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X-Files: The Movie (DTS)

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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 11, 2001 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

After several highly successful seasons on the air, "The X-Files" went and made a movie. Having to have to appeal to its legion of hardcore fans and newcomers alike, the movie had a major task to achieve; it didn't quite do an outstanding job - nor did it stink. After several highly effective trailers promising that "the truth is coming", well, it never really did.

The story is, like most episodes, complex and sometimes linking to the backstory that several seasons had built. Agents Mulder(David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) have been attempting to solve the paranormal - find the truth behind the existence of alien life, which leads to government cover-ups and conspiracies. And, in their spare time, they find the occasional worm creature.

The movie often plays like an episode of the show pulled to the big screen, although at times it seems like it's pulled a little too thin. The plot involves the black oil virus that was, at one point, a main piece of the show. Since I haven't watched it for a few seasons now, I'm not sure where Mulder and Scully have headed. The oil has been released as a boy falls into a cave early on, and after a cover-up that involves the destruction of a massive-building, the two agents must find the information to stop what could be the one thing that could destroy the human race.

I'm attempting not to give away too much information for those who haven't seen the movie. If you haven't watched the show before, you may enjoy it as a moderately entertaining sci-fi thriller, but there are still some problems I had with it. There are moments in the begining that are tense and there are moments towards the end that are tense. The middle is the piece of the film that sometimes begins to drag on. Anderson and Duchovny are certainly one of the best screen pairings in years, but Anderson isn't always used to the full extent throughout this film version of the show.

It's been said that another movie is planned, possibly before the show ends its run. Hopefully, that edition will answer more questions and be a bit more consistently engaging than this movie is. Although not a bad film, it's not as exciting as some of the early episodes.


VIDEO: "The X-Files" was originally released a little over a year ago by Fox on DVD. The picture quality of the non-anamorphic release was pretty good, but didn't quite reach the heights that it could have. This new anamorphic presentation is one of the improvements on this re-issue; again presented in 2.35:1, the presentation does deliver some improvements. Sharpness and detail are very good with a few minor exceptions. Some scenes are dark - but hey, this has always been one of the darker-looking shows on television. Although some scenes are dimly lit, they aren't overly dark enough to not see anything at all.

The film (as well as the series) has never been terribly colorful, and that's shown here. Colors are subdued, but generally problem-free and solid. Flaws are very minor; the print used is very clear and clean, without much (if any) visible marks or scratches. A little bit of grain appears once or twice, but this is also hardly noticeable. I didn't see any instances of shimmering or pixelation. Overall, this is a very solid looking presentation, with image quality that's smooth and well-defined.

SOUND: I've never really considered "The X-Files" as that exciting a movie in terms of its sound presentation. Not that there aren't great specific scenes; the movie does offer a few explosions and a handful of additional intense sequences, especially towards the end. This re-issue of the movie provides the viewer with the choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 audio or DTS 5.1 audio.

Although not always, some of the quieter scenes provide subtle ambient sounds that give a good sense of space and a couple of good scares. During the more intense scenes, explosions pace a solid amount of force, and other scenes provide some exciting surround use. The haunting score also sounds clear and crisp. Dialogue is generally fine as well, never harsh.

The differences between the DTS and DD versions are very minimal. The DTS version seemed very slightly warmer and fuller at times, but both presentations are still very good and this release gives viewers the choice.

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: The extras are the same as the original. The review of the commentary is taken from the original release review.

Commentary: 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.

Making Of: A 30 minute documentary that is mainly promotional in nature. Some interesting behind-the-scenes shots, but nothing too memorable.

Trailers: 3 trailers - all in Dolby 2.0; the teaser and 2 theatrical trailers. All 3 are actually very effective ads.

THX Optimode: New to this edition is the THX optimode audio/video tests that have been included on such discs as "Fight Club". All other extras are the same as the original release.

Final Thoughts: This release offers the same extra features, as well as improved picture quality and the choice between Dolby and DTS. The original release is now discontinued, so if you're looking to get the movie this is the new choice.

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