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X-Files, The: Fight the Future Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 December 2008
ImageIn 1998, "The X-Files: Fight the Future" became the first movie based on the popular television series.  It racked in about $170 million worldwide, which was a bit disappointing.  However, as the television show gained more popularity, home video sales of the film soared.  The majority of fans rave about this film, and for the most part, they are correct.  "Fight the Future" contains all the elements that make for a great sci-fi movie.

This film contains a real extraterrestrial investigation, one that was sorely lacking in the more recent X-Files film.  Fox Mulder, leading investigator for the X-Files division of the FBI, and Dana Scully, lead scientist and near non-believer in the paranormal, are partners.  AS the film opens, we are introduced to an alien presence in what would be north Texas in the year 35,000 B.C.  Jumping to the present, a group of teenage boys uncover the remains of the alien site in their backyard.  To cover up the alien site, the secret government agency blows up a federal building in Dallas with the dead bodies placed inside.  Of course, Mulder and Scully are right in the middle and get blamed for the entire bombing,

With the help of an old friend, Mulder begins to investigate the bizarre bombing, bringing Scully along for the ride.  After investigating the dead bodies in the morgue, it is easily discovered that something bigger than a bombing is going on.  Traveling back to Dallas, the duo investigates the alien site, which by this time has been covered up by the government.  In the middle of the desert they find a corn crop field along with two giant white bubble tents.  Against better judgment, they enter one of the tents only to be met with the largest swarm of bees known to man.

Once back in Washington D.C., Scully resigns from the FBI.  While talking with Mulder outside his apartment, Scully is stung by an altered African Honeybee.  Unfortunately, a pseudo-ambulance team arrives to take Scully away and shoot Mulder in the head.  Upon awakening, Mulder has less than 96 hours to travel to Antarctica, find Scully and administer an anti-virus to the alien gestating inside Scully's body. The final Antarctic scene is a perfect fit to an X-Files' ending.  Unlike the second X-Files film, this film leaves the audience believing in the paranormal.  Also, Duchovny and Anderson did not resume their roles as Mulder and Scully with enough enthusiasm in the newer film.  However, as this film was made during the television show's run, their acting is spot on with the characters that we know and love.

While the movie is terrific, unfortunately the video is not.  It is a step up from the standard DVD transfer, however, many issues still haunt the image.  First, and foremost, the image is plagued by enormous amounts of grain.  The opening 20 minutes is so grainy it was almost unbearable to watch.  In addition, from the get go, the image suffers from vertical and horizontal banding.  It seems that digital noise reduction was applied after 20 minutes into the film and much of the annoying grain disappears.  The colors do not pop off the screen.  In fact they are fairly muted.  The black levels are decent, but waver to be fairly weak during some scenes.  The contrast is decent, but shadow delineation is weak.  The details are also fuzzy.  More often than not, the close-up sequences appear soft, as do the backgrounds.  The super-white Antarctic sequences do demonstrate some superior video quality compared with the rest of the film.  Overall, a disappointment for a Blu-ray release.

The audio quality is far better than the video quality.  We are given a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that contains great dynamics.  The dialogue is always clean and audible, unlike many other films with such a dynamic range.  The LFE channel is pitch perfect.  There are times I wished for a bit of more bottom end, but overall, a great subwoofer workout during the explosion scenes.  Although, the final Antarctic sequence seemed to be lacking a subwoofer signal altogether.  It was odd.  The rear channels are constantly engaged.  Atmosphere and ambience is nicely spread to the rear channels.  Discrete effects are regularly placed in the surrounds.  However, the pans and positions are sometimes spotty, removing the viewer from the cinematic experience.  The overall sound design is a bit muddy, lacking the spatial imagery that is present in a lot of today's blockbuster films.  In the end, this audio track is the saving grace to the Blu-ray release.

Like "X-Files: I Want to Believe," "Fight the Future" is packed with extra features.  It contains most of the standard definition material present on the previously release DVD edition, as well as new material.  While there are no separate deleted scenes, there is a choice to view either the Extended edition or the theatrical edition.  The extended edition does contain some interesting extra footage.  The original audio commentary by director Rob Bowman and producer/writer Chris Carter is included here.  This is a real treat for fans of the X-Files.  Special for this release, there is also a new audio commentary by director Rob Bowman, Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz and Daniel Sackheim.  This is another great track for fans.  The new audio commentary is also available in the BonusView section as a picture-in-picture commentary.  There is an Alternate Bee Sting Scene.  "Blackwood: The Making of 'The X-Files: Fight the Future'" is a new making of featurette.  The original making featurette is also available on the Blu-ray disc.  Like "I Want to Believe" there is a visual effects featurette.  What was lacking from "I Want to Believe" was a Scoring featurette, which is thankfully a bonus feature on "Fight the Future."  If a fan of film scoring, this is a terrific behind the scenes feature.  There are also, trailers, still galleries, and a gag reel.

"X-Files: Fight the Future" is one the great sci-fi films out there.  Compared to its recent counterpart, this film is blessed with terrific acting and a great script and story.  The video quality is sorely lacking, but the audio quality is a real treat.  Never have I seen such a discrepancy in audio and video quality as with this film.  Pick this film up for your collection if you are at all interested in the paranormal.

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