Rating 15 Length 2h02 Release 21.8.1998 Director Rob Bowman About Two FBI agents set out to unravel a government conspiracy related to the alien colonisation of Earth and attempt to rescue the people on the planet. Moon: Full moon at 33 minutes in Where to Watch: Disney Plus Trailer:
There’s not enough Mitch Pileggi. There is literally never enough Mitch Pileggi, but it’s still very true here. He sort of bookends the film and then pops up one or two more times. It’s weird to see him in a role where he’s not the one in charge.
The Lone Gunmen are used poorly. They’re nothing more than lip service and its a real injustice. While I’m sure the actors were happy to appear on the big screen, they could have played a bigger, better, part.
Due to this being a film, set between series, there’s an element of setting the scene for none fans. It’s why there’s two segments before getting to Mulder and Scully. For the tv show, a cold opening works. It doesn’t here and, even as a fan of the show, I’m restless until our protagonists appear.
This movie really does give the fans some epic pay offs for five years of mythology content. Cigarette Smoking Man has a B-plot thread and the Well-Manicured Man shows his true-ish colours. The whole thing not only gives us answers, but it adds gravitas to the mythology.
There’s something more to this than it being an episode story with extra time. The budget is bigger, so the plot is able to take us beyond what we’d ever see in even a multi-episode arc. The set pieces are bigger, better and serve the plot well.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson prove that they are made for the big screen; their chemistry, their character portrayal and story arcs are still able to shine through despite the grander scale; not many actors would be able to do the same.
The horror comes from the rather oddest part in this movie. It’s not the extra-terrestrial or the plot that comes with their existence, but the actions of the group that both the Cigarette-smoking Man and The Well Manicured Man belong to. The lengths that they’ll go to cover things up is truly terrifying.
The only shame is that Fox Studios wouldn’t allow Chris Carter to follow through with his plan of a number of movies following this one. Its a good watch for this time of year and it works well to watch outside of viewing the series.
Rating 15 Length 1h 44 Release 1.8.2008 Director Chris Carter About Though FBI special agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and his partner Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) once chased things that go bump in the night, his tireless search for the truth out there has led to his professional exile. However, a missing-persons case leads to the agents’ reunion, along with an encounter with a priest (Billy Connolly) who may or may not be experiencing psychic visions.
First Things First
Right now, I’m sat kicking myself for not seeing this in the cinema. I worked there, for Mulder’s sake. I actually have a vivid memory. An almost ‘Sliding Doors’ moment in which I was done for the evening and the last showing of the day was about to begin. I passed up on the opportunity. Now, it’s at this point I should clarify, I was possibly one of the strangest ‘fans’. I was such a fan that I wore a Mulder and Scully watch for at least 4 years, even though I’d probably only seen a handful of episodes. Yeah, I was 8 years old when Scully was sent to spy on Mulder, so I was only allowed to press record on the VCR and watch up until that distinctive theme song. It wasn’t until 1996 or so when it had moved to Saturday nights, that I saw my first full episode. Can you imagine it; being banned from watching the show, but being bought the merch by the same parent?! Then again, this was the same person who, without fail, would buy me a board game every Christmas and refuse to play it with me. Go figure. Much like a lot of my teens fandoms; Buffy, Star Trek and Angel… I fell a little out of love with X Files. I’d not taken it upon myself to do a rewatch (or a first watch) and I just felt very disengaged in 2008. However, it’s now 2021. I’ve spent the last few months watching all 9 seasons, and one movie, leading up to this one. I’d been dreading it, I won’t lie.
It’s X Files. Even with its flaws, I’m in. You’re giving me Mulder and Scully. You’re in theory giving me together Mulder and Scully. What’s not to love. It certainly has its moments that will have any fan happy. When they’re together on screen, its frigging awesome.
It’s a story that is that perfect middle ground. It’s the supernatural rather than the mythology that, at times, bogged the show down. I love the alien shit, but I think the fatal flaw of the franchise is that it wavered too much on that line of ‘are the aliens real?’. At least this keeps it conspiracy lite. Well, except for the priest with a taste for choir boys.
Speaking of the whole pedophilia subplot. It was a powerful thing to address considering this would have still been a rather raw subject, for American viewers in particular. The Boston sex abuse scandal was only exposed in 2002. I’m sure Carter was trying to say something profound about this dirty secret of the Catholic Church. I’m not sure it works completely, but damn I’m still impressed he tried.
The editing in the opening was excellent. It was unsettling and lacking context, but it worked. It was something very different to what we’ve come to expect of X Files and it really got my attention.
Billy Connolly, while giving me the creeps, was a delight to see on screen. Rather strange to see him without his beard, but given his character I was glad of that disassociation.
I struggled with Scully’s B-Plot storyline. It felt a little too contrived and almost a plot device hiding in plain sight. The film needed a bit of a change in editing (Like, don’t give me shifty looks to the Father, when the other one was a convicted pedophile, and not give me a resolution to that either way). It’s a shame, because when Gillian Anderson’s scenes worked, it was powerful.
This is the ‘ship that coined the term ‘shipping’. So why the fuck does the film play them off against each other for most of the movie?! Why, after EVERYTHING Scully has seen, is she still a skeptic? Both the relationship, and Scully herself are completely devolved to fit the narrative. It does all fans a disservice.
Our new Mulder/Scully, Dogget/Reyes. I don’t get them and they’re booted out of the script halfway through. While I adore Amanda Peet and she does an amazing job, put Agent Monica Reyes in that role and it blows the whole thing open and adds investment. Then there’s Xzibit as Agent Drummy as the overly-aggressive skeptic. The biggest problem being that there’s no chemistry between him and Mulder…. so he just ends up shouting.
That fucking beard! What the fuck, man?! I get that the film was trying to show that Mulder was not the same, but did we really need him to wear such a bad joke-shop stick-on beard?! It was cheap, it was tacky and it lasted so much of the movie.
There are worse episodes that feel way longer than this outing. It is flawed and I did shout “Oh, fuck off Scully.” At the tv screen. Something I’ve not done since mid-series 3. As much as this was made as a stand alone to bring in the uninitiated, I doubt the franchise would gain any fans from watching this first.