The X-Files Series
The X-Files (August 1/08)
There's little doubt that The X-Files has been designed to appeal primarily to hardcore fans of the now-defunct TV series, although - to the credit of screenwriter Chris Carter - the film has been opened up in such a way as even the most clueless neophyte should be able to follow along comfortably. The expansive storyline follows FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they attempt to uncover a massive conspiracy involving an impending alien invasion, with their efforts bringing them into contact with a selection of fresh faces (Martin Landau's Alvin Kurtzweil, Blythe Danner's Jana Cassidy) and series regulars (William B. Davis' Cigarette Smoking Man, Mitch Pileggi's Walter Skinner). Director Rob Bowman certainly does an effective job of ensuring that The X-Files never feels like just another episode of the show, as the filmmaker - armed with Carter's almost epic script - has infused the proceedings with a decidedly cinematic sensibility that's inherent in even the most innocuous of sequences. It's consequently worth noting that the film's action set-pieces generally come off surprisingly well, though the special-effects heavy climax isn't quite as thrilling as one might've hoped. Still, the compelling-as-ever chemistry between Mulder and Scully ultimately proves instrumental in smoothing over the movie's sporadic flaws - as it's in their one-on-one interludes that The X-Files easily lives up to the standard set by its small-screen predecessor's superb early seasons.