The X Files (1998)

The X Files (1998), directed by Rob Bowman.

Aka The X-Files: Fight the Future.

I was never a compulsive viewer of The X-Files but I did try to catch up on the series while it was still being made. I think I saw all of the first half but gave up thereafter.

My problem was the common complaint: the alien invasion and conspiracy thread was fun but executed erratically and seemingly without any planning or direction. We would have momentous developments and then the characters would forget all about them as if they had never happened.

I found this fairly brief summary: The X-Files Wiki: Mythology. All of it was new to me so it seems I was no kind of real fan.

So how well does this first feature film, placed between seasons 5 and 6, work? It is a really nice effort, effectively using the wide screen and bigger budget. It is a real motion picture event, not just an extended series episode.

We see the difficult Mulder-Scully chemistry develop and get at least glimpses of fan favorites Skinner, the Lone Gunmen and the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Martin Landau and Terry O'Quinn are always worthwhile additions. Goodbye to Well-Manicured Man John Neville, last seen as the title character in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).

(I expected him to come back in later seasons. Just forget that car bomb business, right?)

I liked the Neanderthal setup: our clue that this is a long game. Mulder later jogs across the snow just as they do and breaks through the surface like the kids in Texas.

Big alien spacecraft reveal in the improbably heroic Antarctica action.

And they do explain more of the alien and conspiracy plot, although I did not follow the explanation very closely. The "extended version" on the Blu-ray seems a bit better in this regard although the differences in the cuts is minor.

Scratching my head:

Available on Blu-ray.

Two commentary tracks: one with director Rob Bowman and writer Chris Carter, and a later one with them and writer Frank Spotnitz and producer Daniel Sackheim. These are all production reminiscences, none of it really essential.

They think the mythology is sufficiently well explained.