The X-Files: Fight the Future is easily one of the best transitions ever for a TV show to feature film. Directed with supreme style and smarts by series veteran Rob Bowman and sporting absolutely fantastic widescreen cinematography from veteran shooter Ward Russell (Days of Thunder, The Last Boy Scout), who utilized a rich color palette in full 2.35:1 widescreen and made smart use of the excellent locations chosen for the story. I absolutely loved the Neanderthal/Quest for Fire-esque opening sequence with the first alien encounter – raw, nasty, primal, and scary. Series mastermind Chris Carter took full advantage of the inherently cinematic possibilities with his iconic material, and along with Frank Spotnitz and undoubtedly many others, crafted a fabulous continuation of the central alien mythology plot-line, while jacking everything up visually and thematically. I’ve gone back to this movie for years, not just out of my love for The X-Files in general, but because, on its own, it’s a damn good movie. Fine, some of it might be impenetrable to the casual viewer or non-fan, but even in those instances, the gripping set pieces, tremendous production design, and excellent performances should alleviate any concerns.
Bowman and Carter threw in nods to various political thrillers from the 70’s, most notably Alan Pakula’s masterpiece The Parallax View, and all throughout, there’s an unnerving vibe that fills each scene, from the ominous back-room deals with the Syndicate, to the sub-Antarctic government base that forms the absolutely smashing action-oriented finale. All of the regular faces from the TV show were present in the film, while the filmmakers brought in some excellent supporting players like Martin Landau, Armin Mueller Stahl, Blythe Danner, and Terry O’Quinn. The opening domestic terrorism bombing sequence is rivetingly staged, while the mid-film action set piece inside those incredibly sketchy domes out in those corn stalks was expertly shot, cut, and directed. And when those bees are released, the scene kicks it up a further notch. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were at their best here as Mulder and Scully, and their “almost-kiss” moment registered as one of the absolute best moments in the series, big screen or small. Everything about this movie clicked, which you can’t say for the decade later follow up, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, or last year’s reboot. I’d love for them to get back on the big screen with another alien-centric narrative, as that’s where I’ve always felt the heart of this series rested.