X-Files: Fight the Future
There are some television shows that go far beyond popularity and achieve cult classic status. A series like ‘Star Trek’ was able to do the near impossible task of not only retaining their fan base after cancellation the number of fans increased and became legion. A show like this becomes part of our collective social consciousness; a true part of our culture. One of the few series to achieve such honors was ‘The X Files’. This series ran from 1993 to 2002, unprecedented for a science fiction based show. Over the years that it ran and continuing to this day the series has a vast and extremely loyal fan base. There are conventions where fans endlessly discuss virtually ever frame of the many seasons. They talk about their theories and site one example after another to establish their take on the plots and stories. There are countless web sites still very active even six years after the cancellation of the series. This year the endurance of the show was proven with the release of a new movie to add to the mystery. This was the second time the agents of the X Files took to the big screen. The first was between the fifth and sixth seasons in 1998. Thanks to a reignited interest from the second film this one has found its way to Blu-ray so you can now search for clues in high definition. The film was budgeted for $66 million which is not up with the blockbuster price tags of most big movies but a lot more than a film based on a television series typical receives. This movie wasn’t a difficult decision for the Fox studio. The series was still on the air and at the peak of its popularity. They had a built in fan base to ensure success. Even if you were not counted among the die hard fans of this show the film holds together as a very good piece of science fiction.
The screenplay comes from the creator of the series, Chris Carter. The story was written by Carter and Frank Spotnitz. The two have been partners throughout most of the series as well ass its spin offs ‘The Lone Gunmen’ and ‘Millennium’. All of them were interconnected adding to the rich and varied mythology that is vital to the numerous plots. There is an inherent added level of difficulty in writing a script for television series that is currently on the air. This is made almost impossible when the story lines in that series are as convoluted and well known as the ones for the ‘X Files’. Fans of this series know every little detail and would scream loudly at any fault in continuity. It also had to bridge the last season with the one about to start. If anyone other than Carter and Spotnitz were in charge the film would have been doomed. This pair took on the challenges very well and the film works. It is a bit of a tease; it offers some revelations that the fans have been craving but holds back from giving away anything too big. The story here continues the alien conspiracy plots that all but took over on the later seasons. They had to add some fuel to the rumors and speculation that the fans engage in but not give away so much that the next season would be boring. This was the series of record for anyone prone to indulging in conspiracy theories. ‘The Truth is Out There’ is not just a tagline to the fan base; it a way of life for them.
Directing the film was Rob Bowman. He was already well known to the X File fans that by the end of the series had some thirty three episodes to his credit. He directed several other popular TV shows including over a dozen for ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. At the time of this film he had only one other feature film to his name; a comic adventure flick. Bowman appears to treat this as a multi episode story arc on the TV series keeping the same sort of pacing and momentum as if it was made for television. The added budget did allow Bowman more in the way of special effects and elaborate sets that TV would permit giving the movie a slicker presentation. If he tried to deviate too much from the established routine of the series there would have been a large group of outraged fans. Instead Bowman seamlessly blended the demands of the large screen with the methods of telling a story in TV. There are some missteps in the presentation but not the sort that will upset the hard core audience.
The film opens with a little tease of revelation to make sure the audience is pleased right off the bat. It is prehistoric times in the place that would thousands of years later become Northern Texas. A Neanderthal comes across a very hostile alien and engages in a fight for his life. We never get a good look at the creature; that would be too much too soon. As the proto man kills the alien a black oil substance well known to all X Files fans oozes out of the dead creature. Years later a boy is playing here the site of this ancient battle. The boy is infected; his eyes turning black. After season five of the series the FBI has put an end to the X Files reassigning special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to other non related duties. Mulder is called in as part of a team headed by Special Agent in Charge Darius Michaud (Terry O'Quinn) investigating a bomb threat in a government office building. Mulder breaks away by himself and finds the bomb in a vending machine. One agent stays behind to disarm the bomb while Mulder and Scully evactuate the building. Unfortunately it goes off killing the agent. Back at their debriefing in Washington Scully and Mulder do not receive the reception they expected but instead are called on the carpet for four people left behind. A strange doctor, Alvin Kurtzweil (Martin Landau) approaches Mulder and informs him that the people were already dead and the bomb was just a way to cover up the evidence of a vast plot at the highest levels of the government. This pulls Mulder back into the X Files and soon thereafter Scully is also back in the thick of it. There superiors do everything possible to get them to drop their investigation but the truth is out there and the pair have to find it.
This is the type of movie that you will use to show off your high definition home theater. The fast paced action and varied sets lend themselves perfectly to watching in high definition. The picture is absolutely flawless with a color balance that is reference quality. The DTS HD audio is spectacular with a room filling ambience that will wow the old family. The channel separation is better than most films from a few years back. There are also plenty of extras to keep your own investigations and the enjoyment going long after the film is over.