July 1998
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Movie review: X-Files Fight the Future

By Jason Morrison

The truth is out there-some of it, anyway.

The new X-Files movie, Fight the Future, reveals a lot of the truths that Special Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) have been chasing throughout the popular series' five years. Luckily for fans, it's nothing they couldn't have figured out by now. And luckily for non-fan movie goers, you don't need to study before you go see the show.

The film, in fact, was downright easy to follow compared to many of the TV series' episodes. Mulder and Scully are assigned to a bomb squad after the x-files have been closed by the FBI. When Mulder, on a hunch, discovers a bomb in the building across the street from the one threatened, he begins to think there is more going on than meets the eye.

The FBI plans to shift blame for the explosion to the two since they violated protocol by leaving the agent in charge alone to defuse the bomb. The threaten to send Scully off to a field office and split the two up. But then Mulder's luck picks up--the mysterious Dr. Kurtzwell (Martin Landau) meets Mulder in a bar and confirms his suspicions that the bombing was far from routine.

The bomb blew up a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) office which may have held evidence of everything Mulder has been looking for. Mulder and Scully embark on a trail to expose the cover up, defuse a dangerous virus and discover just what aliens and the mysterious syndicate of powerful men have to do with it.

The plot is very straightforward, but thrilling. The points are far from subtle, but plot twists are fast, creative and exciting just like the show at its best. There's little play between Scully's empirical science and Mulder's belief in the unexplained, no conflict between Scully's Catholic faith and Mulder's complete lack thereof. But there are enough chases, explosions and murders to keep everyone interested and the movie is true enough to the spirit of the show to keep fans involved. It's a very well-done summer action movie in its own right, and a thousand times deep er than your average Independence Day or Con Air.

Duchovny and Anderson are obviously two of the film's strengths. They have been developing these characters for five years and in the film we see them at their best. They finally admit to each other one of the unspoken rules of the series: they need each other. And in at least one scene, they get very... intimate.

The movie also builds on the powerful cinematography of the show, using unique angles, beautifully strange landscapes and dynamic movement so subtly it's almost unnoticeable. The result, though, is that viewers will be drawn into Mulder and Scully's world with a striking reality. As their car drives away from the bombed building, the camera turns with the agents-almost making me look over my own shoulder for the explosion.

The single biggest criticism for the movie is that the answers to all the questions, from the bad guys to the virus to the aliens themselves, are made very obvious by the end of the movie. Despite suspense created by the agents' death-defying maneuvers, there is little or no intellectual suspense. One of the greatest aspects of the series is that after many episodes, you're just as unsure about the "truth" as the agents. The biggest question Mulder and Scully have at the end of this movie is, "what now?"

It's hard to say, though, whether this is a departure from the series or just the end of a logical progression. When we first saw the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), for instance, he was a complete and total enigma. As the show progressed, he became more and more define, started giving henchmen orders and was soon making very revealing statements. Now in the movie we follow his journeys almost as closely as we follow Mulder and Scully's.

X-Files Fight the Future will not leave most viewers debating whether or not the truth is out there, but it's gripping and true to the spirit of the show.

[A-] [90]

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