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The X-Files Reviews

Before there were scary basements and flashlights with which to poke around them, foolhardy cavemen were exploring spooky caverns with torches, and no good came of it. Caveat X-philes: That's probably the biggest revelation in the X-Files feature, which is caught in the irreconcilable bind of needing to show new and spectacular things without demystifying the shadow conspiracy to abet and cover up alien colonization of Earth that lurks perpetually in the show's background. For the benefit of those who've been in isolation wards for the last five years, agents Fox "Spooky" Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are the FBI's resident ghostbusters, their provenance a set of cases that defy rational explanation known collectively as the X-Files. Mulder is driven by the childhood memory of having seen his sister abducted by aliens, while skeptical Scully, initially assigned to debunking Mulder's work, has become his partner in crime. The movie opens with some Texas tykes discovering the fossilized remains of some nosy Neanderthals, and one youngster has a close encounter of the nasty kind with the oilien, an alien entity in the form of a viscous fluid. A massive cover-up soon leads Mulder and Scully from Blackwood, TX, to the frozen Antarctic in search of the truth. Series background is an asset; without it the story and character relationships seem a bit thin. Directed by X-Files veteran Rob Bowman and coscripted by series creator Chris Carter, the X-Files feature is essentially a supersize episode that ignores a slew of fifth-season developments and adds yet another monster to the mix, one that owes a striking debt to ALIEN. Some fans will be pleased, others annoyed and endless online discussion will be generated, while X virgins will most likely wonder what all the fuss is about.