Monday, January 10, 2005

Movie Review: X-Files: Fight the Future (1998)

Monday, January 10, 2005
A film by Rob Bowman

Set shortly after Season 5 of the "X-Files" television program, "X-Files: Fight the Future" is the first film (and to date, only) dealing with the "X-Files" characters and storylines. This film is steeped in the mythology of the series, which means that it deals with the government conspiracy and the cover ups of aliens, and all of the deep mythology which drives the show. The X-Files are closed and FBI Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) have been reassigned and are currently working on a called in bomb threat in a government building. The case has the feel of the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah building, and when the bomb goes off the wreckage looks like just that. But this is only the beginning as things quickly do not add up and Mulder is off on another chase for "The Truth" while Scully has to try to scientifically back up (or disprove, which she never can) Mulder's wild theories.

While the series can explore grand conspiracies and big stories on each episode, these stories tend to be revealed slowly over the course of multiple episodes and multiple seasons. Giving the viewer an "X-Files" movie means that we are likely to be given a grander story all at one time, and this is exactly what we get. This movie works on two levels. A viewer with no experience with the "X-Files" can enjoy the movie on its own merits. This is the way that I first experienced the film when it was released in the theatres in 1998. It wasn't until years later I started watching the show on DVD and worked my way up to the movie and had a completely different experience. For longtime fans of the show, this movie works as an extended episode (or one of the two episode story arcs). It just operates on a larger scale than is possible on episodic television.

Viewers with no "X-Files" experience can watch a movie involving a government conspiracy and something do with extra-terrestrials. Fans of the series will get explanations for the origins of the black oil, the bees, a greater look at the extent of the conspiracy (difficult to explain without spoiling it), and a very good long episode of the show. There are explosions and danger and a trip to Antarctica with a reveal that has to be seen to be believed. This movie rewards fan of the show, but leaves as many questions as it answers. This particular storyline will not be resolved until midway through Season 6.

While enjoyable, I would not recommend this movie for those who are not fans of the "X-Files". It works on its own, but truly rewards viewers of the series. I would highly recommend this movie to those who already enjoy the show or are just discovering it. But for those viewers, I would make sure that you have seen the episodes through Season 5 as this is where it fits into the chronology. For fans of the show, this movie should just be considered a two hours episode of "The X-Files", and it is a good one.

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