Fox/1998/111m/WS 1.85

     The X-Files is totally confusing to earth-born intelligence. Maybe you need some extraterrestrial DNA in your system to glean the main elements of this story. Fans of the popular television show from which the movie is derived will even be confused.
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Not just another can of Coke.©Fox

    The gibberish all starts at 35,000 BC when a couple of cavemen follow footsteps in the snow to a dark cave and do violent battle with a powerful enemy of which we merely get fleeting glimpses. Guess what: the cavemen lose and we cut to the same spot sans the snow because it is Texas in the present. A kid has fallen into the very same cave in an action that suggests this will be the uncovering of a long dead force. It's not long before rescue firemen are replaced by a specialized government team on hand to investigate the incident. You recognize something para-normal is going on here because these guys are wearing white safe suits replete with immune head gear. Great reaction time I must say: The team arrives and sets up before I even know what's going on in the cave.
     The X-Files quickly shifts gears and changes from a monster movie with science fiction ambitions to a suspensor. The FBI is on hand to investigate a bomb threat on their Dallas offices. The team has evacuated the building and are in place sniffing out the plastics. We are then introduced to the stars of the X-Files working things out on another building across the street. It's agents Mulder and Scully acting on the Mulder's hunch that the bomb is really in the building across the street. I am still trying to figure out the logic on this one. From Europe to Washington to Antarctica the locations are depicted without style and little is done to alleviate the confusion. You are left hoping that at least the characters know what's happening. The audience certainly does not.
     David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully repeat their television series roles. They seem to be going through the motions. Duchovny does little to create any excitement around Mulder. He's merely a pawn in the writer's and director's hands. Anderson has some preposterous scenes to get through and handles them innocently enough. Martin Landau is left with the task of providing some paranoia as Kurtzweil, a man in the know about the extraterrestrial plotting. Kurtzweil spends most of his time in back alleys hiding from the forces of corruption.
     The DVD is a great disappointment. Most scenes suffer from turned up enhancement circuitry in the transfer stage. Annoying edge ringing is so bad that it actually creates enough excess information to soften the image. The light output seems less than optimal on X-Files as well, straining my system's ability to deliver outdoor scenes with the proper punch. Contrast range is limited and dark scenes strain to reveal enough detail. The color palette tends toward brown and adds tot he overall dullness of the DVD presentation. On this special edition DVD audio commentary is provided by writer/creator Chris Carter and director Rob Bowman. A "making of" documentary travels a typical path of interviews interspersed with scenes from the movie.

































































































Home Theater Reference System

Laser discs and DVDs are evaluated on the following current home theater equipment:   Stewart 6' x 11' Videomatte 1.33 Gain Screen, 2 Runco 980 Ultra Projectors stacked, Faroudja LD100 Line Doubler, Lexicon DC1 Surround Processor/Switcher, 2 Pioneeer Elite CLD-97 Laser Disc Players with AC-3 Modification, Sony 7000 DVD Player, Toshiba SD-3006 DVD Player, Total Media Systems Reference Home Theater Suite, LR Fronts, Center, LR Sides, LR Rears, 2 Velodyne F1500R Subwoofers, Sunfire Cinema Grand5 Channel Amp, Sunfire 2 Channel Amp, Lexicon RF Demodulator, Lexicon T-500 System Remote Control, Speaker Wire and Interconnects by Straight Wire. 


The American Widescreen Museum
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Tilting at Hollywood

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Robert Harris is part of the dynamic duo that restored Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, My Fair Lady and Vertigo. Harris rides a white horse into the battle to preserve our film legacy. Click on the image to read more.

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