The X-Files: Fight The Future: Mulder and Scully make the leap to the big screenBy Teresa Huang
Directed by Rob Bowman
Written by Chris Carter
Starring Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, William B. Davis, Mitch Pileggi, Martin Landau, and Armin Muehler-Stahl
To answer your question, you will be able to understand the X-Files movie even if you're not a card-toting member of the David Duchovny estrogen brigade. Series creator Chris Carter has successfully turned one of television's smartest programs into a sharp action film that maintains the integrity of the series while showing off what a big budget can do for a small show. Although it lacks clarity and closure at times, moviegoers can consider The X-Files: Fight the Future an accurate introduction to the wonderfully dark and confusing world of Chris Carter.
The conspiracy theories and glimpses of extraterrestrial life revealed in five seasons of The X-Files cannot compare to the magnitude of alien activity in this film. When we first join the dynamic duo of FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), we find them reassigned to the anti-terrorist division of the FBI after higher-ups have closed the all-important X-Files division. The action begins with a tasteless explosion a little too reminiscent of the Oklahoma City bombing, which of course has something to do with Mulder and his quest to uncover government conspiracies regarding the existence of extraterrestrial life. The film continues the storyline developed in the series involving a global conspiracy between an extraterrestrial race and the Syndicate, a collection of key players in high levels of government. After receiving a tip from a seemingly crazy doctor (Martin Landau), Mulder and Scully set aside their anti-terrorist work and dive right back into their usual routine, investigating conspiracies, asking questions no one wants answered, and causing general mayhem for the Syndicate and its master plan. Piece by piece, the alien conspiracy is uncovered as Mulder and Scully risk their lives in a quest for the truth.
And yes, the show works on a big screen. It's obvious that Chris Carter responded to the challenge of making his little show into a blockbuster movie by making everything in sight bigger - bigger explosions, bigger risks, and bigger wardrobe budgets. Strip away the booming music and special effects, and you have a typical episode of The X-Files - full of surprises and confusing as all hell. The X-Files: Fight the Future unfolds at a steady yet intense pace, jumping from one intense sequence to the next while intriguing and scaring the audience at the same time. There are many reasons why The X-Files is the highest rated show on Fox, and this film lets all of them shine.
Most movie critics have been debating whether the film is understandable to those unfamiliar with the show. What everyone forgets is that The X-Files has always been impossible to understand. When was the last time you saw an episode of The X-Files that tied up all its loose ends neatly? Chris Carter is the master of spending a full 60 minutes revealing bits of information which collectively offer no conclusions in the end. The X-Files: Fight the Future is a prime example. While the conspiracy between the government and alien life becomes more clear through Mulder and Scully's investigation, the film leaves many questions unanswered while stirring up fresh new ones. The real challenge will be incorporating the major revelations from the film back into the weekly television series. Fans of The X-Files can add to the pieces uncovered in the film to the puzzle of the last five seasons. Non-fans can consider themselves caught up.
However, though The X-Files: Fight the Future took great pains to make the central conspiracy theory understandable to all, it sometimes forgot to give those unacquainted with the show a reason to care about the characters. While deciphering the plot was an issue that was effectively addressed, deciphering why Mulder and Scully care so much about aliens and each other was an issue that seemed largely ignored.
Even so, the movie succeeds as a top rate action film, packed with intelligent twists and plenty of gratuitous grossness to satisfy every kind of X-Files fan. People who have never seen an episode of The X-Files should especially see The X-Files: Fight the Future for a perfect introduction to the series. The appeal of both the show and the film is undeniable. As for Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as big screen actors, I give them an A for effort, though they shouldn't quit their day jobs just yet. For every hit like The X-Files: Fight the Future, there can be a miss like Playing God.