Wednesday, March 21, 2007

THE X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE - Blu-ray (20th Century-Fox 1998) Fox Home Video

After five years as one of the most popular television series in the mid-1990s; The X-Files made its successful transition to the big screen with Rob Bowman’s The X-Files: Fight The Future (1998). The series had by this juncture become a runaway multi-Emmy award-winning saga – all about FBI special agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny); a man compelled to expose the truth about extra-terrestrial life on this planet, and, the rogue elements working within a vast government conspiracy to deny him access to his abducted sister, Samantha.

Reuniting with Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) Mulder is, on this big screen excursion, treading an extension of season four’s climactic finale. Mulder and Scully respond to a bomb threat at a government building which Mulder believes may house secret documents on alien abductees.

Special Agent Darius Michaud (Terry O’Quinn) advises his agents to pull out and evacuate the building after the bomb has been located and deliberately activated. Although Mulder complies with this direct order, he regrets his decision when a massive explosion decimates the area, reducing the complex to a gigantic cinder block of rubble.

From this uncharacteristically big scale set piece, the narrative digresses into territory familiar to X-File aficionados; Scully is stung by a bee carrying a virus that threatens her life; Mulder becomes further embroiled in the government conspiracy to deny all plausibility of the facts; the black ooze (an on-going mystery to those who regularly watch the series) infects a group of children playing in a sand lot in Arizona and this directly leads agents Mulder and Scully to the discovery of an alien spacecraft buried beneath the polar ice caps.

The TV and film’s writer/producer Chris Carter and director Bowman perform a minor miracle with this exhilarating sci-fi thriller - tying up most loose plot points from the television series without alienating film attendees who might otherwise have never watched a single episode. The X-Files Fight the Future functions as both an addendum to Season Four and its own stand alone narrative. We get chills and mystery and wild-eyed disturbing speculations that nevertheless make sense at some basic paranoiac level of ‘wanting to believe’ in creatures from outer space. 

The chemistry Duchovny and Anderson had on the small screen effortlessly translates to the expansive widescreen. And the script doesn't try to do too much. Like so many of the TV episodes in the series, this film is a spook story, told efficiently and with great restraint. It plays like a lengthier version of a series episode, yet has an intelligence and style all its own. 

Fox Home Video’s Blu-ray predictably improves in all the ways we'd expect a 1080p transfer. Colors are fully saturated and bold. Contrast levels are ideally realized. Blacks are deep and solid. Whites are pristine. Fine details are fully realized, even during the darkest scenes. The audio is 5.1 DTS and delivers an aggressive spread across all channels. Extras include a brief, though informative featurette on the making of the film, an audio commentary from Chris Carter, deleted scenes and the film’s original theatrical trailer. Recommended!

FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)



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