Quantcast
subscriber help

artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

X-Files: Revelations (review)

I Believe

This is one of the cleverest uses of DVD I’ve ever seen.

Here’s the setup: You’ve got a new movie coming out, a big-screen adaptation of a hit TV show. Still, you’d like to extend your multiplex audience beyond fans of the show. Problem is, your show ran for nine years and 202 episodes — how do you bring newbies up to speed for your movie?
This is how you do it, and it’s, well, spooky-brilliant. Just like Agent Fox “Spooky” Mulder. Subtitled “Essential Guide to the X-Files Movies: 8 Critical Episodes Handpicked by the Series Creator,” these are Chris Carter’s choices for creating the baseline newbies need to appreciate the new film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which opens July 25.

This two-disc set — which includes a coupon for $8.50 toward admission to the new film — kinda ups the suspense for longtime devoted fans, too: it turns out to be a ton of fun to ponder, while we wait for the 25th, what it is about these particular episodes that make them relevant to the new movie. We’ve heard that I Want to Believe will be a standalone story — not part of the huge, overarching alien-invasion/government-conspiracy epic that has been likened to a Russian novel in its complexity — and to X-philes, “standalone” means “monster.” And, indeed, three of the greatest standalone monster stories are included here: “The Host,” with the terrifying human-fluke creature; “Post-Modern Prometheus,” the hilarious — and poignant — black-and-white sorta-spoof on Frankenstein and other classic monster movies; and “Bad Blood,” the he-said/she-said vampire tale in which we get very different perspectives on what happened when we see it all through both Mulder’s and Scully’s eyes (and featuring a very funny double performance by Luke Wilson as a small-town sheriff). These suggest to me that we’re in for a real treat: a movie that is as clever and funny as it is scary and icky.

A fourth episode here, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” is arguably the best installment of the show’s entire run, and maybe among the best 45 minutes of dramatic television ever. Here, Peter Boyle plays a clairvoyant who predicts Mulder’s death, and, well, not to spoil it for newcomers, this one is funny and sad at the same time.

The other episodes? Check out the pilot, which introduces us to Mulder and Scully; “Beyond the Sea,” featuring a chilling performance from Brad Dourif as a condemned inmate and Scully’s first thawing toward believing in the paranormal (plus the appearance of the recently deceased Don S. Davis as Scully’s father); “Memento Mori,” part of the Scully’s-cancer storyline and a good introduction to the Lone Gunmen, Mulder’s partners in conspiracy-theorizing; and “Milagro,” in which Mulder and Scully’s love for each other finally becomes obvious even to them.

Every episode is introduced by Carter and executive producer (and sometime writer) Frank Spotnitz. Don’t worry: they don’t spoil the movie for us by telling us why these episodes are key… except in the broadest sense. Which makes this set an unlikely but delightful example of the cliché that is actually true: this is perfect for fans and interested novices alike. (Also included in the set: a Wondercon panel featuring Duchovny, Anderson, Carter, and Spotnitz.)

[buy at Amazon]

(Technorati tags: , , )


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
posted in:
tv on dvd
explore:
  • PaulW

    What? No Humbug?

    If you want to know anything about the X-Files… Oooo Oooo I know Mistah Cartah! ;)

  • A fourth episode here, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” is arguably the best installment of the show’s entire run, and maybe among the best 45 minutes of dramatic television ever. Here, Peter Boyle plays a clairvoyant who predicts Mulder’s death, and, well, not to spoil it for newcomers, this one is funny and sad at the same time.

    That alone may be worth picking this up. It’s easily the most memorable X-file episode to me, and one of the very few that I still dwell on. (“Humbug” and the two episodes with Eugene Victor Tooms being the others)

  • Mimi

    Ooooh. This is such a cool idea. And helpful even for those of us who DID watch and love the show back in the day, but whose brains are media-weary and could use a refresher course. OR… I could go all box-set crazy and just watch them all over again… hmmm… what’s a Phile to do…

  • PaulW

    What’s a Phile to do? Finish off that 15-part fanfic he’d forgotten to finish back in 1997!!! *rushes off to complete Life While They Live It*

  • “Beyond the Sea” is the single greatest episode of any television show I’ve ever seen. It’s worth the price of the set all by itself, even without those other fantastic episodes.

    But no “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'”?

  • I bought it! Heck, it’s only 15 bucks on Amazon.

  • Awww, no “Small Potatoes?” That’s one of my favorites. “Bad Blood” was excellent though, too. Poor Luke Wilson with the big buck teeth in Mulder’s version.

  • MaryAnn

    But this isn’t a best-of. It’s a “what you need to know for the new movie.” Totally a different creature.

  • M

    As a Scullyist, I was wondering why the eight episodes seemed to focus so heavily on her character’s major developments. Thanks for pointing out that it is more even than I had thought. I’m rewatching these eight episodes (without buying the new set) to see if I can figure out why CC and FS picked them.

  • I liked Clyde Buckman’s final repose. It was one of my many favorites until the 9th-10th seasons. But the pilot episode was the defining moment for me as a fan of The X-Files. I don’t know what it is about that amazing chemistry between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. Its that amazing something they bring to the screen.

  • INotI

    Much as I wanted to like ‘Post-Modern Prometheus’, since it looks great, is a neat tweaking of old monster stories, the monster just wants to be loved blah-blah-blah tragedy-cakes, I was never able to feel bad for how he was treated, nor feel good for his redemption at the end, because the fact remains that the guy was a plain and simple rapist.

Pin It on Pinterest