The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998) – Rob Bowman

 

The X-Files owned the late 90s, early 00s and as the fifth season came to a close, the show was at the height of its popularity. This led to the idea of an event, a thank you for the fans, and the FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) made the leap to the big screen.

And now I get to revisit it thanks to the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

I remember when the first teaser for this movie played. I can’t even tell you what the movie was that I was screening, but when the trailer began, everyone was like “What’s this?” Then when we heard Scully say Mulder’s name, the crowd went nuts! Heck, I still have some of the action figures that were released in support of the film!

As solid as the film is, it still only plays like an extended episode, there is a bit more of an expansive look to the story, but the series was always pretty good at making their locations work for them on an international level. It allows the characters to swear, but beyond that there wasn’t a lot to justify the cinematic leap.

Coming off the conclusion of Season 5, with the burning and closing down of the X-Files, Mulder and Scully have been reassigned, and as the film opens they are investigating a bomb threat, but things are never all they seem to be in this world, and what was thought to be a terrorist action is soon revealed to be a deliberate action by a faction within the government to hide evidence.

Is it possible evidence of alien life, invasion, and colonization? That’s what Mulder begins to believe again, and the visual evidence we are presented in the film would seem to support that. But we’ve also learned not to trust everything we’re shown.

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Joining the duo, as it wouldn’t be an X-Files movie without them is Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) and the villainous Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), but also joining them is Martin Landau who plays an ill-fated source of information for Mulder on the investigator’s quest for the truth.

Allowed to luxuriate over a two hour runtime, the story plays more as drama as opposed to a weekly procedural with only a few high-tension moments.

Touching on the black oil and the possibility of alien invasion/colonization the film raises just as many questions as the series and only hints at the real answers as well as the ones we want to believe.

Having worked my way through the first five seasons of the series recently I also noticed that despite the fact that Mulder is positioned as the believer he’s not convinced as easily as he used to be, keeping very much in line with his character arc for the fifth season.

You can see, however, by film’s end that his faith just like the X-Files has returned. It also sees the launch of the new season, which saw the production move from British Columbia to California.

Didn’t matter though, the truth was out there for three more seasons!

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