After years of answering questions running along the lines of “When are you guys going to make a movie?” X-Files creator Chris Carter and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson decided, in lieu of taking the time off between TV seasons 4 and 5, to go ahead and start production on a feature-length movie and a place in the summer blockbuster arena.
As a more than casual fan of the show, but not delving into the hardcore fan area, I’ve got to say I was somewhat disappointed with this prod…ction. Those familiar with the show will stop me if you’ve heard this before, but let me try to recap things a la Mad Libs style. Agent Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson) discover “fill this in with either a supernatural phenomenon or some weird animal tendency,” and feel that it is being used by the government in order to “fill in with an evil action imposed on a lot of people.” Along the way, they will come face to face with “make up a name, the first name is the name of your pet, the last name being your favorite German beer,” an old associate of Mulder’s father. They also run into associates of a huge conspiracy, many of whom we’ve seen before.
But as a fan of the show, is there anything really substantial that’s advanced storylines at all? Aside from the larger budget and twice as much time to use, at the end of the day, if you watch the Season 5 cliffhanger, and watch X-Files Fight the Future, then watch the Season 6 opener, everything’s too linear, and neat and tidy. Much more has happened in individual episodes that run 40+ minutes, and nothing of note advanced the film much. Save for the occasional profanity and a big budget for CG effects, when I saw this in the theater, I was left feeling fairly empty from the whole thing.
The DTS soundtrack included on the disc is extremely powerful too, the explosion in Dallas really shows it off. It was a much stronger soundtrack than I remember, but I was glad to hear it in its glory. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is nothing to sneeze at either for those without DTS compatibility.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation for this feature is much better than I expected. The film employed a bit more camera artistry than your standard television episode, and those stylish shots are reproduced here.
On such an anticipated release, the extras on this Fox release are fairly lackluster. Perhaps at the time of its release, considering the involved parties were headlong into a new season of television production, it can be forgiven, but maybe instead of bleeding remaining hardcore fans $100 for each season on DVD, everyone can reunite for an extensive two-disc special edition down the road. Carter and director Rob Bowman provide a commentary for the feature. It sounds like it’s recorded separately, and considering how closely the pair worked on the film, I don’t understand why they couldn’t be chained into a room and bring some humor and familiarity to things. Carter takes most of the time on this track to discuss some of the production headaches and how the film cam about, and Bowman provides the usual Director’s aspect of explaining scenes and stunts, and both men discuss their pleasure in getting the cast that they did, particularly Martin Landau (Ed Wood). All in all though, the track was disappointing because of the potential that could have been put into it, and it’s not really worth the time to listen to.
Aside from the commentary, there is very little else here for the X-fan. The Truth Behind the Making of The X-Files Movie is a 27 minute featurette, done EPK style, and narrated by Mitch Pileggi, who plays Assistant Director Skinner in the series. Featuring interviews with the principal cast and crew, this looks at the difficulties of bringing the show to celluloid. It’s also full of clips from the show as well, mostly as filler, as this piece is also pretty bland as well. Some behind the scenes film on stunts and CG effects are here, but nothing to cheer about. There are 3 trailers, as well as the THX Optimode, that complete a fairly sparse release.
At an insanely cheap price, you get a film with a good transfer and excellent soundmix, but not a lot past that. Moderate fans of the show will likely be disappointed with this release, but hardcore completists for everything X will enjoy revisiting this one from time to time.
Special Features List
- Commentary with Rob Bowman
- Making of Featurette