Review Of The Film From June. 1998; Being a viewer of the series for nearly all of it's seasons, I was looking forward to "The X-Files Movie." As a viewer and a fan, I was somewhat dissapointed in the film; as a viewer I don't see how it could have nearly the same effect on someone who has never seen the show.
I came into this movie hoping that it would at least explode some of the myths of the show; find out really who is the Cigarette Smoking Man or one of hundreds of ways this movie could have gone. For someone who has never seen the show before, Cigarette Smoking Man/Cancer Man is simply "the bad guy". People who haven't seen the show simply can't feel the full effect or know the whole story.
It's unfortunate then, that there isn't much effect or energy backing this film. There are moments in this film, subtitled "Fight The Future" that are simply magnificent, edge-of-your-seat thrills. On the flipside, there were also moments where I would rather have been playing video games in the lobby.Stretching the series to the big screen, we lose a lot of the atmosphere that the show has been able to build; I also felt that this was more about being a big movie than a really mindblowing episode.
The story goes like this; the "black oil" that has been "leaking" through the story up until now was actually the original inhabitants of this Earth. Millions of years ago, after a battle with cavemen, this alien "virus", which once had a whole, moving form, went underground, frozen in time. Now, it has not only thawed, but it has mutated into something much more sinister.
As I write this review, I'm begining to really realize why I was dissapointed; "The X-Files: Fight The Future" is simply about wowing our eyes. What I wanted was something that would wow my mind; that's the pure joy of some of the best episodes of the show, the intricate nature and twists, the great dialogue and storys. What we get here is "See Mulder Run." "See Scully Run."
There are moments that are excellent: one of the few moments of humor that truely works is Mulder parodying his deadpan nature by showing Scully what his face looks like when he's in a panic. It's the same face that he has the other 23 hours and 59 minutes a day. An important character dies, but if you've never watched the show, I simply don't know why you would give it a second thought.
It also doesn't explain or build from last season's final episode. This movie, contrary to early press, was seemingly a stand alone episode in my mind. Out of the many episodes I've seen, this one ranks somewhere around number twenty.
There were moments I liked; I also felt the film was a giant tease, exposing nearly no new information that I couldn't have already predicted would have happened already. It skims over most of the back information about many of the shows popular items such as the bees(we see em, we don't learn anything new really about them) and the oil(no really incredible new info here either.) Where are the clones? Where is Krychek? Where is the opening theme music is my biggest question. It's an undercurrent for most of the sound, but I didn't find that passable.
It's unfortunate that the movie went in somewhat the way the series has recently headed; more violence on screen, more brawn and a little less of the twists that made your mind tingle with glee. There are moments here that are great, but they are too few and far between. What this film was trying to do is make it so that non-viewers would be introduced and maybe start watching. I don't see how they could understand who any of the characters are. The film skips over introducing much more for the actual viewers themselves. Either way, sit back, try and enjoy some of it. If you're a viewer, don't expect "Fight The Future" to blow your mind. If you're a non-viewer, start watching. This film really doesn't do the show justice. And of course, at the ending, we're back where every episode usually ends....the duo, standing alone, with miles still to go, and us, with a whole new set of questions to ponder on top of the old myths that still, after this film, live on unanswered.
VIDEO QUALITY:Certainly very good and definitely above average, but not quite perfect. The image is 2.35:1 widescreen, but it is not anamorphic enhanced. Images are clear, but not always as crisp or sharp as I would have liked. Although even some of the darker scenes do look good, there were a few times where I would have liked a greater amount of detail to the image. Color saturation and contrast are fine as well; flesh tones are natural looking. In terms of artifacts, there isn't really anything worth mentioning. A tiny bit of grain here and there, but other than that there really isn't much of anything in terms of pixelation, etc. I wasn't a real big fan of the way and style that Cinematographer Ward Russell("Days Of Thunder") filmed some of this movie, but the disc does an above average job of presenting his work as it was seen on the big screen.
It's another disc that certainly could have benefited from anamorphic enhancement. Thankfully Fox seems to have announced that they will have anamorphic transfers for their future films, but it's unfortunate that this one was left out of their plans. Overall, this is a very good transfer but it's one of those discs where you say to yourself, "well, yeah, this is really good....but I think it could look better." Fox has done some nicer work lately(see "Volcano", "The Siege" and "Speed 2"), but if they were to have anamorphic discs, they would definitely have some of the better looking DVDs out there.
SOUND: Thankfully, the creators realize that the sounds of "The X-Files" are just as important. The DVD re-creates the sort of "X-Files" experience with some wonderfully creepy ambient noises. Surrounds are used effectively and enjoyably for a good portion of the film. There are also quite a few very nice instances of rich, deep bass; especially during the opening explosion and a few other major action sequences. Dialogue sounds natural throughout.
MENUS: Animated and beautiful menus that are built sort of around the poster image.A sudden flash of the "X-Files" logo takes us into the movie.
EXTRAS:There is a commentary with producer/creator Chris Carter and director Rob Bowman. I certainly can understand what the intent of the commentary was after listening to it and I think it's effective for people who are not quite as familiar with the series and even interesting for those who are fans. Carter is the main speaker and he talks quite a lot about the backstory and the history of the show. There's also quite a bit of talk about how Carter's philosophy about aliens, etc fits into the show. It's as if we see what is on-screen; Carter takes us further into detailing the story behind the story. It's not a technical commentary really, but more of a plot/idea commentary. A lot of the "plot/idea" commentaries aren't interesting because of the fact that the commentaries are just talking about what is going on the screen. Carter's talk definitely isn't boring because his commentary is structured, taking us through the layers of story, plot and ideals that go into the series. He also goes into details on casting, etc. But mainly, this commentary is, for the most part, listening to the creator of "The X-Files" talking about his thoughts on what goes into the essence of making one of the most popular TV series on TV; overall the commentary is a good mix of bits talking about what went into making the movie and what ideas have gone into the series and the TV show. Rob Bowman definitely has some interesting things to say, but unfortunately he doesn't say much; mainly, it's Carter who's speaking.
There is also a collector's card and a 30 minute documentary, along with all 3 trailers.I found the 30 minute documentary very enjoyable; it's basically a lot interviews with cast and crew talking about the history of the TV series combined with a look at what went into the making of the motion picture.
Overall: Fox has certainly improved the value of their DVDs with this Special Edition of "The X-Files". It certainly makes the price tag of $34.98 easier to accept. Still, with Warner and New Line offering more extras for less money, I would like to see Fox certainly lower their prices. Fox is improving, though. They're improving in small steps with their DVDs, but they're improving nonetheless.