[Screen It]


(1998) (David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Heavy Moderate *Heavy Heavy
Minor Mild Heavy None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
None Mild None Mild Extreme

Sci-fi: Two FBI agents, who specialize in paranormal activity, investigate a bombing that leads to the discovery of a government coverup of global proportions.
For years, agents Fox Mulder (DAVID DUCHOVNY) and Dana Scully (GILLIAN ANDERSON) have worked on a top-secret FBI dossier concerning paranormal matters. Mulder, who firmly believes his sister was abducted by aliens when they were kids, is the true believer, while Scully, a fully trained doctor who was initially assigned to work with, but debunk his theories, has seen too much to be a nonbeliever herself.

Recently, however, the X-Files have been closed and the two agents have been reassigned to cover more "normal" subjects such as bomb threats. After a massive bomb destroys a building, however, Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil (MARTIN LANDAU), a conspiracy theory novelist, approaches Mulder with information on several bodies pulled from the wreckage. As Mulder and Scully begin to investigate, they uncover a massive government coverup fronted by "The Cigarette- Smoking Man" (WILLIAM B. DAVIS) and Strughold (ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL), the leader of the top secret organization, The Syndicate.

While simultaneously having to deal with FBI Assistant Director Jana Cassidy (BLYTHE DANNER) who's reviewing their collective work, Mulder and Scully find themselves trying to stop an international operation that's working on a mutated and deadly virus that could result in the demise of everyone on the planet.

If they're fans of the TV show they most definitely will.
For some intense violence and gore.
  • DAVID DUCHOVNY plays an FBI agent who believes in extraterrestrials and other paranormal activity. Featuring a sharp, but dry sense of humor, he occasionally bends (or breaks) the rules governing his professional behavior to get to the bottom of things. Along the way he does cuss some (compared to the TV show where he can't).
  • GILLIAN ANDERSON plays Mulder's partner, a trained physician, who finds her career in jeopardy after getting involved in yet another paranormal case. Intelligent, strong, and determined, she's a good role model for young girls.
  • WILLIAM B. DAVIS plays a shady government agent who smokes nonstop throughout the film and is involved at the highest level in many covert government operations.


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    Based on the popular Fox TV show of the same name, "The X-Files" is essentially a two-hour, big budget and big screen version of the show. Featuring essentially the same cast and the usual paranormal activity and government conspiracy, this film should please fans of the genre and may just introduce others into becoming devoted followers of the show. That said, the film isn't spectacular by any means, but is still quite enjoyable. By heavily borrowing elements from other successful sci-fi hits and raising the ante from the normal small-scale plot to near global Armageddon, however, that fun and the film's overall impact is lessened somewhat.

    As written by series creator Chris Carter, the film efficiently introduces the TV show's back story to potential new viewers in a nicely constructed scene that's easy to follow for "newbies" and not tedious in any way for seasoned fans. Collectively getting everyone up to speed, the film starts with a highly effective trifecta of scenes.

    As directed by Rob Bowman (a veteran from the show with twenty-five episodes under his belt), these three individual sequences (two spooky cave scenes and a suspenseful one involving a bomb) not only set into motion the series' obligatory "something weird's going on here" paranormal activity, but they are all highly effective and suspenseful in their own right.

    After those exciting opening minutes, the audience needs a breather (and an explanation), so the film then follows the series' standard operating procedure where Mulder and Scully snoop and sneak around and discover yet another government conspiracy. At the same time, they must also deal with the skeptical FBI bureaucrats who threaten once again threaten to shut them down and/or split them apart. While necessary to introduce some "downtime" and added conflict, these scenes work but aren't particularly compelling.

    In my opinion (and diehard fans may disagree) two elements then arise that partially degrade the proceedings. The first deals with scope. What makes the TV show so effective is that, for the most part, the plots focus on the small scale. Sure, the events that Mulder and Scully investigate are fantastically wild and outrageous, but they usually occur in a small town or at the biggest, on a regional scale. With things being localized, the stories seem more "realistic" in their remoteness, as if they could be occurring right around the corner from where you live.

    By introducing a global concern, that effective small scale element is tossed out, essentially leaving the two FBI agents to save the planet. While I understand the need to up the ante for the big screen treatment, the global threat creates two problems. First, it gives the film a somewhat cheesy and run-of-the-mill feel so common to similarly based sci-fi flicks. Second, as much fun as they are on the small screen, Duchovny and Anderson don't exactly have that big screen, "save the day" personas exhibited by luminaries such as Arnold, Bruce or recently, Will Smith. Although the ending sequence somewhat rectifies this problem, it's rather difficult -- and consequently not as much fun -- to believe that these two have what it takes to save our lives.

    Beyond that, the second element that dampens the fun is Carter's liberal borrowing of material from two other classic, and highly successful sci-fi movies. Without giving away too much of the plot, let's just say that we've seen an awful lot of what occurs in the second half of the film in both "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and the movies from the "Alien" series.

    Although Carter's modified that material, I kept expecting at any moment to see Sigourney Weaver show up with a flamethrower or Francois Truffaut (the famous French film director who played the French specialist in Spielberg's "Close Encounters") and Richard Dreyfus to appear. For younger fans of the series who aren't familiar with those other superior movies, the lifted scenes will be fun and spooky, but for those of us who loved those films, you'll begin getting that deja vu feeling.

    Even so, for the most part the film is easy to watch. Both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson deliver good performances in the roles they've played for five years, and Duchovny gets yet another chance to poke fun at his often stoic expression. Fans of the series will be happy to see appearances by Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) and the Lone Gunmen (Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood and Tom Braidwood), but may be disappointed that collectively they have little time on screen.

    William B. Davis also arrives from the show as The Cigarette-Smoking Man (but we don't get to learn much new about him), while Academy Award winner Martin Landau ("Ed Wood") and Oscar nominee Armin Mueller-Stahl ("Shine") respectively deliver decent takes as a conspiracy theorist and yet another mysterious government agent.

    If one can get around the lifted material from those other sci-fi classics, this is a rather enjoyable and entertaining flick. With enough humor to offset the "serious" conspiracy elements and enough suspense and action to keep things moving, the film should easily please fans of the series. With a decent, but not huge following on TV, however, it's questionable just how far this film can go at the box office. Unless it can manage to pull in a great deal of new viewers, expect only a few decent weeks in the top ten before it disappears just like any other peculiar occurrence on the show. Fun, but certainly not original, we give "The X-Files" a 6.5 out of 10.

    Quite similar in nature to the TV show from which it's based, this film adds some profanity (4 "s" words and others), more gooey gore and blood, and more frightening and suspenseful scenes than can be shown on network TV. One of the leads drinks shots in a bar and appears drunk afterwards. We see quite a bit of standard, sci-fi goo and gore and a few characters are quite bloody after being attacked.

    A few scenes, at both the beginning and ending of the film might be too intense for very young kids, but those who are already fans of the series will probably like the added suspense. Several people are attacked and killed by the creatures that appear in the film, a few others are shot, and an explosion rips apart a building (and is very reminiscent of Oklahoma City in the aftermath shot). Since many kids will probably want to see this film, you may want to take a look through the material to make sure it's appropriate for them, or for you or anyone in your home.

    Of SPECIAL NOTE for those concerned with repetitive flashing on the screen, there's a brief scene where helicopter blades repeatedly swipe through a bright light causing some flashing to occur.

  • We see Mulder drinking shots in a bar and it's indicated that he's had quite a few and he appears somewhat drunk.
  • Others drink in the bar.
  • We see a bloody man after he's been attacked by a creature, from which we later see black "blood" that oozes from it after being wounded/killed and spreads across the cave floor.
  • Later, a boy steps in black blood that then gets under his skin (we see the droplets and streams moving under his skin like worms).
  • We see a man who's covered in some sort of gooey slime and then partially see some sort of creature inside the man through his translucent skin.
  • Scully performs an autopsy on a man also covered in gooey slime whose skin is rubbery to the touch. Later, we see the open chest cavity and the gross looking, partially digested insides of the man.
  • We briefly see another body with an open chest cavity.
  • A man has a large bloody cut on his face and his arm after being attacked.
  • Mulder's face is bloody after a bullet grazes him.
  • Blood splatters on Mulder as a man near him is executed.
  • We see many bodies in cold storage that are floating in some sort of liquid.
  • A gooey, organic tube of some sort is pulled out from deep inside a person's throat.
  • Obviously, all of the government agents involved in the coverup/conspiracy/plan have both.
  • It's mentioned that Kurtzweil is accused of selling naked pictures of kids (from his computer), but that's a lie.
  • Although occasionally more graphic and perhaps a bit more suspenseful, most of the scenes that occur are similar to what's seen on the TV show. Thus, if your kids are used to that, this won't be too different, although some scenes are quite intense.
  • In a scene set in prehistoric times, two cavemen enter a dark and mysterious cave. They encounter a creature that suddenly attacks one of them. The other stabs the creature, but it knocks him aside. Later, the second caveman wanders around looking for the creature, it attacks him, and he stabs it many times, causing black "blood" to ooze from it.
  • Later, a boy falls into a cave (in modern times) and steps in black blood that then gets under his skin (we see the droplets and streams moving under his skin like worms).
  • Mulder finds a bomb and then finds he's locked in the room with it. As its timer counts down, he waits to be freed from the room and get out of the building before it explodes.
  • We see a man who's covered in some sort of gooey slime and then partially see some sort of creature inside the man through his translucent skin.
  • Scully must hide in a morgue from some officials who nearly discover her.
  • A scientist goes down into a dark cave and discovers that a creature has already "hatched" from its host and is somewhere nearby. The creature then attacks the man and the other scientists seal him inside the cave.
  • Mulder and Scully suddenly find themselves in a swarm of bees and must escape. Moments later, they must do the same as they're pursued by helicopters through a cornfield.
  • Scully has a bad reaction to a bee sting and collapses on the floor.
  • A man shoots at Mulder, grazing his face but dropping him to the street.
  • The entire ending sequence where Mulder finds the government operations center, nearly falls to his death, must rescue someone, and get out before some creatures thaw and attack him, is quite suspenseful and goes on for several minutes.
  • Prehistoric knife: Used by a caveman to stab a creature.
  • Bombs: Used to blow up a building and later, a car.
  • Handguns/Rifles: Carried by guards.
  • Handguns: Used to wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Butt wipe" and "D*ck around."
  • Mulder makes a joke that maybe they should call Houston with a bomb threat because he's heard that "...it's free beer night at the Astrodome" (referring to everyone being evacuated during bomb threats).
  • Since the men's room is closed and the ladies room is occupied (and being somewhat drunk), Mulder goes out into an alley behind a bar and relieves himself. Dr. Kurtzweil then does the same.
  • Several scenes feature a creature suddenly jumping out and attacking a man.
  • Circulation fans suddenly come on in one scene.
  • A car suddenly blows up.
  • A character suddenly falls into a hole.
  • A heavy amount of scary and suspenseful music occurs throughout the film.
  • None.
  • At least 4 "s" words, 1 slang term for male genitals (the "d" word), 3 hells, 2 asses, 1 crap, 1 damn, and 4 uses of "Jesus," 2 each of "G-damn" and "My God," and 1 use each of "Oh my God," "God," "Lord," "Oh God" and "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • None.
  • The Cigarette-Smoking Man smokes nearly every time he's on screen.
  • None.
  • Whether such paranormal activities really occur and, if so, whether the government is involved in covering them up.
  • In a scene set in prehistoric times, two cavemen enter a dark and mysterious cave. They encounter a creature that suddenly attacks one of them. The other stabs the creature, but it knocks him aside. Later, the second caveman wanders around looking for the creature, it attacks him, and he stabs it many times, causing black "blood" to ooze from it.
  • A bomb destroys much of a large building (killing one man) and damages and knocks nearby cars across the street.
  • A creature attacks and wounds a man.
  • A man shoots at Mulder, grazing his face.
  • A man shoots another man in the head, killing him.
  • Although not seen, it's heavily implied that another man is killed.
  • An explosion rips apart a car and kills the person inside.

  • Reviewed June 15, 1998

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