DOASKKDOTELL MOVIE REVIEW X-files Miniseries, movies

 

Title: X-Files

Release Date:  1999

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: about 150 Minutes   (3 installments)

MPAA Rating: 

Distributor and Production Company:   20th Century Fox

Director; Writer: Chris Carter; story and screenplay by David Duchovny

Producer:

Cast:   David Duchovny

Technical:  TV miniseries

Relevance to doaskdotell site: creative writing

Review: TV Movie Review: X-Files (1999 miniseries);  Story by David Duchovny; Aired April 18, 25, and May 2,1999 by Fox; 20th Century Fox

 

            This is a review of the 1999 TV miniseries, not the 1998 "X-Files" movie.         

            It is interesting for two main reasons: It presents charismatic star David Duchovny as a writer, author, storyteller as well as actor. There are not a lot of films where actors have written their own stories and scripts. And, secondly, it's premise goes about as far as entertainment can go and remain believable.  This story, in fact, is penultimate: it rubs us up against what Clive Barker would call The Erasure, a confrontation with The Truth about what's out there, and we may not want to know.

            Duchovny had given provocative interviews to Playboy, last fall (in which he presented rather libertarian views on sexuality and especially sexual harassment), and this May, Esquire, where he has become enriched by marriage and the prospect of fatherhood.  People who live for celebrity are wimps, he says; they just want to escape real family commitment.

            Duchovny, we know, has had an interesting career. At one time he was a Ph.D. candidate with a field in English Literature.  I had not met many graduate students in the humanities area myself until relatively recently with my libertarian-associated activities, but it is somewhat common for aspiring actors and writers to major in English, Philosophy, or other humanities while exploring other career possibilities all the time.  He came to play the role of Fox Mulder, an earnest young man who joins the FBI in an attempt to find out what happened to his father and sister when he was a little boy.  Mulder, though still unmarried while in his late thirties, comes across as a male role model.  Almost any father would want a son to turn out like Mulder.  (And the same for Scully.)

            He carries out his creative muse with certain stricture: the somewhat cartoonish characters of the the X-Files series. The ultimate villain, for example, is the "Cigarette-Smoking-Man."  Boy, on three packs a day, his legs must be pretty well destroyed, but we never see him out of "good clothes."  The premise, however, is indeed so compelling that it still works.

            Am I sworn to secrecy? No, because the show has already just been aired. The supposition is that Nazi Germany had actually experimented with blending Aryan "super-race" genes with those of space aliens, and that the US Government, at the outset of the Cold War, actually hired (with prosecutorial immunity) suspected war criminals to do the same for our government.  You see, our government wanted an "escape route" after nuclear war which some, during the 1950's and up through the Cuban Missile Crisis (and perhaps through much of the Vietnam war) as ultimately inevitable.  Aliens, after all, could physically get us out of nuclear winter, off the planet.  With some of our own genes, we could carry on the race and maybe even "democracy."  Well, I think we would have become social insects with assigned stations in life; we could have forgotten libertarianism. We would face a real "Childhood's End."  

            Now, for my own future fiction projects, I'm researching this whole Roswell (1947) thing (I toured the site in 1998), and at present, the evidence is simply inconclusive.  Several other authors are doing them same thing, and we'll all reach our personal conclusions separately.

            One question, though, is why can't the government just tell the truth, if indeed we aren't alone?  There really aren't many good reasons, but Duchovny's idea certainly poses one.  And that makes it frightening.  I can't dismiss it out of hand.

            The film should have been a theater film (it's a lot better than the 1998 film).  There are interesting effects.  For example, an underground coal mine (Beckley, W. Va??) is turned into a medical records center, with miles of cabinets lining a mining railway underground.  (Remember, I wrote about strip mining in DADT, and there is still the Greenbrier, W. Va. Underground bunker which I toured shortly before moving to Minnesota.)  There are long lyrical moments on the New Mexico desert when the Navaho's nurse Mulder back to health and back to a will to live with ancient home remedies; this fills up the second episode and has the effect of a slow movement of a symphony.

            But I'm convinced, The Truth Is Out There, and we'll all know before too much longer.  I get closer to it all the time myself.

 

On May 19, 2002 Fox aired the last episode, a 2-hour special called “The Truth,” in the style of a TV movie. Well, it’s psychologically feminine enough, isn’t it? Mulder is inside Mount Weather (does it really have an underground tunnel built into the Lesser Blue Ridge?) when he throws a fibbie to his death. Except, Mulder maintains, the fibbie doesn’t die; he’s a super-soldier, an alien hybrid who has Clark Kent’s powers without Clark’s humanity. The story’s ideas are mainly packaged in a trial – a military tribunal held in an underground room with ceiling fans and no air conditioning. Actually, civilian U.S. citizens can’t be tried this way; they have a right to a trial by jury. But the trial is more a ploy for exposition of ideas than a genuine literary plot device. It is no “courtroom drama.” Mulder gets sentenced to death by lethal injection and conveniently escapes to a climax out in Pueblo country, where supposedly native Americans can shelter themselves from the end of the world on Dec 21, 2012. You see, here is the truth: the black oil virus allows human beings to be taken over by alien entities (the virus carries all the information of alien consciousness), and after the end of the Mayan calendar we will all be aliens. Well, the fibbies destroy the last Native American sanctuary with attack helicopters, so they’ve already been converted. We face a bleak future, and that’s the Truth.

 

The X-Files (1998, 20th Century Fox, dir. Rob Bowan, story by Christ Carter) has Mulder and Scully investigating a bombing, and then finding a cabal to cover up an alien invasion which might be quite spectacular.

 

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008, 20th Century Fox, dir. Chris Carter, 100 min, PG-13) is rather obtuse. 10 years later, Scully is back to her career as a surgeon, and Mulder, with a beard, is in hiding from a false accusation. They are called in to solve a mysterious disappearance in West Virginia, and a cache of amputated arms. Scully struggles with a boy dying of a bizarre brain tumor. The encounter a convicted sex offender living in a sex offender’s dorm in Richmond, castrated, who leads them to the prey with psychic abilities before getting sacrificed. Scully is rather brutal in the way she talks to him, why did he bugger 37 altar boys? The movie is dark and relentless, suggesting that some people have transgressed moral boundaries to be ultimately beyond redemption. The movie was filmed in British Columbia, and shows constant cold and powdery snow, even in Richmond VA.

 

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