STARRING: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Martin Landau, Mitch
Pileggi, Blythe Danner
1998, 108 Minutes, Directed by: Rob Bowman
Movies like this are really critic proof: no matter how bad the
critics say it is, fans of the X-Files television show on which it is based would
still go to see it. But critic proof-ness is a double-edged sword because the opposite is
also true: no matter how good the critics say it is, very few non-fans will bother to
check it out. All of which is a shame because it is actually rather good.
The X-Files gives
its audiences what few other summer movies this year has so far supplied. It is witty,
clever, well-acted, thrilling and exciting. Oh, and did I mention intelligent? In other
words, everything that movies like Godzilla and Lost In Space have promised to be, but weren't. To simply write it
off as a two-hour version of the popular television show, in which two mismatched FBI
agents investigate the so-called X-Files (cases left unsolved by the bureau), is unfair.
Yes, it is that, but it also makes good use of the big screen by offering the sort of
special effects and production values that cinema audiences are accustomed to seeing on
the big screen.
Admittedly it will reward its
long-time fans most. If youre not completely familiar with the television series
some minor characters will simply appear onscreen and vanish again. Fans will read more
into events. I have however read of several non-fans who were completely unfamiliar with
the show who gave this movie a shot and ended up enjoying it.
About two years ago I was in
similar position: bewildered by the whole X-Files phenomenon, I decided to see
what the fuss was about and rented a few episodes on video. Exposure means addiction, as
the advertisements for the series warned and pretty soon I must admit that I was hooked. The
X-Files is above-average television, and in the case of this movie it also makes for
above-average science fiction cinema.
If youre a fan then
you have probably no doubt already seen the movie. But if youre not, dont let
the notion that The X-Files is the 1990s equivalent of Star
Trek geekiness put you off. Maybe checking out the videos will be a better start for
the neophyte, but although this is a big screen continuation of the television series (it
basically follows on the shows fifth season) I didnt have too hard a time following on-screen events - despite the
fact that here in South Africa we are only up to the third season of the show.
So if you
want to check out what The X-Files is about, then the movie is
a good opportunity. Next thing youll probably also be following
it in earnest . . .