Review: “The X Files Movie” (film)

“The X Files Movie” (or “The X Files: Fight The Future”) is a film starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny which is based on Chris Cater’s excellent TV series. I should probably point out that the events of the film take place between the fifth and sixth series of the show, so it isn’t really for people who haven’t watched “The X Files” before.

Likewise, if you are watching the series, then it’s a very good idea to watch this film between these two series (otherwise you might have a few unanswered questions when you start watching series six).

“The X Files Movie” focuses on the long-running subplot in the TV show about an alien conspiracy. It begins with a flashback to an alien encounter in prehistoric times – of course, in the present day (ok, the late 1990s) some kids in Texas stumble across an underground cave containing archeological evidence of this encounter.

It isn’t long before one of them is infected with the black oil (again, this won’t make any sense unless you’ve watched the series) along with several of the people who initially try to rescue him. Whilst all of this going on, Agents Mulder and Scully are facing a hearing about a bomb disposal operation which they worked on in Dallas.

But, of course, Mulder soon hears about the discovery of alien life as well as finding a lead which suggests that the bomb disposal operation wasn’t quite what it seemed. Naturally, of course, despite the hearings – he decides to investigate it and Scully inevitably ends up joining him….

All in all, this is a reasonably fun film which fans of “The X Files” will absolutely love. It’s basically a two-hour episode of “The X Files” with more special effects, plot twists, action and detailed/expansive set design. I cannot praise the set design enough, especially one of the locations near the end of the film which I’d love to describe in detail – but probably shouldn’t, since it’d give away a lot of spoilers.

As for characterisation, “The X Files Movie” doesn’t really add too much and, if you’ve watched the first five series of the show, then you probably have a fairly good idea of who Mulder and Scully are. But, since they’re two of the best characters who have ever been on television – then this isn’t a bad thing. The acting is as good as, or better, than the acting during the series too.

The pacing of the film is very good and the story keeps going at a reasonable speed without any distractions too. Although it’s longer than two episodes of the show, it doesn’t really feel particularly drawn-out in any way.

One amusing little thing with the film is that, due to slightly different censorship rules, the characters can speak slightly more realistically too. American television censorship never ceases to surprise me – all of the horror and violence in the TV show was perfectly ok for early-mid evening television, but they had to wait until they made a feature film before the characters could use some (relatively tame) expletives. Seriously, American TV never ceases to puzzle me.

The UK “special edition” DVD has all of the fairly standard special features you would expect from a DVD – namely a trailer for the film, a commentary (who actually listens to these anyway?) and a “making of” feature too. It also has scene selection, subtitles etc.. too (I don’t know why these are still counted as “special features” these days).

But, since the film was made when DVDs were still in their infancy (so there probably wasn’t much purpose-made material for special features) and it can be found fairly cheaply, both new and second-hand, this really isn’t much of an issue at all.

All in all, if you like the TV show, then you’ll enjoy this film. But it’s definitely a film made for fans of the show and not for people who haven’t watched it or aren’t familiar with it.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, then it would probably get a four.

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