The X-Files: [Fight the Future]: (1998): written by Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter; directed by Rob Bowman; starring David Duchovny (Agent Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Agent Scully), John Neville (The Well-Manicured Man), William B. Davis (Cigarette-Smoking Man), Martin Landau (Kurtzwell), and Mitch Pileggi (Assistant FBI Director Skinner):
Released to theatres between Seasons 5 and 6 of The X-Files TV show, The X-Files: [Fight the Future] is actually less satisfying than the shows that led directly into and out of it. So it goes. It does codify certain things about the show’s alien conspiracy, in part because John Neville’s character delivers two minutes of exposition that explains about five years of show. In riffing on dire conspiracy theories about the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the movie accidentally seems to forecast some of the more dire theories about 9/11. So it goes in the Ourobouros of paranoia.
The movie does take advantage of having a much larger budget by delivering a couple of cinematic set-pieces and a lot of black helicopters. It also takes advantage of being a movie to give the viewer several widescreen panaromas dominated by the sky, something that didn’t happen a lot on the show. It’s still a bit incoherent and riddled with coincidence as a plot device. The final Antarctic set-piece gives us the series’ most exaggerated and unbelievable example of Scully looking the wrong way when something extraordinary happens. Recommended for X-Files fans.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe: (2008): written by Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter; directed by Chris Carter; starring David Duchovny (Agent Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Agent Scully), Billy Connolly (Father Joe), Amanda Peet (Agent Whitney), Xzibit (Agent Drummy), Callum Keith Rennie (Abductor), and Mitch Pileggi (Assistant FBI Director Skinner):
Low-budget, enervated attempt to bring back The X-Files as a movie series six years after its TV cancellation was a critical and box-office disaster back in 2008. The main plot would barely have warranted a shrug on the series. The $20 million or so spent on the movie somehow looks cheaper than most of the show’s much lower-budget British-Columbia-lensed episodes of its first four seasons, possibly because series creator Chris Carter isn’t a very good movie director.
More unfortunately, Carter simply ignores the final episodes of his own show in this movie. That may not be a bad thing entirely, but the result reminds me of the exasperated cry of Sam Rockwell’s character to the main cast members of the TV show in Galaxy Quest — “Did you guys ever WATCH the show?”
Billy Connolly does good work as a pedophile Roman Catholic priest searching for redemption. David Duchovny’s fake beard looks really fake for the 30 minutes of film he’s stuck sporting it prior to “shaving” it off. A sub-plot involving Gillian Anderson’s Scully and her medical career would be great on a TV show. In a movie, it feels like 20 minutes of filler. Not really recommended except for X-Files completists.