The X-Files: Fight the Future
directed by Rob Bowman
(20th Century Fox, 1998)

Oh, for Pete's sake, would he kiss her already?

The quizzical relationship between Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) has got to be one of the most frustrating in television history. Everyone, both on and off the screen, sees it but them, apparently, but come on, we can only accept this kind of blindness for so long. Hell, in how many episodes did Scully nearly smooch a Mulder lookalike? How often did they almost kiss? Sheeesh!

The non-romance made its leap to the big screen in a big way with The X-Files: Fight the Future. The long-awaited transition to the movies didn't change much between our paranormal investigators, although once again they almost kissed -- only to be interrupted by an ill-timed bee sting. The bee, of course, was infected with a mutated alien virus that nearly killed Scully, but that's getting ahead of the story.

The episode -- and really, the movie was just an excuse to charge fans for a two-hour television episode -- began in 35,000 B.C. with cavemen and aliens in an ice-age Texas. Then things flash forward to modern times, an ill-fated kid and the very same Texas cave -- and some very nasty black oil. Soon, we're back in the swing of things with the usual assortment of conspiracies, cover-ups and misleading information.

For all that the film was a glorified TV special, Fight the Future ranks high as an excellent chapter in the unfolding events of Mulder's quest to expose the paranormal. The movie boasts small appearances by most of the TV regulars, including assistant director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), the paranoid Lone Gunmen (Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood and Tom Braidwood) and the mysterious cigarette-smoking man (William B. Davis). Martin Landau makes an appearance as the latest in a string of Mulder's informants, as does series semi-regular John Neville as the well-manicured man. (When will these people learn that giving information to Mulder is an automatic death sentence?)

We learn more about the alien conspiracy and colonization plan, and we get a peek into the monstrous side of the alien race. And poor Scully, who has been abducted, infected, injected, poked and prodded more than any star in TV or movie history, gets to go through it all again.

By the end of the film, we've learned a few new pieces of information in the never-ending web of mysteries, although given past revelations, everything is always in doubt.

OK, so the script stretches the bounds of imagination a bit. We're supposed to blissfully accept that Mulder decides to search the wrong building during a bomb scare, and finds a bomb there by accident when he can't get a soda from a vending machine. We're supposed to believe that, in the vastless tracts of the Antarctic, Mulder just happened to step on the one piece of ice that would break and send him plummeting to an underground backdoor leading into the conspirators' hidden lair. And we're supposed to believe that Mulder and Scully could survive alone in the freezing Antarctic without transportation or communications, with Scully already injured, half naked and wet.

Well, sure. The X-Files was never intended to be realistic fiction.

It's the easy camaraderie between Mulder and Scully that has always made The X-Files a treat, and there's plenty of it here. The combination of visionary and skeptic, dreamer and rationalist, makes for an irresistable combination, particularly when the sexual tension between them is so taut.

People who've never seen the television series will probably be lost in this film. It's not intended for newcomers to the story. But for X-File-ophiles, it's a great addition to the series mythology.

But, please -- would someone tell Mulder to go ahead and kiss the girl?

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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