Blog Directory CineVerse: X does not mark the spot

X does not mark the spot

Thursday, October 13, 2011

by Erik J. Martin

Remember “The X-Files” TV show and what an exciting breath of fresh air it was to small screen viewers when it first aired on Fox in 1993?

Well, that air quickly grew stale by 1998, when series creator Chris Carter and company finally brought their cult hit TV series to the big screen with “The X-Files: Fight the Future” movie. Sigh. I remember how pumped up I was to buy a ticket to this flick in the late nineties.

Talk about disappointing. The “X-Files” first movie is a patchwork of bigger budget pyrotechnics and FX (which actually work quite well) and a convoluted screenplay that, while laced with enough action, doesn't deliver the goods in quite the way that X-Files fans would expect. Here’s a quick capsule review to save you the rental fee:

This time around, Mulder and Scully--upset that the X-Files are now closed--are closer than ever before to the truth behind the government conspiracy they've been investigating for five seasons, and the danger has never been greater: it seems that aliens, who first landed on earth back in neanderthal days, are planning to take over the planet with the help of the covert Syndicate (the one that the shadowy Cigarette Smoking Man belongs to, remember?). In exchange for their own freedom, The Syndicate and its forces are raising millions of bees that, when released, will sting people all over the world and infect them with alien goo that grows and turns bodies into human hosts for aliens that hatch out of people's stomachs (sound familiar, H.R. Geiger Alien fans?) Only our two favorite FBI agents, of course, can stop this madness. The problem is that Scully is stung and abducted by the Syndicate. Thanks to a tip from Deep Throat du jour Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil (Martin Landau), Mulder finds Scully in the Arctic aboard a colossal buried alien mothership, and rescues her. They get back to civilization and convince the FBI to reopen the X-Files. And now, the Syndicate is really shakin' in its shoes...

Problems? Plenty. How about showing us some skin, as in more extraterrestrials! Instead, we get quick glimpses of pissed-off, sharp-clawed grey skins who like to shed a lot of blood. What the heck did they cast stellar actor Armin Mueller Stahl (as the Syndicate leader) for if he appears in about 90 seconds worth of the movie? The same question goes for the loveably goofy Lone Gunmen--why show them at all if it's only for a minute or two? Why not more character development here? How are we supposed to believe the hokey bee conspiracy, anyway? The aliens seem to be tough enough to handle us wimpy humans themselves. How did Scully escape from the autopsy cooler when the military police were scouring every inch for her? And for that matter, how did a naked Scully, covered by Mulder's coat when he rescues her, suddenly grow pants in the climactic conclusion?

In short, this picture’s swiss cheese plot, though tangy in its complexity, leaves us with far too many enigmatic questions. And its cliffhanging ending leaves viewers with a lack of closure and resolution. Weak.

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