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While a fan I have been a fan of THE X-FILES since the series went on the air, it struck me as odd that the show made the leap to the big screen, while it was still on the air. Generally, a television series is off the air for a period of time, before it will be revisited as a feature film. Even with its odd timing, the motion picture version of THE X-FILES ($35) proved itself to be a slick and entertaining supplement to the television series that works well as a stand-alone entity, although it is designed to appeal to both devotees and the uninitiated alike.

Because THE X-FILES movie arrived in the middle of the television series’ run, the film couldn't tell a story that could alter the show's reality in any perceivable way. Working within the show’s core mythology, FIGHT THE FUTURE, as THE X-FILES movie is subtitled on the advertising materials, furthers the ultimate quest for the truth. As the film opens, The X-Files have been shut down, thus forcing the reassignment of Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) and partner Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to an anti-terrorism unit within the bureau. During the investigation of a bomb threat against a federal office building in Dallas, Mulder decides to play a hunch and check the other federal building across the street. Although Mulder and Scully uncover nothing at first, a stop for a cold drink reveals that Mulder’s hunch was right… leaving him face to face with the bomb concealed inside a vending machine. Although Mulder's discovery saves a multitude of lives, the explosion’s aftermath leaves one FBI agent and five civilians dead.

Because of the destruction of the federal office building and the loss of life, the government needs a scapegoat… and Mulder fits the bill nicely. While drowning his sorrows at a Washington D.C. watering hole, Mulder encounters Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil (Martin Landau), a man who claims to have been a friend and colleague of the agent's father. Mulder learns from Kurtzweil that the explosion in Dallas was in actuality a smokescreen to divert attention away from the global conspiracy involving extraterrestrials- something that Mulder has been investigating for years as part of The X-Files. After corroborating part of Kurtzweil's story, Mulder convinces Scully to help him dig deeper into the Dallas bombing and determine what actually killed the five civilians that supposedly died in the blast. The investigation takes Mulder from the back alleys of Washington D.C. to an isolated cornfield in the Texas desert and finally to a remote scientific station in Antarctica, where the lives of every person on the planet hangs in the balance. The cast of THE X-FILES also features John Neville, William B. Davis, Mitch Pileggi, Jeffrey DeMunn, Blythe Danner, Terry O'Quinn, Lucas Black, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THE X-FILES available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Both the original Theatrical Version and the Extended Cut of the film are present on the disc. The 1080p presentations are really quite good, but reveal a stylistic penchant for the application of smoke and diffusion to the original cinematography. Someone expecting THE X-FILES to appear intensely crisp in high definition may come away from the Blu-ray feeling disappointed. The image is sharper, better defined and more dimensional than it appeared in standard definition, but doesn’t come across as demonstration material. There is a certain level of visual consistency here, with the movie looking like episodes of the television series, except for the proportions being widened out to a CinemaScope framing. Colors are rendered at a realistic level of saturation and the flesh tones appear true to life. Blacks are accurate, as are the whites. Contrast is relatively smooth and shadow detail is good. Visual imperfections are minimal. A grain structure is noticeable throughout, which adds a desirable grittiness to the presentation.

THE X-FILES is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. While the visual are merely quite good, the sonics are where this Blu-ray release really impresses. Going back to the original DVD releases, THE X-FILES has always sounded great, but now sounds even better thanks to the new lossless encode. The sound design is aggressive and makes excellent use of all the discrete channels. Channel separation is excellent across the front, plus cohesive integration with the rear channels, which quite active and highly effective- even when it comes to small sounds like chirping crickets. Sound effects pan effortlessly across the soundstage and draw one into the unfolding events on the screen. The bottom end of the track is highly potent and delivers a great deal of rumble. Fidelity is wonderful, with series composer Mark Snow’s interesting score garnering a boost lossless format. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is generally very understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Animation and sound have been added to give the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials. Starting things off are two running Audio Commentaries; the first is with creator Chris Carter, director Rob Bowman, co-producer/writer Frank Spotnitz and producer Daniel Sackheim, while the second is the original DVD commentary with Chris Carter and Rob Bowman. There is also a Bonus View picture-in-picture Video Commentary with Carter, Bowman, Spotnitz and Sackheim (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Other Bonus View options include Real-time Index (Red Button) [alerts], Behind The Camera (Blue Button) [making of clips] and Storyboards And Concept Art (Yellow Button). Newly produced HD Featurettes include the following self-explanatory programs Blackwood: The Making Of The X-Files: Fight The Future, Visual Effects and Scoring. The original Making Of The X-Files Movie featurette is also provided, as are a Gag Reel, Alternate Bee Sting Scene, Still Galleries and three Theatrical Trailers for FIGHT THE FUTURE and one for THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE.

As a long time fan of THE X-FILES I am glad to have the film available on Blu-ray. The presentation is solid visually and impressive sonically. Recommended to fans.



The X-Files - Fight the Future [Blu-ray] (1998)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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