The X-Files

The truth is out there, and you don’t have to be an “X-File” fan to appreciate the spooky first feature from the popular television series. I wasn’t a fan of the series when it first premiered five years ago. At the time, I didn’t need to add an extra hours worth of television viewing to my schedule. My dad turned me on to “The X-Files” half way through the first season.

xfilesfightthefutureHe was and will forever be a fan of “The Night Stalker,” the 1970’s television series starring Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, a newspaper reporter who always ran into monsters and the supernatural during his investigations. I liked “The Night Stalker,” so I decided to give “The X-Files” a try. It didn’t take long before I was hooked, and made Friday nights at 9 p.m. (now Sunday night) a religious holiday. How could I resist the intelligent banter between Fox “Spooky Mulder (David Duchovny), the FBI agent assigned to the unexplainable “X-files”, and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), the skeptical forensics expert assigned to debunk Mulder’s findings.

Through five seasons, Mulder and Scully have jumped from one outrageous case to the next, some holding clues to the abduction of Mulder’s sister by possible aliens, with others pitting Mulder and Scully against a mysterious cabal of businessmen who seemingly run the world. Great drama with dabs of science-fiction and horror, “The X- Files” not only captured my imagination, it grew beyond its cult status and became a qualified top-ten hit. The past season was especially gripping, as creator-producer-writer Chris Carter deftly laid the groundwork for a cliff-hanger that would serve as the launching pad for the feature film.

If you’ve never seen an “X-File” episode, don’t worry. Carter’s screenplay manages to introduce characters and situations with clarity without insulting fans, who will appreciate the larger- than-life canvas the characters inhabit. The film begins with a frozen prelude that immediately sets the tone for what’s to come. Set in North Texas, circa 15,000 B.C., two cavemen race across a white wilderness, following a set of non-human tracks. When they enter a cave bathed in blue light, they encounter something with a nasty disposition.

Flash forward to present day. That same cave becomes a source of embarrassment for a mysterious syndicate who then take great pains to cover up the discovery. Their methods include blowing up the Federal Building in downtown Dallas to destroy the bodies of four people infected at the cave site. Assigned to the terrorist unit in Dallas at the time of the explosion, Mulder and Scully are pegged as scapegoats to answer for the massive damage and deaths. Facing reassignment, Mulder and Scully take it upon themselves to discover the truth behind the bombing, and find out who set them up.

That’s what I love about “The X-Files.” It’s ability to mix detective-style suspense with fringe elements without apology. Everything in this film, from it’s conspiracy theories to it’s fantastic finale, are taken seriously. There’s a great detective story afoot in “The X-Files” film, as Mulder and Scully encounter numerous roadblocks and near-death experiences in their search for the truth. As always, the supporting cast lends strong support. Martin Landau is sensational as Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil, a friend of Mulder’s father and an author on conspiracy theories who points Mulder in the right direction.

Landau is a perfect fit in this well-tailored exercise in suspense. The television cast is also on hand, and while used sparingly, help ground the film. William B. Davis as the Cigarette-Smoking Man is even more menacing than before. As the henchman for the cabal, his importance and power is magnified on the big screen. Director Rob Bowman definitely knows his stuff, and you can sense confidence in every scene and performance. Carter’s screenplay is filled with imagination and intelligence. The steady stream of banter between Mulder and Scully is inviting and engaging.

Carter even manages to have his cake and eat it too by giving away just enough information to satisfy hard-core fans without alienating them from the series. The results are both satisfying and appealing. The truth is out there, and it’s creepy and spooky. If we have to face it, let’s walk hand in hand with these folks.


VISION: [ X ] 20/20 [ ] Good [ ] Cataracts [ ] Blind

Immaculate digital transfer delivers a near-perfect image, with not one iota of compression artifacts. Delivered in the film’s original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, the picture looks sensational. “The X-Files” is filled with all sorts of tricky lighting, and not once does the transfer indicate a problem. Instead, all of the images are strong and clean. The blacks and shadows are especially impressive. They’re as solid as they come. The colors and flesh tones are all realistic, and never suffer from over saturation or fading. Depth of field and attention to detail are also fine-tuned to the point of perfection. Transfer from a pristine negative makes all of this possible.

HEARING: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Minor Hearing Loss [ ] Needs Hearing Aid [ ] Deaf

The ominous strains of composer Mark Snow’s musical score creep out of the speakers with amazing, life- like clarity, while the ambient noise is excellent. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track (there’s also a 2.0 track in English, and for a real kick, check out the French 2.0 track which is amazing in it’s own right) is excellent. The stereo separation is profound, with some of the best stereo separation and front-to-rear split I’ve ever heard. No hiss or distortion here, just lots of pin-point directional noise that throw you into the middle of the conspiracy. The dialogue mix is superior, with no drop-outs. The basses are thundering, especially during the opening and closing moments, while the middle and high ends are so precise that during a bee attack you feel like you’re being buzzed.

ORAL: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Good [ ] Poor

Closed captions in English for the hard of hearing and subtitles in Spanish.

COORDINATION: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Good [ ] Clumsy [ ] Weak

First off, someone took the time to create an excellent, moody main menu screen that captures the feel of the movie. Very nicely done. The scene access menus are pretty rudimentary, but that’s okay. At least they look nice. The DVD also contains 3 theatrical trailers from the film’s run. Now on to the good stuff. Also included is the 30-minute documentary “the truth behind the making of The X-Files movie,” which was shown on Fox Television as a special tying the film together with the series. It’s an interesting, in-depth look at the making of the film, including the incredible special effects and the opportunity to open up the action on a wider canvas. Watch the documentary first to learn how they blew up the Federal Building, and to see how Duchovny and Anderson performed a lot of their own stunts. The documentary is hosted by Mitch Pileggi, who plays Skinner on the television show and in the film. There’s also a full-length audio commentary featuring series creator-writer Chris Carter and film director Rob Bowman. Any true fan of the series and film will want to immediately click on over to track four to listen to these two men discuss the origins of the show, their desire to take it to the big screen, and lots of mythology surrounding the series. It’s a shot by shot narrative that explains some of the tricks of the trade. The DVD also features footage not shown in theaters, but if I’m not mistaken, it is the same additional footage added to the video release. A nice package that could have used some cast & crew bios and filmographies.

PROGNOSIS: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Fit [ ] Will Live [ ] Resuscitate [ ] Terminal

The truth may still be out there, but there’s no denying that the DVD of “The X-Files” is evidence that there is intelligent life producing these discs.

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen : John Larsen



HMO: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

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