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Film / The X-Files: Fight the Future

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"They've been working on this for fifty years! While the rest of the world have been fighting gooks and commies, these men have been secretly negotiating a planned Armageddon!"
"They put the bomb in the building across the street because it did have federal offices. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had a provisional medical quarantine office there, which is where the bodies were found. But that's the thing... the thing you didn't know. The thing you'd never think to check. Those people were already dead."
Alvin Kurtzweil

The X-Files (unofficially at first, then later officially, known as The X-Files: Fight the Future after its tagline) is a 1998 Science Fiction film based on the popular TV series of the same name. Set between the fifth and sixth seasons of the series, it follows the adventures of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, a pair of FBI agents infamous among their peers for their investigation of cases that defy a rational or scientific explanation. After failing to stop what seems to be a terrorist bombing in Dallas, Texas, the agents are flung into another government conspiracy regarding the colonization of Earth by alien life forms. Mulder and Scully follow the usual labyrinth of paranormal clues and obtrusive bureaucracies, eventually reaching the Antarctic, where the biggest secret of all lies in store.

A second film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, came out in 2008, though it's a stand-alone story unconnected to this movie or the series' Myth Arc.

The X-Files: Fight the Future contains examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Armin Mueller-Stall, who appears in just two scenes.
  • Almost Kiss: Mulder and Scully almost kiss in front of Mulder's apartment. It is interrupted when Scully is stung by a bee. An agonising moment for shippers.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Mulder's declaration to Scully in his apartment hallway, that he owes her everything and she owes him nothing.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: People infected with the alien virus get black eyes.
  • Black Helicopter: Technically dark grey, a pair of them chases our protagonists through the cornfield. Mulder even calls them out as such.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: There's a subtle Sleeping Beauty/Snow White thing going on here — a woman in an enchanted sleep, locked in a glass coffin in a fortress guarded by monsters at the end of the world, awakened with mouth to mouth...
  • Government Conspiracy: Naturally.
  • Government-Exploited Crisis: The film utilizes a common conspiracy theory which claims something like this will happen. According to Dr. Kurtzweil, The Syndicate has planned to use FEMA to seize control of the U.S. government in the event of an alien takeover, which it would use to declare a national emergency and suspend constitutional law.
  • The Greys: It seems one step along the course of the alien virus turns infected victims into something that looks like the "tall, slender" variant... which then hatches a fully developed and extremely vicious Grey of the same type.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Having been established as one of the less evil members of The Conspiracy in the series proper, the Well-Manicured Man ends up going this way.
  • Held Gaze: Before the Almost Kiss.
  • Holding Hands: Scully and Mulder hold hands at the end of the movie after they assure each other that they will continue on their quest.
  • How Did We Get Back Home?: At the end of the film, Mulder and Scully are stuck in Antarctica with a SnowCat with no gas and on the verge of consciousness. The next scene shows them back in Washington D.C. without any explanation as to how they got there. When this is brought up three seasons later by an admirer, Mulder and Scully comically bicker with each other and do not give a straight answer.
  • Human Popsicle: Happens to Scully, in the alien spacecraft at the south pole.
  • Info Dump: You should probably watch the movie with a working knowledge of the show, but in case you're going in blind, an inebriated Mulder is happy to give us (and his bartender) an abridged history of the series in one of the film's most delightfully memorable scenes.
    Mulder: I'm the key figure in an ongoing government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. It's a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power, that reaches down into the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet. So, of course, no one believes me. I'm an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. They call me Spooky. Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it's gonna be the shit-storm of all time.
  • Informed Self-Diagnosis: It's simultaneously horrifying and hilarious listening to Scully describe her symptoms in precise medical terms as she goes into anaphylactic shock.
  • Insult Backfire: A staple of the series, it pops up a few times here as well.
    Mulder: That end-of-the-world, apocalyptic garbage you write?
    Kurtzweil: You know my work?
  • Intimate Healing: Mulder saves Scully, who was infected with an alien virus and transported by the government conspiracy to a secret space (which later turns out to be a spacecraft) on the south pole. She was naked and covered in some kind of alien goo, so Mulder got her dressed in some of his clothes. When they get out, Mulder is absolutely exhausted and drops his head into the snow. Scully, also exhausted to death, somehow manages to roll her body over him. She cradles him in her lap and arms and tries to cover him from the freezing cold.
  • Kiss of Life: Apparently Chris Carter's intent was that Mulder reviving Scully with CPR counted as a symbolic completion of the Almost Kiss earlier in the movie. Very few people saw it that way before the DVD commentary explained it.
  • Meaningful Echo: "If I quit now, they win."
  • Moment Killer: That damn bee!
  • Mysterious Antarctica: It's home to a massive underground spaceship full of extraterrestrial tech and live humans being used to gestate alien monsters.
  • Ominous Floating Spaceship: In the climax of the movie, it turns out that Scully was abducted on a spaceship that was located on the south pole. Mulder manages to save her. The spaceship then takes off, with lots of cracking and melting ice. Mulder watches the spaceship as it flies over them with a mix of awe, childlike wonder, and happiness that he is proven right. Scully's face is turned down towards the snow, too tired to move.
    Mulder: Scully, you gotta see this! Scully!
    Scully: (barely a whisper) I see it.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Well, outdrive it.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Mulder can't get his drink out of a vending machine, so he tries hitting and shaking it. Turns out the machine is unplugged — because there's a bomb hidden inside it.
  • Plot Hole: How did Mulder and Scully get back from Antarctica? This was pointed out by enough fans that it was later lampshaded and left deliberately unexplained in the series proper.
  • Product Placement: The agents' Oldsmobile Intrigue had an ad campaign built around its appearance here.
  • Race Against the Clock: Mulder has 96 hours to reach specific coordinates in Antarctica, find Scully and administer her with a vaccine against The Virus. Go, Mulder!
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: CGI is used to depict a swarm of bees because a real swarm of bees looked tame and unconvincing on camera.
  • "The Reason I Suck" Speech: Mulder epically recaps the show's premise and his self-reinforcing role as The Cassandra in The Conspiracy to an unsuspecting bartender when he goes Drowning My Sorrows. He tells her he's "an annoyance to [his] superiors, a joke to [his] peers" and bitterly recounts that he's thought of as "Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it's gonna be the shit-storm of all time." The bartender cuts him off for the night.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: The FBI wants to split Mulder and Scully up. They transfer Scully to the Salt Lake City field office, prompting her resignation from the FBI.
  • Redemption Equals Death: And the Well-Manicured Man knew what the punishment would be the moment he opened his mouth.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: When Scully is kidnapped in an attempt to manipulate Mulder, little does the series Big Bad Syndicate know that Mulder is getting her back and will take out anything and anyone that stands in his way.
  • Say My Name: Both Scully & Mulder yelling for each other in the cornfield.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: A memorable scene traps the agents in a secret bunker filled with millions of bees.
  • Shout-Out: See the sub-page listing Shout Outs from the whole franchise.
  • Take a Third Option: Will Mulder drive to the left or to the right? He will drive straight ahead through an unpaved road.
  • Take That!: There's a very unsubtle one aimed at Independence Day. Which also counts as Biting-the-Hand Humor, because both movies are from the same studio.
  • Targeted to Hurt the Hero: The Syndicate can't risk killing Mulder, because it will turn him into a martyr for conspiracy theorists and bring undue attention to what he was seeking. So instead, they kidnap Scully to manipulate him into backing off. Not surprisingly...this doesn't work.
  • Television Geography:
    • The Texas portions of the movie are not exactly accurate.
    • Downtown Dallas looks nothing at all like downtown Los Angeles, where the Dallas portions of the movie were filmed.
    • A suburban neighborhood within view of Dallas has a desert environment — but the Dallas sprawl spreads out so far that the city is too distant to see from any rural area, and North Texas, especially near Dallas, is nearly all grassland, not desert.
    • As Mulder and Scully drive away from Dallas following a mysterious train, the sun sets behind them. It makes a cool lighting effect, but if you drive east from Dallas you end up in Arkansas or Louisiana, not in West Texas or New Mexico as later scenes suggest.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Mulder gets shot in the head at point blank range. Apparently, it only grazed his skull, because he's off to Antarctica to carry his partner out of a massive alien spacecraft on foot as soon as he wakes up.
  • Title Drop: "One man alone cannot fight the future." Good thing he's got a partner, then.
  • The Infiltration: Mulder's intimidation and smugness tactic worked great on the wet-behind-the-ears recruit guarding the facility Mulder and Scully had to get into to investigate those dead, slimy bodies.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Instead of climbing up the ladder as soon as he realizes there's a creature down there with him, the government doctor decides to take the opportunity to test a vaccine on it. Big mistake.
  • The Triple: Mulder's joke when he asks what to buy for a drink.
    Scully: You're buying.
    Mulder: What? Coke, Pepsi, saline IV?
  • Turn in Your Badge: The FBI tries to make Mulder and Scully quit the Bureau, making them scapegoats for a situation where they were actually the heroes.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Mulder goes to buy something to drink. He puts money in the machine, pushes a button, then another one, then all of them. He whacks the machine and then jiggles it angrily. He notices that the machine is not plugged and finds out that there is a bomb inside of it. The very bomb the FBI is looking for in another building.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Krycek, a recurring villain in the series, was last seen (in the chronologically preceding episode, in fact) as the new personal minion of the Well-Manicured Man. The latter is a major player in this film and even has a right-hand-man on call, but Krycek is mysteriously absent. A little peculiar, since more or less every other character of similar import in the series has at least a cameo in the film.
  • Wire Dilemma: Set up when a bomb is discovered in a government building and an FBI agent remains behind to try to disarm it. However, we find out that he actually makes no attempt to disarm the bomb and intentionally lets it explode to preserve a government cover-up.
  • Wrong Bathroom Incident: It looks like it will be played straight but is averted. Mulder needs to go to the bathroom in the bar he has been spending time drinking his sorrows. The men's bathroom is out of order and Mulder considers going to the women's but it is occupied just as he enters — this makes him go outside in the back alley instead, where Dr. Kurtzweil was waiting for him.

"One man alone cannot fight the future."