Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Sci-Fi THE X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE


The popularity of “The X-Files” was its zenith in the late 90s, and there’s no better way to capitalize on that fame than to promote Mulder and Scully to the big screen. The end result is more akin to a summer blockbuster than to a cult tv show that managed to sneak into the mainstream culture. Enormously fun to watch, but non-fans may find the plot too byzantine to follow.

A terrorist explosion in Texas destroys a Federal building, and Mulder and Scully are forced to shoulder the blame by virtue of the fact they were on duty at the time. But there’s far more to this than simply homeland terrorism; the building destroyed housed the bodies of four firemen and a small boy, all long dead and some mysterious fossils of unknown origin. That knowledge sends the renegade FBI agents once again in hot pursuit of the truth, involving black oil aliens, extraterrestrial colonization, a global conspiracy involving heads of world governments, and a possible vaccine that may save humanity.

The script created to series creator Chris Carter and “X Files” writer Frank Sponitz is far more grander and epic than anything ever seen on the small screen. The best comparison is that the fans are now given prime rib when before they’ve just been served a good steak. Aside from bringing Mulder and Scully closer to a romantic relationship, the script gives the leads far more physical roles than previously seen. Climbing, leaping, and so much running you’d think you’re watching an episode of “Doctor Who”, this is more action than we’re used to and its a welcome change. Director Rob Bowman clearly has an excellent grasp on Mulder and Scully, he not only knows how to speed the film along but also gives new depth to the working and professional relationship to the two leads. The alien creatures by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff jr are frightening enough. although they do look a lot lot the xenomorphs from the “Alien” series the pair has worked on. Special recognition goes to film editor Ward Russell, whose flashy cutting enhances the visual feel of the movie.     

Acting is top notch, with Duchovny and Anderson so well versed in their roles there’s not a lot they really can add to Mulder and Scully, but in jumping to the silver screen they perform grandly.It helps greatly that both performers have previous film experience, adding to the actor’s comfort onscreen. As a shady doctor with ties to Mulder’s father, Martin Landau shows why he won an Oscar several years back; he gives his character a sense of someone desperate to uncover the truth but beaten by the powers that be, and you get the sense he probably could have done this with a serious head injury. Blythe Danner is equally good as a freezingly cold FBI inquisitor, as well as Glenne Heady as a barmaid who gets the chance to cut Mulder off after he’s exceeded his alcohol limit. Mitch Pileggi returns as Asst. Director Skinner, but while he plays his part well he seems to be doing nothing less than an extended cameo.

Probably the main fault of “Fight the Future” is the fact that despite the producer’s intention to make a movie for all audiences, the film will be mainly appreciated by the series’s fan base. The story’s concern with alien colonization, black oil extraterrestrials, and a global conspiracy by powerful men have been the stalwart of the show for several years. A newbie just experiencing “The X Files” now might come out perplexed by all the complex mythology. For a first time introduction to Mulder and Scully, the second film might be much easier to comprehend.

A grand, epic film, “X Files” fans will no doubt be thrilled by the series creators taking things on a massive scale. With all the excellent technical and acting efforts, “Fight the Future” is an amazingly good transition for a tv show to screen and as a surefire fan pleaser. But for those just meeting Mulder and Scully, it may be best to skip to the second and a more accessible film.                  

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