Wednesday, June 24, 1998

The X-Files: Fight the Future

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 1998 at 12:00 AM

When "The X-Files" first appeared in 1993, it was aptly described as a "Twilight Zone" for the millennium. Series creator Chris Carter, cognizant of the legacies from the Cold War (the inherent distrust of governmental authority) and the New Age (the embracing of alternate realities and consciousness), expertly blended paranoia and the paranormal into heady, addictive television.

He fashioned the show around two polar-opposite FBI agents with a crackling chemistry: Fox "Spooky" Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Mulder, a devout follower of fringe phenomena (alien abductions, clairvoyance, etc.), is the keeper of the X-files, the Bureau's repository for bizarro cases. Medical doctor Scully is the scientific skeptic initially sent in to debunk Mulder, but who finds her viewpoint repeatedly challenged by the inexplicable and uncategorizable.

During five seasons, the show has maintained an ongoing story line: that extraterrestrials actually reside on Earth and an insidious global conspiracy exists to conceal them. Of all the things he's good at, Chris Carter's genius is in the careful maintenance of this conspiracy: While letting loose a few bits of information, he simultaneously adds to its labyrinthine complexity.

But it doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to see what's really behind making an X-Files movie: it's a perfectly blatant exercise in greed. How else to explain making this allegedly "crucial" episode accessible only to the movie ticket-buying public? This would perhaps make sense if The X-Files: Fight the Future were a terrific movie or offered something truly different from the television show. But it isn't, and it doesn't.

Screenwriter Carter and director Rob Bowman (who's done numerous episodes) squander The X-Files' big screen possibilities, instead creating one long, sluggish, uninspired conspiracy episode that's hopped up with cheap B-movie shock tactics. And every now and then, perhaps to quell boredom, something goes "boom!" This movie -- which offers nothing to the uninitiated -- exists merely to entice the legion of X-philes to part with their money for a peek into the void. Fight the future that might spawn more X-Files movies like this one and just skip it.

Serena Donadoni writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail her at letters@metrotimes.com.

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