What You Need To Know:
THE X-FILES movie is an exciting, but surprisingly mundane, science fiction thriller about two FBI agents battling a secret conspiracy of powerful men who are helping a mysterious, unseen race of alien invaders. THE X-FILES has a strong moral worldview of good heroes battling evil and lacks excessive foul language and violence. It also has no implied or depicted sex.
(BB, H, E, LL, VV, M) Moderately strong moral worldview of good versus evil & heroes battling globalists conspirators with humanist, evolution elements regarding science fiction aliens; 8 obscenities, 4 profanities & 1 Oh, God!, nearly all exclamatory; moderate action violence -- alien attacks two cavemen, alien attacks scientist, aliens try to grab heroes, man grazes other man's head with gunshot, man shoots driver, one murder off screen, bomb explodes in car, killing one man, & brief shots of corpses destroyed by aliens; no sex; no nudity except for a reference to off-screen natural nudity; and, men selfishly conspire to enslave humans & use people as hosts for alien parasite.
The cult television show THE X-FILES explodes on the big screen this summer in a filmed extravaganza under the same title. Deliciously imagined by the creator of the series, Chris Carter, it is a creepy, paranoid fantasy certain to give most fans of the series more than their money’s worth.
For those not familiar with the TV show, the program stars two young actors named David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, who play two FBI agents named Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Mulder and Scully are the only agents running the FBI’s department investigating strange, threatening incidents throughout America. Mulder and Scully mostly get involved with chasing monsters (some of them man-made), paranormal activities and UFOs. Scully, who has medical and scientific expertise that Mulder lacks, joined his investigations five years ago. Together, they have collected files detailing their countless investigations. Those files are known as The X-Files.
Most of the episodes on the TV show focus on one ongoing storyline. That storyline involves a secret cabal of government insiders and businessmen called The Syndicate. The Syndicate conspires to hide the activities of a group of mysterious aliens from another planet. THE X-FILES has taken popular UFO mythology to create a sinister plot whereby The Syndicate is helping the aliens to eventually colonize Earth so that Syndicate leaders can get a piece of the action. Secretly, however, the Syndicate is trying to create a vaccine to the deadly virus contained in the aliens’ blood.
There are really no surprising revelations in the movie version of THE X-FILES, the first of probably several such versions. The movie is a continuation of the last episode of the show’s fifth season that aired just two months ago. At the end of that episode, one of The Syndicate’s head agents, the mysterious “Cigarette Smoking Man,” played by William B. Davis, burns down the X-Files office. Mulder and Scully are reassigned to the FBI’s anti-terrorist team.
In the beginning of the movie, after a scary prologue with an alien monster that takes place in 35,000 B.C. and present-day North Texas, Mulder and Scully are mulling over their futures with the FBI. Scully is thinking about quitting the FBI to start a career in medicine, and Mulder wants Scully to help him fight to keep them together and get the government to reopen the X-Files. While investigating a bomb blast that destroyed a federal building in Dallas, Mulder and Scully learn that The Syndicate designed the bomb to cover the deaths of three firemen and a young boy infected by alien blood. The audience, and our two heroes, soon learn that the alien blood, after infecting a human, becomes the seed for some kind of new mutated alien. The alien turns out to be a very dangerous killing machine, similar to the ALIEN movies.
The Syndicate leaders call a meeting because they were apparently unaware that the aliens were breeding this kind of monster. Against the wishes of one of the leaders, played by veteran English actor John Neville, they decide to continue working with the unseen alien leaders while they try to hide the fact of the vaccine from both the aliens and Mulder and Scully. The rest of the film becomes a cat and mouse chase sequence where Mulder and Scully continue their investigation while at the same time they try to keep each other alive.
For all its hype as a spooky show full of weird mysteries, THE X-FILES offers a rather mundane, but exciting, plot about alien monsters and worldwide conspiracies. The end of the movie deprives its audience of any glimpse of the alien leaders behind the worldwide conspiracy. This still makes the specific motives of The Syndicate’s human leaders unclear. The movie also sometimes leaps from plot sequence to plot sequence, especially at the end. As a result, it leaves needlessly unanswered questions about how the characters got to where they end up. Finally, the movie’s last action sequence contains anti-climactic moments with the barely visible alien monsters. These moments should have been rethought. They seem anti-climactic because the movie has already shown us the monsters attacking other humans in a similar fashion, and the monsters to begin with are the least interesting part of the whole movie. It makes the ending to THE X-FILES just another ALIENS rip-off.
Unlike other recent PG-13 movies, THE X-FILES keeps the foul language to a moderate level. The violence is quite scary at times, especially in the first half of the movie, but the worst of it involves alien attacks. Most importantly, there are no people shooting guns indiscriminately at innocent people. Even better, there is no implied or depicted nudity or sex in the movie. Finally, although the movie contains some minor humanist, evolution elements and is about aliens and UFOs, they are minor and serve mainly to further the plot. The aliens and UFO portions are played out in the context of science fiction fantasy. The alleged sightings of aliens and UFOs in real life may have a demonic, occult nature, but the aliens and UFOs in THE X-FILES movie have no supernatural nature of that sort.
The two leads, Duchovny and Anderson, make really compelling, sincere heroes, however. They work well together. The movie makes us care strongly about their success, especially when they are battling the worldwide conspirators, engaging their FBI colleagues and helping one another.
The appealing quality of these two heroes lends weight to the moderately strong moral worldview of THE X-FILES. The movie takes a solid stance in favor of goodness, including the biblical ideals of truth, liberty and self-sacrifice. Twice in the movie, during crucial parts of the story, screenwriter Chris Carter has one of his heroes say to the other that, if they stop fighting for truth and freedom, then the bad guys win. Their comment reminds one of the famous quote by the God-centered conservative Edmund Burke, who said that evil will prevail if good men do nothing.