Sunday, 14 February 2010

No.7 : The X-Files

Before we start, a quick word for all our pedant followers. Yes it’s a definite article and yes it’s two words. People may say oh that really called ‘The X-Files Movie’ or ‘X-Files : Fight the Future’, bit they’re wrong, don’t listen to them. The dash doesn’t makes it less of a word either - you get an X-Box and G-force they’re still definitive items!

Anyway let’s have a look at the big screen spin off for the popular TV show. Such films are usually a bit crappy and a cash in , obviously ’Holiday On The Buses’ excepted, but this is a pretty fair offering and was certainly a lot better than I remembered it.

The film opens with some icy cave men running through the snow in what is now Texas. They find a cave but as you’d probably guess an alien is living there and they all get in a big fight. The cave men show some mettle and one survives after killing the alien in a stabbing frenzy. We fast forward to present day Texas when the cave is found by a group of kids when one falls in. The alien has been lying dormant and its tarry bloody infects a boy and his firemen rescuers.

We then meet up with Mulder and Scully on a routine FBI job. The X-Files has been disbanded and we the viewer are soon wondering if we’ve been sold a fast one. The agents are looking for a bomb in a government building and getting no where fast. Mulder playing his usually reliable hunches has a look in a building nearby and after failing to get a soda succeeds in finding the bomb. Luckily the bomb has a helpful countdown timer and the bomb disposal dude is on the scene with five minutes to spare. Unfortunately his union mandated five minute break has just started and he has to sit and watch as the clock counts down and the building explodes.

The Feds want a scapegoat for the blast and for the deaths of a boy and three fireman - remember them from the last paragraph? After thorough grilling Mulder hits a bar but is interrupted by Martin Landau of ‘ Space 1999’ who has parked his Eagle to tell him the blast was a deliberate ploy to conceal evidence. With this nugget of info Mulder is on the case and after rousing Scully for a quick autopsy they soon start to unravel the conspiracy which eventually leads to a showdown in Antarctica and some solid revelations for once.

I really enjoyed my first look at ‘The X-Files’ since 1998 and was surprised how much was explained. I used to enjoy the TV show but went off it as it seemed to spin out the storylines to an intolerable degree. Here you get the whole set up and resolution inside two hours saving you at least 70 over the TV box set.

The film does exist in the same continuity as the TV show and fits in between seasons. The ‘Colonisation’ storyline is brought to the fore and we learn a lot of things that had previously only been alluded to. We get a lot of scenes with the bad guys conspiring in a ‘Pentabulate’ style meeting room as well as The Cigarette Smoking Man clocking up the air miles as he tries to stay ahead of the tenacious ‘tecs.

My main gripe would be that a lot is crammed in, maybe too much. Great characters like Skinner and The Lone Gunmen merit only brief cameos and some of the exposition is practically read out for you lest you fail to keep up. The denouement in Antarctica is well played although there are a few MCGuffins thrown in to let Mulder find Scully in a spaceship as big as the ones in ‘V’ with just as many ready meal humans to choose from.

If you think of this as a ‘Greatest Hits’ from the TV show you won’t be disappointed and you even get a couple of ‘shits’ for your trouble too - ooh dangerous. The production values and effects are pretty good and I was glad that a few cats were let out of their long term bags - the fate of Mulder’s sister for one.

As a standalone film I think this succeeds and it also goes a long way to keep the fans happy too.

THE Definitive Tag Line - X Hits the Spot 76%

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