Radhika: If you’re going to have an X-Files movie, you better put the spotlight on Mulder and Scully. It’s something that was realized even after the series ended and a second movie was filmed, long after David Duchovny had moved on from playing a series regular. (I am sorry for referring to dark times, but it is true.) And so, Fight the Future rightly places a heavier emphasis on Mulder and Scully, giving both new and old audiences a chance to enjoy their charms. But that doesn’t mean the supporting players don’t have their time to shine.
From an uncredited Glenne Headley (think Mr. Holland’s Opus, amongst other TV and film roles) to appearances by Blythe Danner and Terry O’Quinn, and larger roles filled by Martin Landau, Fight the Future contained a little more star power than the average X-Files episode, which often featured actors before they got really big a few roles later. (It might be exciting now to realize that both Giovanni Ribisi and Jack Black were in an episode together, but back then, no one really knew or cared about who they were.) Later seasons would go on to consciously feature some of Hollywood’s bigger players, but the shift is most obvious in this film. Thankfully, the roles these actors play here aren’t terribly distracting (and as great an actor Martin Landau was — that’s what he was, an actor, so he was capable of turning into the character he was playing instead of just being a “star”). Continue reading →
“We have always said that we were making a little movie each week, and that was really the spirit in which the show was done on an episodic basis. And so I think the natural sort-of extension of that idea popped up, ‘Well why don’t we do a movie?’ It was tossed around but we realized after five years it would be a great time to do a big event, something that would celebrate and would reward the hardcore viewers who were watching the show since the beginning. The trick though was to a movie not just for X-Files fans but appeal to the casual viewer or non-watcher.” – Chris Carter
Welcome to our third entry in our five part look at The X-Files: Fight The Future. We spend this part analyzing the cinematic qualities of the film.
Max: The above quote is quite apt. For years, The X-Files‘ cast and crew commented on the shows cinematic qualities, which they believed differentiated the program from other fare on television at the time. Programs like Twin Peaks and Miami Vice were long off the air, and we were still in the era before the ascendance of HBO and the “prestige drama” made a cinematic experience de rigueur on the small screen. This past season, we noted that The X-Files shifted to a widescreen format, which allowed the show to take on even more qualities of its big screen brethren. In Fight the Future, veteran show director Rob Bowman lensed the film on an even wider canvas, opting for a 2.35:1 aspect ratio that put the spectacle of the alien virus on par with Lawrence of Arabia and the films of Stanley Kubrick. Continue reading →
“Why did they assign me to you in the first place, Mulder? To debunk your work, to rein you in, to shut you down.” — Dana Scully
“But you saved me! As difficult and as frustrating as it’s been sometimes, your goddamned strict rationalism and science have saved me a thousand times over! You’ve kept me honest… you’ve made me a whole person. I owe you everything, Scully, and you owe me nothing.” — Fox Mulder
Welcome to the second of our five-part look at The X-Files: Fight the Future. Today, we examine the Mulder and Scully dynamic. It’s like the late nineties never died!
Radhika: Ah, Fight the Future. The movie where Philes rabidly wondered if we’d finally see Mulder and Scully kiss… or maybe even… “do it.” It sounds simplistic to put it into those terms, but let’s face it — even those of us who weren’t clamoring to see an on-screen relationship burgeon between the two — were well aware of the chemistry these characters shared from day one. But that chemistry was about more than just the unresolved sexual tension (or UST, for those of you remembering your fanfic keyword speak). It involved a bond, a special friendship, a stubborn devotion that we can all only wish to share with someone — friend or more — in our lifetimes.
While The X-Files’ main focus was on standalone monster stories and the inner workings of a vast global conspiracy involving extraterrestrial life, there’s no denying that Mulder and Scully were what kept fans coming back for more. Chris Carter and company hit gold by creating these characters and then casting an actor and actress who went on to breathe life into them in a most spectacular manner. Fans grew obsessive about the two, memorizing birthdays and badge numbers, knowing every habit of this fictional duo — from Mulder’s proclivity for dirty videos and sunflower seeds to Scully’s fondness of Moby Dick and skeptically raising her eyebrow. And what fans loved the most was the banter between the believer and the skeptic. Continue reading →
Max: The tensions that began brewing in the “Patient X” two-parter carry over into the film, as the Syndicate is now faced with the startling possibility that the alien colonists it has been collaborating with for decades haven’t been forthcoming about certain aspects of colonization, the date of which we’ve heard has been set. Not that the Syndicate has been on the up-and-up itself, as access to alien tissue and the black oil has offered the opportunity to develop a vaccine against the viral infection that captures Mulder and Scully’s interest throughout the film.
We have, for the most part, followed the mythology along something of a straight line, from a group of high school kids tested on in the Pacific Northwest to an international conspiracy of silence that used the Cold War and paramilitary operations as cover for abductions, experiments, and imprisonment on innocent civilians, including family members of the Syndicate (like Cassandra Spender and Samantha Mulder) and individuals that threatened the secrecy of the project (Dana Scully). Each new layer attacked this cabal from a different angle, but for the most part a consistent alternate history of the post-WWII world had been laid out. But now, with the knowledge that the sinister black oil can gestate a new EBE inside of its host, all of this is out the window. Continue reading →