Film Review: The X-Files (1998)

Also known as: The X-Files: Fight the Future
Release Date: June 19th, 1998
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Written by: Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz
Based on: The X-Files by Chris Carter
Music by: Mark Snow
Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Martin Landau, Blythe Danner, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, John Neville, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood, Jeffrey DeMunn, Terry O’Quinn, Michael Shamus Wiles

Ten Thirteen Productions, 20th Century Fox, 121 Minutes

Review:

I already reviewed The X-Files television show. This review is for the first film in the franchise, which is also known as The X-Files: Fight the Future.

The film takes place between the fifth and sixth seasons of the series and was released at that time as well. It continues and expands upon the main plot thread of the show regarding the alien conspiracy. It moves along the story pretty well and doesn’t have a definitive ending, thus leaving it open for further expansion on its mythos.

The film is really good if you are a fan of the television series and it was one of my favorite chapters in the overall story. However, if you aren’t versed in the series, it is probably hard to watch and even harder to follow. Sure, it is eerie and creepy and has a lot of cool shit in it. The problem, is that it relies on the viewer to have knowledge on the series and the alien conspiracy plot thread that has spanned five seasons, by this point.

It also doesn’t feel like a feature film, it feels more like an expanded episode with a much larger budget and better special effects.

Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are great but when aren’t they?

It would be best to watch this film between seasons five and six, if you are binge watching them. In fact, if you are watching the television series, this is required viewing because a lot happens that effects the show and jumping into season six may be a bit confusing without seeing the film first.

I do like the film in the same vein as the series but it should really be a part of the series and not a chapter placed elsewhere that may be missed by modern viewers because it isn’t available on Netflix like the show is. Although you can rent it on Amazon Video for a few bucks.

Rating: 7/10

Film Review: Futureworld (1976)

Release Date: June 28th, 1976
Directed by: Richard T. Heffron
Written by: Mayo Simon, George Schenck
Music by: Fred Karlin
Cast: Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill, Stuart Margolin, John Ryan, Yul Brynner

Aubrey Company/Paul N. Lazarus III, American International Pictures, 107 Minutes

futureworldReview:

I had never seen Futureworld until now. I had always heard that it was a poor sequel to Westworld but I didn’t interpret it that way at all. While it is an extension of its predecessor and shares some ideas and plot points, it feels like its own movie.

It stars Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner, two reporters who go to the Delos Corporation’s re-opened theme park a few years after the tragedy that took place in Westworld. They are there to see if everything is on the up-and-up. Yul Brynner reprises his role as the gunslinging killer android  from the previous film. However, Brynner only appears in a bizarre fantasy dream sequence. The inclusion of the Brynner character was pretty pointless.

For the most part, I really enjoyed this picture. It stood out as its own story and didn’t try to just rehash what we saw in Westworld. To be honest, it was a better story. Sure, it was missing the iconic gunslinger with his cold stare and dead android eyes but it had killer android doppelgängers. After the reveal of the Delos Corporation’s sinister plan, you never really knew who might already be a killer android. I feel like they could and should have done a lot more with this major plot development but they utilized it pretty minimally. There was a big opportunity to create some serious tech paranoia but things never really went that far.

Peter Fonda was better than decent as the lead. He looked like he was having fun but he didn’t bring anything unique or exceptional to the role. Blythe Danner is always a pleasant sight but any cute starlet could have played her part just as effectively.

The direction wasn’t fantastic either. It also wasn’t bad. But that’s kind of what this movie was for the most part. It was a straightforward and somewhat mediocre mid 70s sci-fi thriller but it had an air of coolness about it. I think that was mostly due to the sets and the imagination that went into a lot of the tech stuff in the picture. And again, I do enjoy this movie.

Had this been a rehash of the original film, it would’ve been a total dud. The fact that it reached far outside of its own box, is what makes it worth people’s time. I get that people don’t seem to hold this in the same regard as Westworld, but I think they are good companion pieces to one another.