The X-Files Movie

Special Edition

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.78:1 non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
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
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (41:56)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Rob Bowman

Fox Home Video
Starring David Duchovny 
Gillian Anderson 
Martin Landau 
Blythe Danner 
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music Mark Snow

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
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles Czech 
English For The Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Those of you who have read my previous reviews will be aware that I have a severe hatred for filmmakers who distort basic reality in a way that is offensive to not only myself, but to millions who must suffer as I do. People like Pat Robertson and Chris Carter rank very very high upon the list of people whom I would happily toast marshmallows over if they were burning to death. The next time you view any episode of The X-Files, consider that genetic engineering has the power to do with some of the most dreaded and costly illnesses of today's world, diabetes, hepatitis, influenza, and AIDS being the most prominent examples, what vaccination did with whooping cough and measles. Genetic engineering has the power to do away with such things as paralysis, deformity, and birth defects. It is one of the single most maliciously misrepresented branches of science, period. It has the power to alter the world in a manner that has not been contemplated at any point in our world's history, and has the power to make Christopher Reeve walk again, amongst other things that the so-called good guys of The X-Files could not possibly deliver in their wildest dreams. The spontaneous end to all birth defects is even within our grasp thanks to a form of science that people like Chris Carter portray as the greatest evil ever conceived, and my only response to this is a deep desire to relieve him of many things he would scream and cry to have back until the end of his days.

    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.

Transfer Quality


    Well, the plot may be a load of dreck, but the transfer of the film is quite a sight for sore eyes, and lends further credence to my theory that the worst films will always receive the best transfer. The packaging claims that this is a 2.40:1 letterbox transfer, but also mentions that the transfer is 16x9 enhanced. The transfer is actually presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement, so don't let the confusing labelling on the packaging confuse you. The transfer is very sharp and detailed, and has a very life-like and film-like quality that belies the recycled television-episode feel of the story. Some of the outdoor shots are simply breathtaking, especially those in the desert and snow environments. One of the inherent problems with this transfer, however, is that much of the film is shot so dark that shadow detail often becomes a real problem, and the difficulty in seeing through such things as fog and smoke does not help. Given that this is a uniform stylistic choice of the show and its premise, however, I think we can let this slide. Low-level noise is completely absent from this transfer, which is one area where this transfer stands out from the noise-addled episodes of the television series.

    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.


    We are only provided with a single audio track on this disc: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1, with no dubbed or downconverted tracks being available. It was a little disappointing to not be provided with a dub in German, given the general tone of the dialogue and the nature of some of the characters. There is also a commentary track by Rob Bowman and Chris Carter, but this doesn't really count as a soundtrack (at least where I am concerned), and I have little interest in hearing what they have to say, anyhow. In spite of these things, the soundtrack we are provided with is a reference quality soundtrack that will delight DVD owners and give you a great excuse to show off your system. The dialogue is perfectly clear and easy to understand from start to finish, although the tendency of some characters to mumble or speak in a less-than-ideal fashion does present some limitations to ease of listening at times. David Duchovny's constant problem with equating a show of emotion with shouting in a rather whiny and less than cohesive fashion was well-noted during this film. Audio sync was never a problem at any point, reflecting the higher budget of this particular production. Some lines appeared to have been ADRed due to problems with accents or intelligibility, but no obvious example of this could be found.

    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 menu is a typical Fox effort, containing some animation and audio, with the usual X-Files theme rendered in the main menu. Sadly, the audio in the main menu is problematic to say the least, with the volume wavering up and down like that of a bad audio cassette. The menu appears to be 16x9 enhanced, although it is a little hard to tell. The scene selection menu is fairly easy to navigate, and the only downside is that it is not animated like the main menu.

Audio Commentary - Chris Carter (writer) & Rob Bowman (director)

    The audio commentary cycles between Chris and Rob in a circular fashion, and the two do not seem to be recording the commentary together. It is often hard to tell whom is actually speaking, as their voices are both deadpan and flat, making the overall commentary quite a dull experience at the best of times. A better idea would have been to record them together, perhaps with another voice such as David Duchovny, who is always a delight to listen to when he tries to sound different from his usual self.

Featurette - The Truth Behind The Making Of The X-Files Movie (26:54)

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, without 16x9 enhancement, and in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. This is just a recycled television special that doesn't have anything interesting to contribute, such as an explanation of why every story is the same, and why the show is taking on such a Days Of Our Lives sort of feel.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, without 16x9 enhancement, and still in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     I definitely only source films from Region 1 in order to get better presentation or films that the DVD Consortium want to deny me, and I don't think that a 4:3 letterboxed version of this film is worthy under either of those definitions.


    The X-Files: Fight The Future can be summed up with many a phrase, much like the television series: irresponsible attitudes to the shape of the future, shameless artistic theft, and endless plot regurgitation. It is presented on an excellent DVD.

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
May 3, 2000
Review Equipment
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)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer