The X-Files Movie Part 1: So much for little green men.

Little green man?

This story is so epic it spans 37,000 years. And if that isn’t enough evidence for you, they also changed the logo.

We open on two linebackers cavemen who stumble upon a cantankerous alien in an ice cave. This alien looks like nothing we’ve seen before on The X-Files where when unreliable glimpses of aliens are shown, they’re grey-green children with bug eyes in rubber suits. This alien has claws and sounds and moves suspiciously like a panther. One of the pre-historic men survives the fight, but the blood the alien leaves behind starts moving on it’s own. And already we have our first major revelation of the movie: the Black Oil is alien blood.

This means the sentient Black Oil that we were introduced to way back in  “Piper Maru” (3×15) isn’t just alien in nature, it’s the essence of the aliens themselves. Oh, and by the by, these aliens? They’re a far cry from the benignly mute little munchkins we’ve been used to envisioning the Colonists as. If this is who they’re dealing with, is it a wonder the Syndicate would rather serve than resist? Or is what we see here all there is to the aliens? Hmm.

Fast forward several millennia or so and four adventurous small town boys on lone from some heretofore unknown Stephen Spielberg film are digging holes in the Texas desert. One of them, Stevie, who looks like a miniature version of Alex Krycek, falls into the same ancient cave where our two Neanderthals from the opening met their fate long ago. Skulls are all that remain of anything human, but the Black Oil is still alive and slicking and it decides to infect Stevie post-haste.

Four firemen come to Stevie’s rescue and fall prey to the Black Oil themselves. No sooner are the firemen gonners than a crew flying unmarked helicopters and driving unmarked tanker trucks arrives on the scene and led by a worried looking man named Bronschweig proceed to take over operations.

I had you big time.

Sometime later and not too far away in Dallas, the F.B.I. is combing a federal building for a bomb that’s been reported. Mulder and Scully, meanwhile, are combing a building that is not federal and that is not under a bomb threat. That’s our team. Which begs the question, why would anyone in their right mind have Mulder and Scully hunting bombs? The X-Files burn up and this is what they have them doing? How does this match their skill set?

I have to pause here to give enthusiastic kudos to Chris Carter et. al. because this introduction of Mulder and Scully is epic (I’ll be using that word a lot this review, so brace yourselves). It’s all kinds of perfect. Not only does it tell any new viewer everything they need to know about these two people, their personalities and their relationship in a clean, efficient and fun way, but it’s enough to send any faithful fan into convulsions of Squee.

Scully smiles. Scully has fun. Scully cracks jokes. Do the events of this movie take place sometime in Season 1 and someone forget to tell me?

I’m being melodramatic, but it really isn’t often that we see Scully so loose and easygoing. And then quickly afterward to get a hefty dose of Angry Scully when she orders the evacuation of the building, it’s fangirl paradise. Though I must say, both Mulder and Scully are awfully casual for two people searching for a bomb, but we’ll let that slide for the joy of it all.

The way Mulder finds the bomb is genius; it’s just like The X-Files to take something as innocuous as patronizing a vending machine and turn it into your worst nightmare. However, having discovered the bomb, Mulder would be insane to actually open up the machine and risk blowing them all to oblivion. Mulder’s crazy but he’s not insane.

What gives me more pause than that, though, is the level of coincidence the plot is already forced to rely on. Mulder, off the X-Files mind you, happens to be investigating a bomb threat being used by a shadow government to hide the truth about extra-terrestrials. Mulder guesses based on no other evidence but his own instincts that the bomb won’t be in the building that was reported. Then, out of all the other buildings surrounding the federal building, he picks the right one to search, the one that really does have the bomb. Then, after giving up the search, he happens to pick the vending machine with the bomb in it to try to buy a drink from. Playing with coincidences as if they were building blocks is a dangerous game for a storyteller to play.

S.A.C. Michaud, played all too briefly, but memorably by an intense Terry O’Quinn, says that he will defuse the bomb, but Mulder and Scully don’t get to see him watch the clock run down without even attempting to do so. It’s a powerful moment and I can only dream that in some archive somewhere is a deleted scene giving us more insight into Michaud’s character.

I may not know why Mulder and Scully have joined the bomb squad and it may be riddled with coincidences, but this whole ten-minute sequence is perfectly executed.

One would think that having stumbled into the salvation of hundreds of people Mulder and Scully would come home to a ticker tape parade, but instead they’re sent before the Office of Professional Review Panel to explain why there were five people they missed, never mind the fact that it wasn’t their mistake that caused this mess. It makes no sense. It also doesn’t make sense to dispose of the alien infected bodies in an elaborate bomb plot rather than to, I dunno, cremate them. I can only assume that somewhere in the back of this is the Syndicate and/or Cigarette-Smoking Man looking to move Mulder out of the way once and for all.

Whatever the reason for this mess, Scully isn’t interested in being reprimanded and reassigned. If there are no more X-Files and no Mulder to work with, there’s nothing left worth doing at the F.B.I.. Mulder is shell-shocked when she sheepishly breaks the news to him and decides that evening to soak his professional and personal problems in booze. It’s not my favorite scene since something about his Spooky Mulder speech feels forced to me, but the writers had to find some reasonably inconspicuous way to let newcomers in the audience know why Mulder’s chasing aliens in the first place.

Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil, played by television and movie veteran Martin Landau, introduces himself to a drunken Mulder and lets him in on the secrets behind the Dallas bombing. Mulder, duly intrigued, fetches Scully in the middle of the night for an impromptu autopsy. If those firemen and the boy were dead before the bombing, they need to know. The scene where Mulder bluffs his way down to the morgue by intimidating the soldier is nearly play for play a repeat of a scene in “The Red and the Black” (5×14).

It’s quickly obvious that the fireman Scully examines hasn’t died in an explosion. The night guard isn’t nearly as quick to discover that he’s been had by Mulder. When he and his fellow soldiers do come for Scully, she makes a couple of awfully quick escapes that owe much to movie magic but are entertaining nonetheless.

Burn it. Like the others.

Meanwhile, CSM has learned from Bronschweig that this time the Black Oil hasn’t just infected its host, it’s gestating inside him, growing itself a physical body. CSM decides to keep it alive in order to test out the one potential weapon they have against the Colonists: a weak vaccine against the Black Oil virus. The 3784th Law of Movie Dynamics says that will never happen the way he intends.

Kurtzweil breaks down for Mulder the general outline of the conspiracy. Much of it long time viewers had already guessed, but this serves as more than confirmation. It also lets us know the Syndicate’s practical plans for carrying out colonization. The date for this has already been determined, and although it’s not explicitly given, we know that it will be during a holiday when people are traveling. Hint, hint!

As usual, Scully resists Mulder when he tries to pull her on a ridiculous chase only to show up after all. After complaining that she can’t afford to miss her meeting with O.P.R., Scully surprises Mulder by showing up in Dallas where he’s already trying to find evidence of a cover-up in the debris from the bomb site. Scully, who magically goes from pathologist to anthropologist, takes a quick look at fossilized bone fragments taken from the site that show the same evidence of massive infection that she saw in the body she autopsied earlier.

Help! I need help!

Back at Bronschweig’s secret base, we come to one of my favorite parts of the movie. Bronschweig is abandoned by his minions and buried alive with the fully gestated alien monster. The look on his face when he realizes what’s happening to him still fills me with cold horror. And, oh, how I remember my best friend and I covering the theater in giggles when the alien extended its malevolent claws. (Cut us some slack, we were 15).

After this is our first official introduction to Conrad Strughold. If the Syndicate has a leader, it’s him. I say “official” introduction because we’ve run into Strughold before. It was his mining facility that Mulder and Scully discovered the endless rows of medical files in during “Paper Clip” (3×2). Here we meet the man himself and it’s as he’s breaking disheartening news to his fellow conspirators: the Black Oil isn’t out to control us, it means to feed on us.

This begs several questions. We’ve seen the Black Oil trap people in coma-like states in episodes like “Tunguska” (4×9), we’ve seen it possess people and take over their wills as recently as “The Red and the Black”. If the Black Oil, the sentient essence of alien life, has always intended to repopulate the human race with itself through gestation, what’s with the comas and the mind control? Were the powerful men behind this collaboration with the aliens really so ignorant of their plans? And why, now that they have a viable vaccine, don’t these men do as Well-Manicured Man suggests and resist rather than facilitate the apocalypse?

I think they key is that the Black Oil is sentient. It doesn’t randomly take effect but chooses when and how to act. In other words, it knows when to hold ‘em and knows when to fold ‘em. Also, the samples of the Black Oil that the Syndicate has been able to get their hands on up to this point have been small and recent. They aren’t from this ancient, pre-historic stock that may not be aware of the rest of its race’s plans to negotiate surrender with the Syndicate. If it did, it probably would risk tipping them off to its actual power.

For their part, the Syndicate feels as though open resistance would be an idealist’s response and a mistake. The vaccine they have is still not 100% effective and so it has to be administered fairly quickly after infection, though it’s already much improved over the vaccine they stole from the Russians, the one that took its sweet time in curing Marita Covarrubias in “The Red and the Black”. Rather than fight with such a weak arsenal, they’d rather continue to remain under the Colonist’s protection until such time as they’ve gathered enough information to defeat them. Or so they say.

New facts of biology which have presented themselves.

The one hold out is WMM who has finally had enough of the aliens’ lies. When we’re introduced to him in the film, we see him spending time with his grandchildren and it’s clear from his benevolent expression where his priorities lay, in the future of his progeny. Now the tensions that have played out between him and the rest of the Syndicate during Season 5 come to a head. The scene where WMM faces off against the rest of the Syndicate, all the shots with him in it show him alone vs. the shots of the others show them all grouped together. What a great choice to visually show the underlying divisions between them.

Of course, the problem of Mulder comes up again. His digging is about to gum up their conspiratorial machine. Unsurprisingly, the idea of killing him is bandied about yet again as it has been since Season 2’s “Ascension” (2×6). Is Mulder really so important that they can’t kill him without risking their plans? We saw a glimpse in “Patient X” (5×13) of Mulder’s reputation in certain circles, but it wouldn’t have hurt for the show to have given the audience more of a sense over time of Mulder’s influence because, as it stands now, it’s hard to believe anyone with an I.Q. over 30 and a clean bill of mental health is listening to him. But I can’t fault them for trying to give an explanation where there is none. The longer the series continues and the higher the stakes are raised the more it feels as if the Syndicate is foolish not to kill Mulder, but we can’t have a show without a hero. Chris Carter then has no choice but to come up with an explanation for why he’s still around.

Since Mulder’s off limits, the Syndicate decides to take the sadistic approach and take away that which he loves the most, that with which he can’t live without. Cut to Scully.

You all look like door-to-door salesmen.

I should roll my eyes here at the blatant cheesiness of this moment, but no, I grin like an imbecile. However, we’ll save my gushing for Part 2 when we discuss the evolution of Mulder and Scully’s relationship in detail.

Moving on… while their futures are mapped out by others, Mulder and Scully are on the trail of the Black Oil the Syndicate has harvested from the ancient cave and is hauling away in unmarked tanker trucks. Their chase leads them to a mysterious field out of Children of the Corn, minus the children. It’s here that Mulder and Scully discover that bees are being kept, bees that pollinate corn in the middle of the desert. Like in “Herrenvolk” (4×1), these bees are carriers of the alien virus, the Black Oil, through their pollination of genetically modified corn. It’s bees like these that will eventually be released on the population of the world to infect them when Colonization goes down.

This is where we run into the most unbelievable set of coincidences Fight the Future tries to sell us. Based on Strughold’s comments and a not so subtle hint that Scully is the key to breaking Mulder’s spirit, we know that the Syndicate plans to take Scully away. If the insinuations are to be believed, the Syndicate cleverly arranges Scully’s infection and abduction through a precisely placed Arthropod. Right.

A better answer is that they intended to do something to Scully, but didn’t actually get around to it. Mulder and Scully stuck their noses where they didn’t belong and a bee took her out first. No doubt the Syndicate knew they had been to the site and were monitoring their calls, so when Mulder called 911 and described Scully’s symptoms one of their minions was on hand to intercept her before the real ambulance arrived.

It’s either that or the Syndicate leads Mulder and Scully magically to the tanker trucks and then to the giant Jiffy Pop poppers, knowing that they’d go inside, releases the bees and programs one of the said bees to sting Scully and not Mulder. But it doesn’t sting Scully right away, oh no. It crosses state lines. It survives a plane ride. It’s instructed to wait until every Shipper in the theater is falling out of their chair in painful anticipation before it strikes.

My motor functions are being affected.

Even for a series that isn’t afraid to harness the power of coincidence, this is too extreme to take seriously. It’s a good thing then that I don’t care if it actually makes sense or not.

Post-sting, Mulder is shot by the same man who bumped into him after planting the bomb in Dallas. He wakes up to the Lone Gunmen, who show up mainly so they can put a “We Were Here” bumper sticker on their car because they barely register on the screen before they’re gone again. Mulder makes a quick date with Kurtzweil to drill him for the answers that will lead him to Scully, but he’s too late. WMM has gotten there first. It’s just as well for Mulder since Kurtzweil had been out of the Syndicate loop so long he knows next to nothing and WMM is in such a generous mood that he spoon feeds Mulder the answers he’s looking for. I should’ve known then that Chris Carter wouldn’t let the character live. He would’ve made things far too easy for Mulder and they have a mythology plot they need to drag out.

I always assumed WMM knows he’s about to die in his final scene. He already suspects his colleagues will be out to get him, he even says as much to Mulder. And why else would he shoot the driver and then get back in the passenger seat? But if that’s the case, why doesn’t the bomb go off when Mulder shuts the passenger door right before WMM closes it again and sets the bomb off? Was it remotely activated? Could WMM have done it himself? Someone ask Chris Carter at the next convention.

Trust no one, Mr. Mulder.

Mulder wastes no time in taking the vaccine and the information he’s been given and setting out for Antarctica. Thankfully, we’re spared the minutiae of his trip and we catch up with him right as he stumbles onto the alien spaceship. Literally. He stumbles onto the alien spaceship by falling through a well-placed hole in the snow. Those coincidences are running amok.

After five years on the X-Files and even longer spent searching for the truth about alien life, Mulder gets to see an alien spaceship from the inside. But he doesn’t have much time to marvel at the money spent on special effects for this movie as time is running out for Scully’s vaccination window. Not to worry. Though the spaceship is filled with rows of occupied pods, Mulder finds gestational Scully within seconds of discovering them.

Unfortunately for Mulder, administering the vaccine, weak though it may be, to Scully, results in the entire spaceship being compromised. In some pre-programmed attempt to save itself, the dormant spaceship awakes and turns on the heat in order to more quickly gestate the little alien babies. This means that not only does Mulder have to carry out a limp and goo covered Scully, he has to do it while evading alien teeth.

Of course they both make it. So do CSM and his lackeys who were guarding the spaceship from above at Base 1. But the everlasting question on every Phile’s heart is: How do they get home?

We don’t know how they avoid hypothermia, nor where Mulder hid the satellite phone, nor how Scully miraculously winds up with a pair of shoes even though Mulder didn’t know he’d find her naked, but they do make it back to Washington, D.C. where Scully goes before the O.P.R. panel yet again only this time, she has even less evidence and an even wilder story. Don’t tell her that, though, since her new found confidence is so impressive she cowers the O.P.R. into silence.

Mulder is in a different frame of mind altogether and bitterly complains that he and Scully are, yet again, right back where they started. No proof. No definite answers. No justice. Just the two of them riding nowhere, on their way back home. Mulder may complain, but for me, that’s all I need.

If I quit now, they win.

And somewhere in Tunisia, the bees drone on…

The Verdict:

This script was written by Carter and Spotnitz in two weeks during Season 4 and filmed during the hiatus between Season 4 and Season 5. That means they not only had to plot a feature film fast enough that it could be developed and filmed in time, but they also had to plan out the rest of Season 4 and Season 5 in order for the story to work. On top of that, the movie needed to be a sufficient lead-in to Season 6 in terms of the mythology.

So, yes, there are some less than sophisticated moments in the plot. I’m no I Want to Believe Basher, but as fans have pointed out about The X-Files’ long-awaited return to the big screen, it’s a film with some flaws. If we’re honest with ourselves, Fight the Future is no less flawed but it faces less criticism because, frankly, it’s more fun. It’s easier to overlook gaping plot holes when you’re busy oohing, ahhing and giggling.

There are some forced dramatic moments that should bother me, but I’m so in love that they don’t. They work where they wouldn’t in a lesser show. Yes, I still say “show” and not “movie” because the backstory of the series is what makes this movie great. The history of its characters is what allows them to take sentimental liberties that would torpedo a lesser franchise because it gives the events that occur a weight that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Rides like this are why I go to the movie theater. And they’re why I used to tune in to The X-Files week after week. I can’t say they made something here that’s going to wind up on AFI’s list of the top 100 movies of all time, but they did the fans proud.

Stay tuned because for our next installment, we’ll Ship the heck out of this movie.


The Trivialities:

That super slide Mulder goes on in the spaceship is worthy of something out of Goonies.

Is there a reason Mulder litters Byers’ suit jacket on the ground? I mean, other than to make David Duchovny look like an action hero?

They put too much makeup on Gillian Anderson. It’s caked like she’s about to open on Broadway. She still looks gorgeous, though.

There’s a great shot in the F.B.I. hallway were we get a clear view of Scully’s shoes. They’re boss.

I’m sure this is just me, but there’s a moment when Well-Manicured Man says “The location of Agent Scully and the means to save her life,” and then switches the vaccine from one hand to the other before gesturing Mulder into the waiting car – I love it. There’s something about the rhythm of it and the sound the vaccine package makes.

The Nitpicks:

Mulder just happens to fall down the rabbit hole that will take him to the heart of the alien spaceship? Let’s not call it coincidence; let’s call it Providence.

I understand that Mulder took off a layer of his clothing to put on Scully when he discovered her nakedness, but where did the shoes she’s wearing come from?

In the end, Blythe Danner’s character says there’s now evidence and S.A.C. Michaud was implicated in the bombing. What evidence is this that she speaks of?? Mulder and Scully didn’t bring any souvenirs back from Antarctica.

If the Syndicate didn’t know that the virus would gestate, what about the alien spacecraft they had their base on top of where a bunch of people are suspended ice with little aliens in their bellies? Aren’t CSM and his men the ones that transferred Scully into the ship in the first place? What’s more, the bee that stings Scully infects her with the version of the Black Oil that gestates. Assuming they could even re-genetically engineer the corn fast enough to allow for that, they wouldn’t want to. It would clue the Colonists in to the fact that they know the truth and would erase their advantage.

Scully escapes detection by the military guards in the morgue, but will somebody please explain to me how she exits this heavily guarded hospital without being noticed?

Grabbing Scully’s wrist when bees are swarming them seems like a pretty dumb move on Mulder’s part. What if one was trapped inside her clothes?

The Players:

Bronschweig is played by Jeffrey DeMunn, AKA Dale from The Walking Dead, AKA That Guy from That Movie and That Show. Ubiquitous much? I kid, but he does an awesome job here.

There’s also an uncredited appearance by Jason Beghe, David Duchovny’s long-time friend who introduced him to acting. Watch that scene by the vending machine closely and you’ll recognize him from “Darkness Falls” (1×19).

You’ll also recognize Gary Grubbs, the Fire Captain, as the Sheriff in “Our Town” (2×24).

One of the great casting coups of this film is that they landed Martin Landau of Mission Impossible fame among much other work. Personally, I knew him better as Geppetto in The Adventures of Pinnochio which I saw during my JTT phase… which immediately preceded my X-Files phase.

Casting Armin Meueller-Stahl as Strughold was no small accomplishment either.

The impressiveness doesn’t end there. Actress Glenne Headly is a little overqualified for her brief role as Bartender.

Did I mention they even brought in Blythe Danner?

Doesn’t Stevie, the kid who falls down into the cave, look kinda like a baby Krycek?

The Quotes:

Bronschweig: Sir, the impossible scenario that we never planned for? Well, we better come up with a plan.


Scully: I saw your face Mulder. There was a definite moment of panic.
Mulder: Well you’ve never seen me panic. When I panic I make this face. [Demonstrates]
Scully: That was the face.
Mulder: You didn’t see that face.
Scully: I saw that face.


Mulder: Scully, you know that face I just showed you? I’m making it again.


Bartender: So, what do you do?
Mulder: What do I do?
Bartender: Mmm hmm.
Mulder: I’m the key figure in an ongoing Government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. It’s a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power, that reaches down into the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet. [Laughs] So, of course, no one believes me. I’m an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. They call me “Spooky.” Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who’ll listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it’s going to be the shit storm of all time.
Bartender: Well. I would say that about does it, Spooky. [Takes his glass]


Mulder: I woke you. Did I wake you?
Scully:  No.
Mulder: Why not? It’s 3:00 in the morning.


Kurtzweil: Are you familiar with the Hanta virus, Agent Mulder?
Mulder: Yeah, it was a deadly virus spread by field mice in the southwestern United States several years ago.
Kurtzweil: According to the newspaper, FEMA was called out to manage an outbreak of the Hanta virus. Are you familiar with what the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s real power is? FEMA allows the White House to suspend constitutional government upon declaration of a national emergency. Think about that! What is an agency with such broad-sweeping power doing managing a small viral outbreak in suburban Texas?
Mulder: You’re saying it wasn’t such a small outbreak.
Kurtzweil: No, I’m saying it wasn’t the Hanta virus.


Scully: This is weird, Mulder.
Mulder: Very weird.
Scully: Any thoughts as to why anybody would be growing corn in the middle of the desert?
Mulder: Well, those could be giant Jiffy-Pop poppers.


Langly: What can we do?
Mulder: You can strip Byers naked.
Byers: What?
Mulder: I need your clothes.


Strughold: You look hot and miserable. Why have you traveled all this way?
CSM: We have business to discuss.
Strughold: We have regular channels.
Smoking Man: This involves Mulder.
Strughold: Ah. That name, again and again.
Smoking Man: He’s seen more than he should have.
Strughold: What has he seen? Of the whole he has seen but pieces.
Smoking Man: He’s determined now. Reinvested.
Strughold: He is but one man. One man alone cannot fight the future.
Smoking Man: Yesterday, I received this… [Telegram Reads: X-FILES REOPENED. STOP. PLEASE ADVISE. STOP.] {Editor’s Note: Telegrams still exist???}

34 responses to “The X-Files Movie Part 1: So much for little green men.

  1. Over the years I’ve gone from thinking FTF was quite okay (back in 98) to really loving and appreciating it. At first Mulder’s and Scully’s banter was the best part (it still is) while the aliens and the spaceship reminded me strongly of the movie “Alien”. Now, I love every part of it and how much of the mythology was revealed. It also is funny, suspenseful, leaves me with questions about the plot like normal XF episodes 😉 and altogether it’s pretty darn good.
    Been wondering about WMM’s motives to get back in the back of the car after he shot the driver for years and finally came to the same conclusion as you.
    I’d like if Strughold was still out there (aka Tunisia) waiting for 2012…
    i disagree on one thing though, Salome. In my opinion Scully is not wearing shoes in Antarctica. It looks like she is wearing Mulder’s socks. The thick wooly kind. You can see it when he carries her after rescuing her from the pod and when they come up to the surface of the ice before it collapses.

    I’m looking forward to part 2 of your review. 🙂

    • It’s funny because when I first saw it, I didn’t think it revealed much of the mythology plot either, more that it confirmed much of what we had already guessed. But now I realize that this movie is what brings all the previous mythology episodes together into a sensible whole. Kudos to Carter & Spotnitz.

      If there’s an XF3, wouldn’t it be great if Strughold made an appearance? It’d be such a great link to the original mythology threads.

      I stand corrected, those are some dang thick socks!

  2. Yes, I’ve always thought that she was wearing socks rather than shoes, as well.

    I love this movie. It’s probably embarrassing how many times I’ve seen it. Not only is it a great fit between Seasons 5 and 6, and not only is it almost mind-boggling in the extent of the mythology it reveals/confirms, but it’s also just a fantastic stand-alone that you can watch again and again. Yes, there are a few holes, and a lot of coincidences, but sometimes you just have to say go with it and enjoy the ride.

    Great review. Can’t wait to read Part 2.

    • Like Daniela, it took me a while to appreciate how much of the mythology it actually opens wide. Not so much in brand new revelations, of which the true nature of the Black Oil is the biggest, but more in that it puts the pieces together into a coherent whole.

      But even if it didn’t, it’s just so flippin’ fun.

  3. I am exhausted from reading this Salome, but in a good way of course. I have to agree with just about everything you said here, and yes the film does hang together based on ludicrous coincidences, but in all honesty, I love this movie. I mean I REALLY, REALLY love it. This is The X Files writ large, with gorgeous photography, an orchestral score courtesy of Mark Snow, epic production design and best of all, widescreen framing, the joys of watching Mulder and Scully in wide lenses with black bars top and bottom of the screen is a real thrill for me. Yes, I really should get out more.

    Someday, and that day may never come, I would love to see this movie in the AFI Top 100, but despite that being a pipe dream, this is such a blast of brilliant escapism, fun, an epic rollercoaster ride full of action, humour, romance and icky, gooey, gory moments, what’s not to love.

    By the way, I was 14 when I went to see this on the big screen, and I don’t know about anybody else, but the credit sequence, where the theme tune kicks in and then that LOUD orchestral sound follows it, made me jump about two seats back. Right there and then, I knew this was going to be great.

    Okay, sorry of waffling on, great review as always, waiting forward to seeing you go all shipper on it 😀

    • I’m also exhausted from writing it, but in a good way of course. Is it possible to go into an X-Files overdose? Is there a detox for that?

      A vaccine, maybe?

      This really is just a supercharged mythology episode, and like you, that’s exactly why I love it. I read some critique of it somewhere, I can’t even remember who it was or where I found it, where they criticized the movie for feeling different than the show, as if Carter & Co. threw in all the big explosions just because they could.

      Well, they kinda did… but they do that in the show too! The special effects get bigger and badder every season and they’re always used appropriately. Even what many consider the first mythology episode, The Erlenmeyer Flask, starts off with a car chase. There’s nothing new here. It’s just bigger, badder, and uncut.

      “Brilliant Escapism” should be the undertitle for the whole show.

  4. It doesn’t matter how much you overdose on The X Files, you can never have enough of it 🙂

    I have no problems with them throwing in explosions because they could here. Come on, it’s a movie and compared to, say the idiotic spectacles of Michael Bay’s movies, The X Files:Fight the Future is still an exercise in restraint. The whole set piece at the start where the Federal Building blows up must surely rank as the most gripping sequence to appear in any X File.

    Also, and it’s nice timing bringing this up because we had a similar discussion about this over on my own blog in the Zero Sum post, but I just love how Carter’s script and Bowman’s direction allows the visuals to play out along with Mark Snow’s music when Mulder finds the UFO under the ice. No dialogue, just David’s performance, Christopher Nowak’s production design and Mark Snow’s score. Does it get any better?

    • And we’re about to extend this conversation on silence and visual storytelling in The X-Files because that’s something I thought about quite a bit for Part 2 of the review, albeit in a slightly different context. I had forgotten about how that bit in the UFO doesn’t involve dialogue… well, except for that famous curse word… probably because it’s not missed! All they need to say the audience can observe right along with Mulder. Great, great stuff.

      I’m not so sure about what you say about the overdose, though. I have a funny taste in the back of my throat.

  5. The swear word, I totally forgot about that. Apart from that, it is almost near silent and it works.

    You have that funny taste too? Glad to know I’m not the only one that gets that. 😀

    • LOL! Do either of you have a pre-existing allergy???

      You killed it again, Salome! Love this movie, LOVE this review, and VERY excited because I’m about to read part two. Ships ahoy!

  6. Blythe Danner: “S.A.C. Michaud was implicated in the bombing. What evidence is this that she speaks of??”

    Is it because Michaud didn’t die? Terry O’ Quinn appeared in the series twice as different characters–first as a cop (I looked it up–it’s ‘Aubrey’) and then at the end of the series as a super-soldier. In the film, when Michaud insists that he defuses the bomb, he just sits there. Is it because it’s a futile situation, or because he knows that it doesn’t matter because he’s almost invincible?
    Me and the bf questioned this when he came back AGAIN at the end of the series. It may be just because the casting director really, really, really liked Terry O’Quinn.

  7. I don’t think Scully was wearing shoes – I think she was just wearing socks.

  8. If apogee is the correct word(?) then this film is the apogee of everything I love about the X Files. I hardly noticed the plot holes . If I really love the characters enough (which I do) then I can just allow myself to be swept along by the story and put every plot hole down to artistic license. Even David D and Gillian both physically looked their best at this time, although I’d agree they must have slapped on the foundation with a trowel in Gillian’s case ( why? She really doesn’t need it) and why is she wearing full slap and push- up bra in bed when Mulder shows up later? Who cares really! It’s all great fun, and for me this film has everything I could want from the XFiles condensed down into a couple of wonderful hours 😉

    • If a civilization can reach it’s apogee, why not a landmark T.V. show?

      Speaking of Scully all done up, what I want to know is why she still had on a full face of makeup… in bed… at three in the morning. But, ah, that’s movie magic for you! I agree, though, the fun of this movie more than makes up for any piddling hiccups.

  9. You know, I went to see this movie with my sister, who never really got into the show, but would watch an ep from time to time. To this day, she remains convinced that WMM is alive and will show up at some point. She has never faltered in this. I have no idea why she believes this so firmly, and nothing I’ve said to contradict her has made her think otherwise. So, here’s hoping that, should there be an X3, WMM shows up.

    Beyond that…I don’t think too much about the movies I enjoy. If I start to think about the logistics of movies, it all starts to fall apart. I mean, if I think about the time traveling in Back to the Future and its sequels, my head starts to hurt and the movies make absolutely no sense whatsoever. FTF has to be a leap of faith. I’m sure we can find some sort of logic to some of Mulder’s actions; maybe the coordinates were really super specific; maybe the reason Mulder fell through the snow at that point was because bodies had recently been added in that area and the ship was generating more heat. Who knows? Frankly, I don’t care. I just love to watch it. Logic doesn’t matter much to me when I’m watching something I enjoy.

    One of the coolest moments to me; when Mulder and Scully are running across the snow. There’s no underlying score–just crunching snow and heavy breathing. Not a sound when they drop into the crater, then as they slide off the craft. I appreciate that TPTB didn’t feel the need to dress up every scene with something in the background; I feel the sense of urgency is greater without a score behind it, and it makes the music that pours in as Mulder sees the craft even more poignant.

    But…I’m with everyone else. Logic or not, how the HELL did they get out of Antarctica?

    • I wish he would show up. I still miss him. So from her lips to God’s ears! And while she’s add it, maybe she should say a few prayers for the Lone Gunmen as well. Honestly, initially I thought it might have been a trick too.

      That ice crackle is a great moment, especially since they add to the intensity with close up shots. Perfect decision not to add any dramatic music there, the situation was dramatic enough.

  10. I think Chris Carter and Frank Spotsnitz doet them out of couldn’t figure out how to get them out of Antarctica. So, they just left it and let the audience figure it out. That is from a xfile convention on the 2nd movie. or talk.
    I think since Mulder went up their he had to rent a snowcat the agency, probably military owned, sent out a help truck, figuring, he got lost or hurt. As far as the hole Mulder fell through I initially was concerned that he would not get to Scully in time. Thinking back it is not a real connection. He should have snuck in the front or backdoor after knocking a guard out. Or the hole in the g round should had been shown, or mentioned . Yeah they were socks Scully was waring. I figured Mulder gave his coat, he gave her his socks as well. Oh if I could have a man like that!

  11. I never had a big issue with them getting out of Antarctica. I just assumed CSM never stole Mulder’s arctic track vehicle and just left it there. Granted it showed him as running out of Gas, but that was also exactly the point where he was supposed to be, so that’s why he stopped and got out. I imagine on a big vehicle like that, way out in the antarctic, he carried plenty of extra diesel fuel cans. He probably also had food supply, warm clothing, contraceptives, etc. In fact, I imagine they have QUITE the pleasant journey back to civilization if you ask me!

    Yeah, funnily enough, that scene I could most easily rationalize. It was all the other gigantic plot holes and coincidences I didn’t like. Salome covered them really well, and with the proper attitude, in her review. Well done!

    I too thought the Alien gestation thing was a bit of a copy-cat of Alien, but it works well when they wrap up the creature’s full life cycle in season 6’s The Beginning.

  12. Loved this- thanks!

    P.s I always thought the ‘coincidence’ of Mulder choosing the wrong (or right in this case) building was a further tribute to his instinct. Mulder lives on and by his instinct (in every case), which, for me is one of the greatest things about his character. That for me is why he should be considered ‘Spooky Mulder’.

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