder consistently refer to Scully's importance to the work he did. He said so to Agent Whitney and he told Scully herself. That is such wonderful progress from the show's days when the basement office was always Mulder's office not their office.
Lastly, yep the coda still totally rocks. I never gets old. I especially liked the little bit where the camera pans and shifts direction quickly across the ocean's horizon in time with the "I'm over, I'm over, I'm over, I'm broken" I'd love to get the closing credits images as a screen saver of sort but without the actual credits of course.