Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Elaborate Arc To The Big Screen, The X-Files: Fight The Future Holds Up Better For Fans!

The Good: Good acting, Nice character development, Interesting story
The Bad: Often convoluted, Somewhat problematic in the overall mythos
The Basics: When The X-Files moves to the big screen, Mulder and Scully take on a change in the nature of one of the show's biggest villains.

I've long said, to any who would listen, that the main problem with The X-Files was that creator Chris Carter did not know from the beginning where the show was going. That is to say in his mythology episodes for the series, he did not know on day one what the backstory was, who the key players were and where the show was going to go with them all. The X-Files movie, preview titled Fight The Future, though it does not appear as such on screen, is the film debut of The X-Files and it wisely tells an X-File Mythology story.

When a Federal Building in Texas is blown up, Agents Mulder and Scully - late of the X-Files at the FBI - happen to be part of the team sent to prevent the explosion. In trying to determine why that building was blown up, they encounter the enigmatic Dr. Kurtzweil, who claims to have information about the mysterious group that seems to control the world in The X-Files. Mulder soon comes to believe that the extraterrestrial Black Oil is intended for use as a weapon to be distributed by bees and when Scully falls prey to it, Mulder is in a race against time to save her.

Okay, here's where The X-Files starts to seriously lose cohesion. In the television version of The X-Files, the Black Oil is an extraterrestrial life form. That's cool, we can understand that. They have their own spaceships which are custom designed for them and the Black Oil can inhabit humans and take control of them. We get all that. In this movie, the Black Oil is something far more sinister, it's essentially a spore that will mutate the victim into a husk for a bigger, nastier alien life form.

And this is what, the movie shows us, the conspiracy is all about. This begs two important questions: 1. Why would the most powerful people in the world want to create an army of angry aliens they cannot control out of the human population and 2. Don't any of the members of the conspiracy watch The X-Files and know that this is a pointless goal? The second question is asked because the villainous Krychek discovers first hand (pun intended) how to defeat the Black Oil on the show. The Black Oil won't stay in anyone who has a big enough physical defect, like the loss of a limb. So, while Mulder struggles with vaccines and such, all that needs to be done to stop this weird alien invasion is for people to saw off a hand or a foot. Not ideal, but becoming an incubator for the creepies from this movie seems less cool.

What works here is that this is The X-Files. The dialogue is smarter than your average action-adventure film. The story remains tightly focused on two characters who are likable and smart and who the majority of the audience knows already. And despite the nit-picking, there is a pretty solid story being told here that is interesting and well-paced. Moreover, this is an action-adventure movie that is easily rewatchable.

The principle characters, Mulder and Scully, are just as they are in the television series. In this movie, they continue doing what they've been doing. So, in the beginning of the film, they are joking around, when they are on the run they only trust each other. In that regard, Fight The Future is spot on for fans of the series. These are our characters we've watched for years and for newcomers, they are very likable here, so that works quite well.

Mulder is played by David Duchovny and in Fight The Future he is given a great deal of physical stunts to work through. Through most of the movie, Duchovny is running, jumping, ducking, it seems he is always in motion and Duchovny pulls it off without it ever seeming like he's breaking his professional facade.

As always, Gillian Anderson gives a great performance as Dana Scully. She gets through the technobabble and sells the viewer on the reality of this world. Anderson also is masterful at expressing emotions with her facial expressions and she creates a perfectly terrified mood in one of the most tense scenes of the film without uttering a word.

The big guest star in this movie is Martin Landau who plays Kurtzweil. He's up to the task, as always and it's refreshing to see such a high caliber actor associated with The X-Files. On the DVD, the bonus features, like the commentary, provide welcome information about the making of the movie.

Fight The Future can be found cheap most places these days and the truth is, it's worth picking up. It's a smart, if convoluted, easily rewatchable way to spend two hours for fans of the series or anyone who just wants a fun story.

For other films based on television shows, please check out my reviews of:
The Star Trek film collection
G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon


For other film reviews, please check out my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2006 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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