Fight the Future Reviews

Here you will find reviews on the "X-Files" movie "Fight the Future."

Review: 'The X-Files' combines smart FX, high IQ

June 19, 1998

Web posted at: 8:50 a.m. EDT (1250 GMT)

From Reviewer Paul Clinton (CNN)

-- "The X-Files" and FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are taking their search for extraterrestrial life to the big screen, and the big question isn't whether there is, or is not, intelligent life in the universe. No, the really, really big question is whether "The X-Files" will make a successful transition from the tube to the big screen.
Well, the truth is now out there. For the uninitiated, David Duchovny plays Mulder. He's in charge of the "X-Files," those FBI cases involving the paranormal, the supernatural and the inexplicable. Gillian Anderson plays Scully, a medical doctor-turned-FBI agent. To her, in general, everything has a medical or scientific solution; she was originally assigned to the X-Files to debunk any alien findings Mulder might uncover. Of course, over the TV show's last five years, she's seen plenty that can't be explained, she's been kidnapped by aliens, and has had some kind of unidentifiable technological device implanted in her skull. But never mind all that -- she's still a skeptic.
A cult phenomenon Since its inception, the television show "The X-Files," has grown into a cult phenomenon that stretches across the world. It's the most popular show in Canada, the highest-rated show on Britain's BBC2 Network, and the biggest TV hit in Japan since "Twin Peaks."
The series has been called "FX with an IQ" and the creators pride themselves on the pseudo-intellectual doubletalk the two main characters speak while chasing things that go bump in the night.
There in lies the secret to the series. There are always multiple subtexts to every show and nothing is ever really explained, despite the nonstop dialogue spouted by either Scully or Mulder as they peel away another layer of conspiracy, week after week.
Ever since the show's premiere, loyal viewers have been given glimpes of, and hints about, a mysterious worldwide group that is involved in a huge coverup concerning ongoing contact with extraterrestials. Now, in the film, we find out for sure that these men are in cahoots with aliens secretly colonizing Earth. They're hoping for special treatment after the takeover. But all is not as it seems, and, apparently, aliens are not a very reliable species when it comes to keeping a deal. The only things between us and them are Mulder and Scully.
Movie true to TV show basics Under the heading of full disclosure I have to admit I am an "X-Files" fan, so as far as I'm concerned, this film was preaching to the converted. All the basics are here from the television show. Of course the movie was written and produced by the series creator Chris Carter, and directed by "X-Files" veteran Rob Bowman, who has directed 25 episodes of the series.

Review: Chicago Tribune


If you're not tuned into the cult following of TV's 'The X-Files,' this stylish thriller may leave you feeling a bit clueless

June 19, 1998

Will even moviegoers with no "X-perience'' fall for "The X-Files?"

It's an important question. The $60 million movie version of writer-producer Chris Carter's cult-hit TV paranoid horror-mystery show -- about two sexy FBI agents who specialize in the paranormal and otherworldly -- has a built-in audience of sometimes obsessively loyal fans. These "X-philes," "X-perts" and "X-tremists" have, for the past five years, faithfully followed the flabbergasting investigations of tight-lipped, brainy agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

These fans know all the dark nooks and sinister crannies of Carter's amazingly dense and consistent world. And they've watched in amazement as Mulder and Scully pick up and crack one improbable case after another, uncovering monsters, reincarnated killers, evil brains, deadly extraterrestrials and bizarre fiends of all varieties.

In increasing numbers -- enough to push the show into the cult status of much older series like "Star Trek" and "The Twilight Zone" (and "The X-Files"' own main model, "The Night Stalker") -- they've puzzled over the show's mysteries. They've mulled over the disappearance of Mulder's sister, Samantha and pondered the real motives and identities of such enigmatic figures as The Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Davis) and The Well-Manicured Man (John Neville). Lately, they've been wondering about oily substances, mysterious bees and the question of just how vast and far-reaching a worldwide, extraterrestrial conspiracy poor Mulder and Scully are really up against.

In the movie "The X-Files," those riddles are solved. The conspiracy is unraveled. Agents Mulder and Scully get to the bottom of things -- including their feelings about each other. Zipping from northern Texas to Washington, D.C., to Antarctica, the hip duo find the plotters, learn what they're plotting and spill enough secrets to satisfy even the wildest "X-centric." That should be reason enough for any "X-phile" to check in.

But what about the rest of us? All us "X-iles" who don't know anything about The Syndicate, Rat Boy or Cancer Man? People who, like me, have to scurry to sources like the "X-Cyclopedia" or "X-Files Confidential" to find out what's really happening here? Everyone who can't recognize The Lone Gunmen (the show's trio of conspiracy buffs) and can't tell Sen. Richard Matheson (a series character named for the sci-fi writer and staff scenarist on "Twilight Zone" and "Night Stalker") from Sen. Richard Lugar. In a way, we're out in the cold -- though not completely. "The X-Files" has been designed more for series watchers than newcomers. But it's an intriguing movie all the same, full of stunning effects, clever characters and offbeat set-pieces. Perhaps it bounces around too much and occasionally leaves us in the dark (which is probably where it wants us). But it's written with relish (by Carter), acted with panache (by old regulars and newcomers like Martin Landau and Armin Mueller-Stahl) and directed with moody style by longtime series veteran Rob Bowman.

As we watch it, we can get caught up even in mysteries that remain a bit obscure and subtexts known only to faithful TV-watchers. And some of us, weaned on the largely senseless action-horror movies of the '80s, may not care. The movie has enough visual zingers, enough "X-citement" to hook the action addict and cover any confusion.

But the movie "X-Files" will mean so much more to people who know the series well than to people who don't, that I'm almost tempted to give it two separate ratings: (star) (star) (star) 1/2 for "X-Files" fans and (star) (star) 1/2 for everyone else. As you can see, I decided to split the difference. That's because I also decided, after poring over "X" reference books, and digesting synopses of past shows, that I'd probably like the movie more a second time around.

One doesn't want to give away any more plot here -- except to say that Mulder and Scully are investigating something together, and it's pretty drastic. But the cast is worth some recognition. Duchovny as believer agent Mulder -- a wisecracker who accepts paranormal explanations because he believes his sister was abducted by aliens -- has an effortless cool-guy irreverence and charm, even if he sometimes comes across like Richard Gere II or another Baldwin brother. Anderson, as the rationalist of the duo, the one who wants more proof, has a nice burning intensity. They're an intelligent couple, which probably feeds the show's special appeal.

John Neville, who was Terry Gilliam's Baron Munchausen, has several stylish scenes as The Well-Manicured Man. And any movie with Armin Mueller-Stahl in the cast, even playing a (new) character called Strughold, has some acting greatness at its disposal. The look of the movie has that grungy creepy virtuosity and shine you see in recent movies like "Seven": the sleek mechanics and the palpable, oozing rot. The visual effects people also pull off a great cliffhanging scene, with the Antarctic snow crumbling behind Mulder and Scully as they flee bad guys and destruction.

In the end, the movie works, though it probably works most completely and richly for those familiar with the TV show. But Carter should have remembered something. Real buffs of a show like "The X-Files" never mind if a movie or a major episode goes over old ground and over-explains. They usually like the idea of initiating new audiences into the mysteries and "X-tasy." But nobody likes walking into a party and being bewildered about all the guests and the games. After a while, they may even start looking for the "X-it." "The X-Files"

(star) (star) (star) Directed by Rob Bowman; written by Chris Carter; photographed by Ward Russell; edited by Stephen Mark; production designed by Christopher Nowak; music by Mark Snow; visual effects supervisor Mat Beck; produced by Daniel Sackheim. A 20th Century Fox release; opens Friday. Running time: 2:02. MPAA rating: PG-13.


Agent Fox Mulder ---- David Duchovny

Agent Dana Scully ---- Gillian Anderson

Kurtzweil ---- Martin Landau

Strughold ---- Armin Mueller-Stahl

Cassidy ---- Blythe Danner

Assistant Director Walter Skinner ---- Mitch Pileggi

The Cigarette-Smoking Man ---- William B. Davis

The Well-Manicured Man ---- John Neville

Review: Pseudo Culture

Sweet Hosanna. What to do with the modern dilemma. Millenialist lore and liscivious vilification are the names of the game when the femme fatale is the beast within. And modern television, in its indefatigable search for lebensraum, has unleashed the season finale for V maybe ten years too late--in film format. Its name? X-Files. Its mission? More banalities at 160 BPS. So turn up the bass, drop a choice upper and hit the big black box this weekend for some more summer movie shinola.

Where we last left them, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the X-namic duo, had just been smoked out of their work once and for all due to their proximity to both truth and investigative genius. The film, its protagonist Roswell '47-ers and loyal foiled Area '51-ers pick up the series' trail droppings to further their, by now, predictable though unconventional search. Despite being officially nixed by by the powers that be, the X-ers be powerin' Bruce Willis style in a two-hour letterbox episode of wrangling the cattle of causation.

As we X-philiacs have been accustomed, each new installment starts with a foreshadowed event that opens the right channels for investigation. And for the next two hours the probing is thorough but for the body cavities of our two heroes.

From Tunisia to Antarctica to North Texas by way of Washington D.C. from 35,000 B.C. to the present day, Spooky and his skeptic redhead delve for the phenomena that serve to bolster our collective evils in, you know, just another episode.

The kind of support cast this requires is men in dark suits meeting in poorly lighted smoking rooms, the X-files regulars like Skinner, The Well-Manicured Man and The Lone Gunmen, plus a boy who can otherwise out-act the names on the marquis. And the kind of writing this requires is more of the flaccid Chris Carter cutups from fifties horror films, the worst of Steven Spielberg, and dictionary of commonplace maxims. And to boot, the green men aren't only green they're borrowed every-which way from the greatest '80's Sci-Fi films replete with Geiger-esque set-designs and lighting and a zealous pursuit of happiness in the highly "categorized and easily referenced" future. What I am meant to fear is the greater government cog as aided by aliens and the Illuminati. Instead X-files the movie only manages to pique the most basic desires for sex and violence disguised in the same-old good v. bad filmic linguistic.

If my tone reeks of boredom and disdain, it's due possibly to the humidity here in Columbus. But I seriously doubt that. Maybe it's the mammoth queue for the last showing of X-Files on opening night (e-critics receive no advance screenings...) in a more mammoth stadium seating for a still more mammoth stadium crowd (...our work is quick and dirty). Were the atmosphere not so spunky, I'm afraid X-files the movie would have been a mammoth dud. See the film and be left with another cliff-hanger. Or simply know now, thanks to this brave trailblazer, that you needn't bother catching up on the summer-reruns 'cause the X-files are once again open.


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