|Category||Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.78:1 non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono|
|Year Released||1998||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 - Chris Carter (Writer) & Rob Bowman(Director)|
|Running Time||117:40 minutes||Other Extras||Featurette - Making Of
Menu Audio and Animation
Fox Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English For The Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Having said that much, I'll now go over the plot in this instalment of the delusional wet dreams of a Nazi's biblically-inspired world view. Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are FBI agents who have stumbled across many a secret that their government would prefer to stay buried. As many a critic with their head screwed on properly has pointed out, the immense proportions of the conspiracy in order to keep these secrets from the eyes of the general public is made a complete joke by the fact that the people responsible are unable to crush two puny FBI agents and the mere handful of people who form their support network. Plot holes are one thing, and even some of the best pieces of work that director Rob Bowman and writer Chris Carter wish they they could make something to be the vague equivalent of have plot holes of the size which you could drive a truckload of amputees through.
The X-Files: Fight The Future (the full title is so rarely used) makes use of Heavily-Regurgitated Plot Number OneTM, or, if you prefer the more technical summary, the one in which some unsuspecting innocent bystanders come across some kind of alien specimen with nasty consequences. Fox learns about the incident and decides that he wants to investigate in the hope of finding evidence that there really is extra-terrestrial life out there, while Dana tags along in the hope that she can make her partner appear less insane when the time comes around to explain his actions. The film begins with a short introduction set in the year 35,000 BC, with a pair of neanderthals in the Northern half of America growling and stumbling their way into a cave, where they find that Ever-So-Wonderful Black FluidTM. From there, we cut to the present day, where a mob of children happen upon the site where these primitive forebears that happened across the Black Fluid are buried. Unlike the Ice Age, a lot more effort must be made to keep this Black Fluid a secret in today's world of global media coverage, so now we get Blackhawk Helicopters With Nasty-Looking Agents In ThemTM. Meanwhile, Dana and Fox, having been assigned away from their pet project known as The X-Files (or "The FBI's Too-Hard BasketTM" in another parlance), are searching the Dallas branch of the FBI for a bomb. The bomb is found, but not in time to stop the building from being practically destroyed by said bomb, and the usual doubts about how the bomb got there and why it was planted surface. Naturally, the fingers of suspicion point somewhere in Mulder's direction, and the bureau's first response is to split Mulder and Scully up and reassign them. Of course, this is in spite of the best non-efforts of their supervisor, Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), who still takes the mantle of the most inactive official in the history of film. After dealing with the usual interrogations and aggravations, Mulder is contacted by a doctor by the name of Alvin Kurtzweil (Martin Landau) who asks the immortal question of why the bodies of four firemen and a small boy were the only ones found in the building. The usual staple characters also make an appearance at this point, ranging from The Cigarette-Smoking ManTM (William B. Davis) to the ever-so-boring ConsortiumTM (Who Cares?).
If you're one of those X-Files NazisTM I am sure to be bombarded with mails from after this review, I am aware that nothing I can say can make you see this rather dreadful show through my eyes. However, those of you who have an iota of sense or a desire to see a world where type one diabetes is treated in the same regard as the common cold are advised to steer well clear of this film for the same reasons as you're advised to boycott the television series. John Carpenter does this kind of plot so much better, and so did the creative geniuses who wrote a certain mini-series that was simply called V, which this film unashamedly rips off toward the end.
The colour saturation is biased towards the red tones in the film, giving skin a certain blush at times that I never find particularly palatable, and the beginning of the film in particular suffers this way. The darker scenes, which account for the majority of the film, were much more naturally balanced in terms of colour, but the general colour palette used in any instalment of this series seems to wildly vary from slight oversaturation to slight undersaturation. All of the problems with the balance of colours aside, there is no colour-bleeding or chroma noise at any point. MPEG artefacts were completely absent from the presentation, in spite of how much video information there is compressed to the two layers of this DVD and the lossy nature of MPEG compression. Before I saw this film, I was wondering why the DVD Consortium didn't take extra time to find a less problematic method of compressing video data. After I was finished, however, I can say with complete confidence that MPEG compression can look perfectly fine and wonderful when it is done right. Film-to-video artefacts were completely absent from the transfer, with not a hint of aliasing to be seen anywhere in the film. Film artefacts weren't exactly non-existent, but they were so small and occasional that they may as well have been.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change coming in early on, at 41:56, during the seventh chapter. This placement is not exactly ideal, as it is very noticeable, with a noticeable and jarring pause in both the video and audio. However, the interruption to the flow of the film is relatively minor, and easily forgivable.
The score music in this film, like the score music in the television series, was composed by one Mark Snow. The score is rather dramatic at certain times, and purposefully non-melodic during others. The score is heavily orchestral in nature, but also very dry and atonal most of the time. The documentary included with this disc reveals Snow's delight at being able to work with a fully-fledged orchestra instead of just a bank of synthesizers on this outing, but the difference is really hard to notice if you ask me. The detached, icy nature of the soundtrack makes for a rather pleasant listening experience, and it would be nice to hear the score on an album of its own.
One thing you can always expect from a Fox transfer is a larger-than-life surround mix, and this one is no exception. The surrounds are used very aggressively to provide precise and and enveloping placement of every sound, from the music to the special effects. Unlike a lot of surround mixes, however, the sounds don't seem to originate in the speakers themselves, but rather in the general direction and area of those speakers. It is hard to imagine a more naturally and smoothly mixed surround field, and it is a real credit to whomever was in charge of mixing this disc together. The subwoofer was called upon to support such things as explosions, earthquakes, and even the lower registers of the music, all without making the channel conspicuous in any way.
The video quality is reference material.
The audio quality is reference material.
The extras are somewhat slack for a so-called Special
Edition, especially given how awfully boring the commentary is.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|