March 28, 2018

filmsgraded.com:
The X-Files (1998)
Grade: 50/100

Director: Rob Bowman
Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Martin Landau

What it's about. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are hottie FBI agents on the trail of an extraterrestrial virus in North Texas, and an elaborate Federal government plot to cover it all up. The Feds might even be collaborating with the aliens. All we know for sure is that the film will end with Duchovny and Anderson exactly the same as they were at the beginning of the movie, since the television series they star in has two more seasons to run.

Duchovny is admirable in his efforts to save the comely skin of his equally emotionally blank co-star Anderson, even though his own life is also in danger. He should end up in a large cylindrical vat as a host for a stereotypically lizard-like alien, but there is no chance of that. James Bond never dies, either.

How others will see it. The cult favorite television show serves the sci-fi community that wants to believe that aliens really did land in Roswell, New Mexico, and the Feds hatched a huge conspiracy to hide it from the public, to prevent a "War of the Worlds"-style panic. There is one other demographic interested in the movie: fans of distant, brainy, slender redheads.

While the Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTA, etc. passed on the film, the Saturn Awards was far more positive, bestowing nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Make-Up, the latter a less prestigious category except in the sci-fi genre. The X Files lost in all categories, but its television series counterpart did win Best Genre Network Series.

The movie was also a box office success, earning 100M in theaters worldwide. Today at imdb.com, the user rating of 7.0 is higher than expected, though it declines with the advancing age of the viewer. Women like it more than do men, perhaps approving of the extraordinary lengths taken by Duchovny to save the life of his partner.

Naturally, fans of the television series like the movie, which retains the principals and themes of the series, yet enjoys a much more generous budget. Naysayers are in the minority, and carp that for all the amazing things that our heroes discovery, in the end nothing can be proven, and in effect nothing has happened except Martin Landau and some anonymous redshirts got wasted.

How I felt about it. The Federal government goes to great lengths, and great expense, to conceal the great conspiracy from the public. Troublemakers and public servants are snuffed, but certainly not Duchovny and Anderson, who are after all under contract, and nice to look at as well. They aren't even fired, or reassigned, or separated. It's as if the conspirators want Mulder and Scully to learn the truth out there, so they can film it for next week's episode.

One does feel sorry for Martin Landau, though. The schmuck never appeared on the television series, so he is not a regular, and is thus an ideal martyr for the cause of proving They Live, and aren't very nice, either. The real surprise, though, is shooting the chauffeur. Wouldn't it have been better to give him a generous tip instead?