The X Files: Fight the Future (1998)
AKA: The X-Files
AKA: The X Files
AKA: Fight the Future
AKA: Blackwood
AKA: X-Files: Blackwood
AKA: X-Files: The Movie
AKA: Aux frontières du réel (French Title)

(Release Date: June 19, 1998)

Fight the Future... enjoy 1998 movies instead!Fight the Future... enjoy 1998 movies instead!Fight the Future... enjoy 1998 movies instead!Fight the Future... enjoy 1998 movies instead!

Conspiracy, Suspense, Adventure... to the Xth Degree!

Toon in to the XFiles!
J.C. Maçek III
The World's Greatest Critic!

Back in 1998 at the height of the popularity of Fox Television's The X-Files, creator Chris Carter successfully translated his Conspiracy Sci-Fi show to the big screen, completely intact. Taking place between the Fifth and Sixth seasons, The X-Files: Fight the Future details, ironically, the short period of time during which "The X-Files" were closed and Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) were reassigned to more "inside the box" assignments. The film incorporates some of the best of the series' mythology (some of which hadn't reared its head for some time), gives us the best of the Alien Invasion conspiracy, and is a treat for fans, but is perfectly accessible to new viewers as well. I would say that this was the most important part of my summer that year, but, you see, I got married only six days before this film debuted and I had other and hotter things on my mind at the time.
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Be that as it most certainly was, The X-Files movie more than satisfied! Director Rob Bowman interpreted Chris Carter's screenplay (from a story by Carter and Frank Spotnitz) into one hell of an adventure with killer special effects, genuine suspense and a valid furthering of the X-Files mythology. In addition to Anderson and Duchovny the film also features one of the best supporting casts out there. Series regulars Mitch Pileggi (as A.D. Walter Skinner), John Neville (as "The Well-Manicured Man"), William B. Davis (as "The Cigarette-Smoking Man"), Dean Haglund (as "Lone Gunman" Richard 'Ringo' Langly), Bruce Harwood (as "Lone Gunman" John Fitzgerald Byers) and Tom Braidwood (as "Lone Gunman" Melvin Frohike). But wait, there's more... Fight the Future's supporting cast also features such X-Notables as Glenne Headly, Gary Grubbs, Lucas Black, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Terry O'Quinn, Blythe Danner, Jeffrey DeMunn and the Chairman of the Board, Martin Landau as Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil, MD! Amazingly, this many cameos and recognizable supporting faces never feels like a gimmick, and they all mesh perfectly into the story.

That story begins in the year 35,000 BC (before even Rupert Murdoch was born) during either the ice age or a commercial for York's Peppermint Patties. The horrifying truth of the "Black Oil" is revealed and we see for the first time how far back the "Invasion" really goes. Flash forward to somewhere in the bedroom of 1998... four annoying tweens discover the cave which houses the Black Oil along with some pretty gosh darned interesting fossils that look like that "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" guy.

It isn't long before "The Syndicate", a group of old white dudes who may or may not be conspiring with Alien Invaders, are on the scene, along with their lackeys, investigating and making asses of themselves. At the same time, a certain Violent Crimes FBI Profiler named "Spooky Mulder" and his attractive partner, Dr. Scully fail to prevent a major terrorist bombing in Dallas, Texas and are subsequently split up by the FBI and sent into development hell (like the sequel to this flick).

Naturally they do exactly as they're told, act like good little agents, go home, play Nintendo and the credits roll. In other news, Hell Freezes Over and Rob Thomas just flew out of my Butt! No, baby, this here X-File is only just beginning! Mulder and Scully trust no one as they travel back and forth to Dallas, perform autopsies on jellied corpses, get chased by viral bees (and virile helicopters) face FBI Officers and Madmen (not mutually exclusive, mind you), journey to the literal edge of the Earth and damned near get their first trip into outer space... but not in any comfy way.

Fight the Future does an incredible job of translating an ambitious show into a Major Motion Picture. Unlike many similar leaps, this never feels tried or condensed into its 122 minutes. The expansive scope compliments the story well, and the Set Design, Special Effects and Make-Up are all fantastic. Yes, yes, yes, yes, Virginia, there are Aliens in The X-Files, but they're not exactly what you might be expecting. It's safe to say that this is a treat for fans and a cool journey for new initiates, especially with the valid set-up of these two characters and some alternately funny and intense moments to both indicate their relationship and (hopefully) endear them to a new audience without insulting the loyalists in the seats.

The shortcomings here are few, but should most certainly be pointed out. Hey... I'm a Jerk! To an extent, this film is more undeniably "Science Fiction" than even the show was and might not be readily welcomed by those who aren't fans of this genre (ya closed minded freaks ya). Just a bit of Fight the Future moves too fast for analysis, requiring either a logic-leap or an acceptance of an "I Told You So" answer. Also, some super-fans might question how well this movie fits in with the overall series (though shown between seasons five and six, it was filmed just after season four). Major characters and situations from the fifth and sixth seasons are not only not shown but are not even mentioned. Meanwhile a few elements not seen for some time on the Television Show resurface to great welcome here... but where have they been? To be fair, the events of the movie take place over only a few days, so not everything is going to just come up in conversation (especially considering the fact that these three days suck like Alien Leeches).

Finally, and I want to be careful and cool, like Fonzie in a Radiation Suit, some of the added and expanded mythos, feels somewhat familiar (an alien bursting out of the chest of the body it's been incubating in, for example). However, the way this is written and filmed makes the entire thing feel fresh and exciting.

And that's the case with The X Files: Fight the Future in total... it's not just "good enough", or "not bad"... this is a great movie with both intelligence and thrills, Sci-Fi fun and suspenseful adventure in the vein of North by Northwest. Bowman has turned in a killer feature with some of the best of the series (and far beyond) from Carter and Spotnitz that, and I mean this, gets better with repeated viewings. It's great to see how well everything falls into place once you know what's coming.

The X Files: Fight the Future is one of the best TV Translations to hit the big screen, to say the least. Watching it again today revved me up to watch the show all over again. Is that promised sequel too much to ask? Will it too get Four Stars out of Five? If not... I know damned well there's a conspiracy going on! And if that's the case... is the invasion finally upon us? And is it going to be the Mulder-Promised "Shit Storm of ALL TIME"? Nah... I live in Orange County, California... Alien Invaders from the Zeta Reticulan Binary System don't scare me, man! I live near Republican Retirees! Bite the Suture!

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The X Files: Fight the Future (1998) Reviewed by J.C. Maçek III
who is solely responsible for his reviews and for the fact that
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