These are mostly the reviews reprinted from a newsgroup rec.arts.movies.reviews. There are also few reviews from other sources. The reviews are (or should be) sorted by names (first) of authors. All the reviews are reprinted here with permission of author and none can be reprinted further without permission of the author.
Plot: A bomb blows off a big chunk of a federal building in Dallas, Texas. As Mulder and Scully step up their investigation into the bombing, they begin to uncover many zany theories and cover-ups about the puzzling explosion. While delving further into the case, the defiant duo find themselves trapped in an international game of intrigue, mystery and extra-terrestrial politics.
***Understand that my critique comes from a solid streak of experience with the show. Having said that, an inexperienced viewer can also enjoy this critique, since you need not have seen one episode of the TV series, to truly appreciate this well-developed movie***
Critique: Mysterious, moody, exciting at parts, this movie succeeds in bringing the spookiness and interest of the television series to the big screen. Having said that, the film did at times feel like one big television episode, with a larger plot line and greater special effects. Also, it did seem to go on for a tad too long.
The plot of the film is interesting, the characters are believable, and the action is exciting and scary at times (The scenes with the aliens are very cool and exciting). Mulder and Scully have no discernible problems tackling the big screen, while adding words like "shit" to their vocabulary. While the suspicions about their possible romantic entanglement in this film are also answered, they certainly will not be given away by JoBlo here. Also, there did seem to be a touch more humor on the big-screen than the show, which helped many long-winded and jargon-filled scenes move along at an easier pace. The creators of the film also took the time to "piss" all over the greatest box-office science-fiction success from 1996, Independence Day (6.5/10), in a most interesting and "subtle" way.
Overall, the movie worked for me as a thriller and a science-fiction fable, but somehow seemed to run a little too long, and lacked the earth-shattering ending that I was expecting. Having said that, they have now added many new elements to explore in the TV series, which will most certainly pick up many new viewers after this slick film. Warm up your nachos and cuddle up with your love-bunny on this one, folks... it's gonna be a bumpy ride!
© 1998 Berge Garabedian
- Author: Brian Takeshita (e-mail)
- Rating: ** out of ****
Part of the plan is to cover up the victims' cause of death, and when FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) receive a tip that bodies from Blackwood are planted in the rubble of a "terrorist" bombing in Dallas, they uncover a trail of conspiracy and deception with implications for the future of the entire planet.
In case you didn't know, The X-Files: Fight The Future is a movie version of the hit Fox television series "The X-Files". For those of you unfamiliar with "The X-Files", thank you for reading this review. I realize cave-dwellers don't get much in the way of reading material. Were you also chosen for the O.J. jury? I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. Briefly, the television episodes can be divided into two categories: Stand-alone, self contained stories, and those which are part of a continuing melodrama centered around Mulder's quest to find his lost sister and uncover the conspiracy which he believes is responsible for her abduction.
The promotional tagline for The X-Files: Fight The Future is "The Truth is Revealed, Only in Theaters". I wouldn't be going out on any limbs if I were to say most people going to see this film are doing so just to find out some explanations for the numerous unanswered questions left by the television series. Indeed, much of the promotion for this film is centered around the fact that viewers will get the answers they've been so eagerly awaiting. In this way, much of the series has been extremely effective as a marketing gimmick to get people to shell out their money and buy a ticket. Likewise, the "truths" revealed are such that the story of the conspiracy is far from over, and of course, you'll have to tune in next fall to find out where it will go from here. Absolute genius.
The premise of the movie is intriguing enough that it gets you interested, and the script is competently written so that one event leads logically to another, and you are rewarded with a climactic finish that ties everything together. This film is also well-paced, with sufficient punctuations of action and suspense that hold the viewer's attention through the two-hour running time. Visually, however, the movie seems to split between presenting the viewer with fascinating sights and no sights at all. At times, the images on screen are breathtaking, while at other times, the film is photographed in such shadow or darkness that it is unclear exactly what it is we're supposed to be looking at.
When you make a movie out of a television show, you can't assume your moviegoing audience is already well acquainted with the characters and framework. Unfortunately, this film is guilty of doing exactly that, as it assumes too much and is definitely lacking in character development. For example, Mulder's motivations are only given a cursory explanation, and an unindoctrinated viewer would therefore only be able to guess at the deeper background supporting the film's plot. Likewise, supporting characters from the television show are thrown in for what seems to be no other reason than to give the loyal fans what they want: To see them on the big screen. On television, FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) has a close relationship to the two agents, but this is not made clear in the movie. When he helps Mulder evade surveillance by other agents, one does not know why. When Mulder's off-the-record technical consultants show up for a short scene, the audience isn't given a clue who they are. Maybe the tagline should be, "The Truth is Revealed, Only in Theaters, Only to Fans".
Perhaps most disappointing is the absence of a solid villain. "The Cigarette-Smoking Man" (William B. Davis), Mulder and Scully's primary antagonist in the series, is present in the film, but his involvement with the story is very low-key, and only fans will appreciate his participation. This is a real missed opportunity, as he is presented very ominously in the beginning of the film and is therefore set up to play a large role in the plot. However, rather than being portrayed as the driving force behind the unfolding plans of the conspiracy, or the constant foil to Mulder's attempts to uncover the truth, he is relegated to being the mysterious person who seems to be present wherever the conspiracy manifests itself, hardly speaking at all. A confrontation (violent or otherwise) between The Cigarette-Smoking Man and Mulder would appear to be requisite, but it never materializes.
Just as there is a disadvantage to being unfamiliar with the series, however, so is there a problem if you are a follower. The film has a slightly upped production value, but not so significant that the movie doesn't play just like a two-hour episode. The series is already a well-produced show, so the filmmakers had a difficult task right from the start in creating a movie which would not only answer questions, but impress as well. As it turns out, the film has a few more special effects and is more darkly photographed, but that's about it. I'm sure some people will wonder why they couldn't have seen this at home for free.
Fans of the show will not be disappointed in the performances of the actors, since they are playing the same characters they have played for several years now. Duchovny and Anderson have matured with their on-screen personae, and appear very comfortable in their portrayals of the two FBI agents, although Duchovny's performance may seem a bit wooden to those who haven't seen him in the role before.
The X-Files: Fight The Future is not a bad film, but neither is it a great one. It is decent entertainment for the time spent, but the problem lies in trying to please two segments of the audience and not being totally successful in either endeavor. In all, fans of the series will appreciate (and enjoy) this film considerably more than other people, but with expectations running very high, even they might be disappointed.
The story is basically self-contained, but many of the details are rooted in the series, which allows the film to take certain liberties it probably wouldn't have (or shouldn't have) had it been a completely original concept. For example, the basic essentials such as characterization of the two leads are virtually non-existent, nor much of, if any, definition of the "X Files" division itself. It's difficult to sympathize for characters we are never formally introduced to while working for a covert operation we're not given any background on. FBI special agents Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson), are presented as though we're already familiar with them, and their initial case involving the bombing of a federal building seems like just another episode in their continuing adventures.
But it wouldn't be a movie if something unusual didn't happen to shake things up. The first two scenes sketch out the supernatural elements at play. These scenes depict some kind of alien encounter with earthlings over time, portrayed in a generic manner. We get slimy, violent creatures jumping out of shadows, loss of innocent humans, and a subtle establishment of how powerful the extra-terrestrial is (its virus lives on thousands of years after its death). The scenes are shot well enough to be suspenseful, but it's really no different than countless other sci-fi movies, especially the "Alien" series.
Mulder and Scully manage to safely evacuate a building from a terrorist bomb (which is discovered in the typical "accidental" manner), but instead of being rewarded, they are separated because they've learned there's a connection between the alien's revival and the bombing. Here, the script is crafted in such a way that we are able to put some of the clues together ourselves, instead of having the characters figure it out through coincidences and lucky breaks. It's clear a conspiracy is unfolding, which creates for a good sense of mystery, and it's not too difficult to follow.... at first.
More characters and plot elements begin to crop up as the film shifts to the second act. As is the case with all conspiracy stories, a shady character must come into play to provide our heroes with insights and tips they wouldn't and couldn't have gotten anywhere else. Martin Landau co-stars as this film's rendition of that character - Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil, a man with conspiracy theories so fantastic he must be either a raving lunatic or a genius. Kurtzweil is Mulder's "Deep Throat," always providing him with clues in dark, steamy, wet alleyways, about the alien project and a plot to take over the world. Kurtzweil's theories and the clues he drops are interesting, but described in such vague manners the story quickly becomes hard to swallow and very confusing. The characters can't keep track of who's who and what's what, so how can we be expected to?
The great thing about conspiracies is the fact they can be woven with such intricacy and yet still make sense in the right hands. It is in this aspect that the film is severely flawed, since there doesn't seem to be any motive behind it all. We do encounter the people behind the massive plot Mulder and Scully are trying to break, but the villains just aren't vile enough. They supposedly wield tremendous global power, but how they got that power and how they use it is never explained. At times they are afraid of being exposed by Mulder and Scully, and yet they clue them into the big scheme. None of the conspirators have genuine emotion, they seem to be simply going through motions they cannot explain, resist, or justify.
Surprisingly, as complex as the story is, the film still manages to work at least as a big-budget popcorn flick. The various sub-plots allow the film to focus more on individual scenes and conflicts rather than the final payoff. The result is back-to-back chase scenes, hiding scenes, scenes of miraculous revelation, and the special effects to tie them all together. On the surface they suffice simply as of-the-moment thrills, but upon closer inspection they really aren't anything intelligent. All the time the film spends on having Mulder and Scully run and hide might have been better used to develop the story instead of the superficial action.
And perhaps this is why the film falls just short of greatness. It keeps us guessing with its complex story, but it still feels the need to dumb itself down with melodrama. The final act clinches this as it's a life-or-death situation for both of the characters that involves act after act and feat after feat of sheer luck and coincidence. The climax doesn't have nearly the impact it should as it's really just an exaggerated version of the mini-climaxes that occur throughout the film. And in the end almost nothing seems to have been resolved, it's as if the entire story existed for the ending. In fact, when the closing credits began to roll, someone in the audience yelled out, "That's it?!"
It's clear "The X-Files: Fight The Future" was made with the right intention, that is, to be a good movie. The film is full of possibilities, original ideas, and an overall sense of depth, but why does it feel the need to cop-out when it comes to executing its resources?
© 1998 Chad Polenz
The Online Film Critics Society
The Internet Movie Critics Association
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- Author: Cheng-Jih Chen (e-mail)
So, on Friday, "X-Files" has joined "Beavis and Butthead" and "MST3K" as the three TV shows I can name off-hand to have made it to the big screen before their runs have finished. It should be more successful than its two predecessors. While it may not make the American Film Institute's Top 100 films (not exactly an authoritative list), it isn't disappointing, like "Beavis and Butthead", or why-bother like "MST3K".
I had hoped "X-Files" would have been more ambitious. Considering the series internal mythology and its threads of continuity, my idea of an "X-Files" movie would have been a movie that could have been dropped into the existing series as-is. It would have been a vehicle to carry the myth arc from the season finale, and leave questions for the season premiere. The series would have torn down the increasingly tattered curtain between small and big screens.
Yes, this would have shut out people who don't watch the series, but it's unclear if it'd be that much of a loss. I don't think that many non-fans will see the movie, and there are some 20 million people following the series. At $5 a pop, you have a $100 million movie. Plus repeats, because people will watch it several times to dig out the myth-arc clues or the tiniest indicators of the Mulder-Scully relationship. The strength of the fan base depends in large part on exploring these mysteries. Yes, it'd make less than "Godzilla", but Chris Carter et al wouldn't have staked $200 million in a movie that'll make $150M.
The "X-Files" movie, as it turns out, was made to be more accessible to general audiences, and this robs it of a lot of punch. Whether the movie will be well-referred to next season is open to question. Certainly, the elements of the past finale aren't present, beyond an off-hand reference to the closing down of the X-Files as semi-organized activity. A recurring character does die, so I suppose they have to say something. He, however, was not as significant as Deep Throat, Mr. X or the Cancer Man.
In any case, the centerpiece Conspiracy plays a little like a Monster of the Week. The uninitiated have perhaps heard of the Conspiracy, would expect to see it in the movie, but it feels there more for scares and chills than for advancing the myth-arc. Yes, things are revealed about the nature of the black oil and what the Conspiracy is up to, but not much more than we know already. The main datum is that the Conspiracy itself, in setting up a double-cross, has itself been double-crossed. Besides this, Scully has to be rescued by Mulder. At the end, Cancer Man is talking to someone else, and there's a "curses, foiled again by Mulder" moment. General audiences may wonder why they don't just kill Mulder -- they've offed others. I suppose, in the space of this movie, it was too much to go into the Mulder-is-an-unwitting-pawn (i.e., "Luke, I am your father") thread that was touched on in the past two seasons. Yes, the speculation was wrong, but there still seems to be something special about Mulder.
One thing that surprised me was the apocalyptic themes in the film. While apocalypse and millennium may have lurked in the background of the "X-Files" (and is the centerpiece of Carter's other series), there has never been a sense that the Conspiracy would lead towards an almost Biblical end of the world scenario. Yet that is what the movie implies, in no unclear terms. I think it's an interesting change, though I'm not sure if it's a good one.
The movie, being a summer movie, isn't the height of originality. There are clearly bits and pieces from "Aliens". Actually, this reduces the extraterrestrials a fair amount. Prior to this, the aliens lurked in the shadows; it wasn't clear if they even existed outside of Mulder's mind. Now, we see them a bit more clearly: not quite men in rubber suits, but they've lost the sense of the sinister, the diabolical.
There are also Lovecraftian influences. "X-Files" has had Lovecraftian stories before, but mainly having to do with funguses hiding deep in the ground. This is similar: underground viruses that have existed for eons, a trip to Antarctica. Perhaps it's more fitting for the end of the century: viruses and things that violate internally, rather than Great Old Ones menacing externally.
Oh, one somewhat cute thing: Mulder and Scully finally lock lips, but only in a Xena-Gabriel or Xander-Buffy sort of way. This is actually unrelated to any Shipper revelation. As a tease, a bone was tossed to Shippers earlier. It's unclear if this bone will lead to anything else in the upcoming season. The Scully-Mulder interaction is fairly good in the movie, a bit looser than it has been for most of this season.
There's a personal-crisis-must-happen-in-movies theme, of Scully being transferred to Utah. It, of course, is resolved by re-opening the X-Files as an investigative unit at the end of the movie, but I thought it'd make for a nice way to move the series to Los Angeles: Mulder and Scully are sent out there as a condition of re-establishing the X-Files.
All in all, I liked the movie. I thought it could have been more ambitious, but I was entertained. It's nice to see scenes unfolding in Washington or Texas, instead of South Vancouver or East Vancouver.
**** Good, memorable film
*** Average, hits and misses
** Sub-par on many levels
* Unquestionably awful
Copyright 1998 Christopher Null
Little more than an expensive, flashy, and painfully drawn-out season finale, The X-Files: Fight The Future has little chance to draw any new fans to the TV show, if this is the best that can be done.
The movie opens with Agents Mulder (Duchovny) and Scully (Anderson) finding themselves on a new assignment after the closing of the X-files. Of course, through a bizarre coincidence, their very first assignment leads them to uncover a conspiracy involving the hiding of bodies of some would-be aliens. The plot turns alternately confusing and ridiculous after that.
It's surprising that a TV show which leaves so much to the imagination does so little for it in feature film version. At two hours, X Files is really pretty boring. I found myself falling asleep in the especially dull first half, only to be revived later by one thing after another that just didn't make any sense!
For example, if the bad guys went to so much trouble to blow up a building in order to hide four bodies, why were the bodies recovered in perfect condition? Why does the road the agents follow on gut instinct alone lead directly to the bad guys? Why did a bee wait 24 hours in Scully's coat before stinging her? Why does the Syndicate want to destroy the world - and if it has the power (imminently displayed in the film), then why don't they just do it!? Then again, if a vaccine to this destruction exists (again, displayed in the film), then why don't the good guys just release that into the world?
Well, you won't find any answers to questions like these in the film. In fact, the movie goes a long way toward undoing the mysteries that the TV show has built up over the last five years. If this is a portent for the way things are going to go next season, I'm not sure I'm interested.
Still, I am a fan, and there's enough juice to sustain a fan's interest for awhile. It ain't much, but watching Scully and Mulder inch closer romantically, and seeing some cool special effects is worth the price of admission.
Okay, a matinee.
(Recommended only for fans of the show; casual viewers needn't bother.)
- Author: Chuck Dowling (e-mail)
- WWW: The Jacksonville Film Journal
- Rating: ***1/2 (out of *****)
I would think that when you make a feature film out of a television series that is still in production, there would be some reason to do so other than money. Apparently not. The story being told in the film should be one that just simply can't be told within the confines of the small screen. But aside from the score being a little bit grander, the screen a little bigger, and a couple of visual effects, there's no reason for this to be a feature film. It's hardly even a sweeps week episode.
And as far as the specifics of the story go, what plot elements haven't we seen before in the series? When the film begins, the X Files division has been shut down (seen that). The powers that be then try to split FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) apart (seen that). Scully plans on quitting the FBI (seen that). Mulder then asks Scully "How can you say that? After everything we've seen?" (seen that). Shadowy characters seek out Agent Mulder to tell him secrets (seen that). Those shadowy characters are soon killed (seen that). The other shadowy characters decide that instead of killing Agent Mulder (which would of course, solve all their problems) that they will take Agent Scully away from him and do harm to her (seen that). Mulder will attempt to discover aliens, but doesn't even bother to bring along a pocket camera to document his inevitable discovery (seen that). In the end, Mulder and Scully have experienced something which makes them want to go on and pursue their work, even though they have no hard evidence of anything at all. Yep, I've seen that too.
Then there are new elements of the story which perplex me. For example, usually when the evil powers that be decide to cover something up, people die. Here, they buy some kids shiny new bikes in exchange for their silence. Ok. Then, it's revealed that the aliens that the government had been conspiring with (and which aliens were we having the conversations with, the black ooze aliens or the snarling monster aliens?) have double-crossed them. For some reason, they blow this off and just continue to go along with the plan as scheduled. Seems to me that would change some motivations. Obviously not.
Please don't get me wrong with all of this though, the film did entertain me. It also managed to entertain the friend that went with me who hasn't even seen an episode of the show. So I guess it did what it intended to do, which is to get both fans and non-fans of the show to buy a movie ticket. I just wish The X Files had been more feature-film worthy. [PG-13]
© 1995-1998 of The Jacksonville Film Journal. No reviews may be reprinted without permission.
Key to rating system:
2.0 stars - Debatable
2.5 stars - Some people may like it
3.0 stars - I liked it
3.5 stars - I am biased in favor of the movie
4.0 stars - I felt the movie's impact personally or it stood out
Prior to a catastrophic bombing in Dallas, FBI agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson)and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) are able to evacuate the building. But when a few bodies are mysteriously found in the rubble, the partners are placed before an FBI panel investigating them for professional negligence.
A discredited author named Kurtzweil (Martin Landau) tells Mulder that the bombing was a cover up: the bodies were actually dead long before the explosion. The victims died of a peculiar alien virus: once the virus is implanted into a human host, an alien fetus begins to form which uses the human tissue for food and breaks out of the corpse as a malevolent, full-fledged alien humanoid. Kurtzweil also insists that the cover up is the work of a shadow government, a powerful cartel whose very existence remains a secret.
Although it sounds like a hoax, Scully and Mulder check out Kurtzweil's tale. In order to acquit themselves before the FBI panel, Scully and Mulder search for proof of the existence of either Aliens or of the secret government, but as they investigate, sinister anonymous forces try to stop them. As a result, the two partners begin to question their dedication to each other, and their commitment to finding the elusive truth.
Will partners Scully and Mulder continue to support each other? Will their insistence that "the truth is out there" ever be vindicated by a glimpse of the actual truth?
Imagine a dangerous fictional world where the truth of a situation is carefully hidden from the public. For example, suppose an international totalitarian corporation, selling unrelated products through fake 'front' companies, filled key scenes in Hollywood movies with conveniently placed products, using product placement to subconsciously influence movie audiences to buy things.
An unobservant person living in such a world might imagine he/she lives in a world devoid of influence, a world of complete free will, laissez faire capitalism, with diverse products to choose from. Another person, carefully noticing the product placement in movie scenes, might deduce that he/she lives in a world of free will, but with substantial advertisement from competing companies. Finally, the person who digs the deepest might describe the same world as superficially free, but in reality controlled by a cartel - - whose main objective is to get people to part with their economic dollars, political votes, and other forms of power in order to monopolize power for a sinister oligarchy which exterminates competition and keeps the truth hidden from ordinary people through the use of press releases, spin doctors, Hollywood agents, and an army of lawyers.
The X-Files occurs in a similar imaginary world - - a cosmos where truth is deliberately obscured by powerful groups who keep the truth hidden behind illusory levels of misinformation. It seems there are three main power groups: the US government (fairly benign, but always a good candidate for secret agendas), the shadow government (people in powerful positions, who for the last 50 years, have had access to advanced technology and some ability to counter it), and finally Aliens from outer space. The government, the secret government, and the Aliens all have their own agenda: each group deliberately obscures the truth, each group infiltrates the other, and each group may act in collusion with or defy the other groups when a situation serves its purpose. Finally there are also rebels and informants in the X-Files world.
In such a convoluted world deluged with information and misinformation, heroes are defined as ordinary people capable of honest love and loyalty, who strive against all odds to perceive the truth - - and occasionally glimpse a measure of it, despite the antagonism of powers that be. In other words, heroes are individuals like government workers Scully and Mulder.
The main goal in the average summer action movie is for the heroes to endure lots of chase scenes, and then wrap up by solving all the problems and defeating a clear-cut villain by the end of the movie. On the other hand, the main goal for an X-Files hero is to get a glimpse of the truth in a decidedly untruthful world. As long as that distinction is kept in mind, The X-Files is an enjoyable movie.
Copyright © 1998 by David Sunga
The direction is actually quite good, and the set-pieces are done stylishly, and some parts are even quite scary, and heavy in tension. The 'look' of the film is good as well, and the music (by Mark Snow, who composes for the T.V. series) helps convey the atmosphere. Also, the special effects are excellent, even with the movie's relatively low budget.
Overall, The X-Files is both entertaining for X-Files fans and novices. There's enough references to the show to keep buffs happy, while nothing closely related to the T.V. show happens in the movie that would alienate and it never really ties up all it's lose ends, and it is overlong, and the ending is too ambiguous (that's all the gripes!) it is fun. The best summer movie so far.
- Author: Doug Skiles (e-mail)
- Rating: ***1/2
The truth is out there.
So, um, what's the truth? Well, if you mean you want the truth about what the new X-Files movie is titled, I can't really help you. The movie titles only said The X-Files. The advertisements all seem to say The X-Files: Fight The Future. Well, take it either way. I think it's just The X-Files, but, well, I don't really know.
Oh, did you want the truth about the movie? As in, is it any good? Well, I'm not the biggest expert in this area. You see, I've only seen maybe 4 episodes of the television series, give or take one or two. So I'm not a big X-Phile. So it's safe to say that it's quite reassuring that I can say - Yes. It's good. It's very good. It's great, in fact. The first true ride of the summer is here, and you'll be kicking yourself if you don't strap in to this one while it's in theaters - some of the images just won't translate as well onto a TV screen. If you haven't seen the film yet, get up and go now.
Wait, not now. You might want to read this review first. Of course, that's really up to you, but still, you might want to. Don't worry, I won't spoil anything. I make a point to only talk about maybe five minutes of the film and then leave the lesser-known details to you.
Okay, citizens. The X-Files opens up with us seeing a freaky beast attack ancient humans in the B.C. caveman ages. The beast remains in shadows so that we're not quite sure what it is. Cut to the present day. We see a mysterious black ooze (I think fans of the tv series will recognize this, or so I'm told) inhabit a little boy who goes to the same spot where the cavemen were attacked so long ago. Is there a connection? Does Bea Arthur look hideous naked? And from there, we cut to our heroes, FBI Agents Mulder and Scully. Previously, they worked on the mysterious X-Files, files found in the darker rooms of the FBI's hallways, files which detail cases too strange to be explained by rational thought and logical explanation. Cases that seem to deal with the supernatural, or the extraterrestrial... or both. But that's ridiculous. Well, Scully thinks it's ridiculous. Mulder believes all of it. Anyway, the files have since been shut down after Mulder pushed his beliefs a little too far and annoyed the wrong people. Now he and Scully are still a team, but they're a team of ordinary FBI agents, dealing with less interesting things, like terrorist threats. Yeah, that's a big yawn, huh Mulder?
Of course, when something goes wrong in their new line of duty, the FBI looks for someone to blame for the foul-up, and even though it wasn't their fault, Mulder and Scully were there, and they're first in line to have the whole thing put on their heads. Now they're going to try to clear their names, and along the way, they're going to learn a lot more about the mysterious conspiracy that's being run behind the scenes worldwide, to hide the real truth about just the kinds of things that Mulder and Scully used to investigate in the X-Files division. Of course, they can't learn everything - there's plenty more episodes of the series to be had, and future movies to be made.
The performances are all acted by people who've handled these roles for years on the tv show (with the exception of Martin Landau playing a new character - and he's never bad, so of course that's just another good point). And since they've had to time to develop the roles, they make us feel like we're watching developed, layered characters even if we don't watch the show much, or at all. We really care about Mulder and Scully - they actually have deep personalities, which is truly something to be appreciated, especially in today's film world. The action scenes are infrequent, but tense, and solid. Really though, this story is driven by plot and dialogue. It's a winding plot that you have to pay attention to, especially if you're not a series afficianado, but trust me, it's worth it. Some of the scenes are awe-inspiring, and the scope of some visuals, particularly towards the end, make you truly appreciate that this was made into a movie as opposed to just another episode of the show. The plot winds around and around but always holds your interest, thanks in part to great performances and in part to great writing that takes the time to give us characterizations of the people we're watching instead of just putting them through the paces. The effects, when they show up, are also great. Seems like this movie works even for those who don't watch the show, and I also find it very hard to believe that those who do watch would be let down by this.
If there's a flaw to this, it's that the villains aren't quite clearly explained enough. We understand their motives, but how did they come to reach these motives? There had to be some kind of communication that we didn't learn about. I know, I know, I'm keeping this pretty vague. But I can assure you, I'm not digging too deep here, this is actually a question you need to ask yourself, and in the end, it's never quite answered. Maybe series fans know more on this subject. Though really, in such an otherwise great movie, why should I gripe about this?
I can't elaborate too much on things that were great because I wouldn't dare reveal the plot. You have to go and see it for yourself. And you'd better. The summer has had some letdowns, and some fun, but so far, this is the best ride out there, and it's a damn good ride that could hold its own in any summer... or any season of any year, for that matter. One wonders if Chris Carter, the show's creator, can continue to make X-Files films that can stand alone as their own series and still make them interesting and relevant to the viewers at home. But there's no need to worry about this now. Now, all you have to do is go see The X-Files.
"Trust no one, Mr. Mulder."