L  e  n  s  V  i  e  w  s

A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz


Introduction: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

The LensView Home Theatre:




The X Files [Blu-ray]

(aka "The X Files: Fight the Future")


(Rob Bowman, 1998)





Also available in the Blu-ray X-Files Movie 2-Pack (I Want to Believe / Fight the Future)    




Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Blu-ray: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



Region: A

Runtime: 122 min

Chapters: 18

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: December 2, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35.:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC @ 20 MBPS



English DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1; Spanish & French Dolby Digital 5.1



English SDH, Spanish, Korean, Cantonese & Mandarin



• Theatrical & Extended Cuts

• Audio Commentary by Rob Bowman, Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz and Daniel Sackheim

• Original 1999 Audio Commentary with Rob Bowman & Chris Carter

• Bonus-View with PIP 4-person panel commentary

• Blackwood: The Making of The X-Files: Fight the Future (19:30)

• Original Making-Of Featurette (26:53)

• Visual Effects (8:49)

• Alternate Bee Sting Scene (2:19)

• Scoring (5:03)

• Gag Reel (2:41)

• Still Galleries

• Enhanced for D-Box Motion Control



The Film:

It's difficult to watch the opening bombing of a building in Dallas without thinking of both the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing of 1995 and, of course, the WTC in 2001. The movie comes halfway between the two events, and watching the film now takes a while to get into a story about aliens when this same kind of terrorism domestically and abroad has such a human face to
it just now.

In any case, I suspect that despite the buzz (hmmm) about the movie before it opened, it is likely to be more interesting to fans of the genre than to fans of the series, into which the movie comes at roughly the halfway point (September, 1993-May 2002). And even though Scully is seriously threatening to break up the duo and retire to serious doctoring (which seems like an extension of the some aspect of the series), the movie is best thought of as an expanded standalone episode with cool special effects in widescreen and kickass sound – or, at least, killer bee, sound.

The Movie: 6
If you are familiar with TV series or the British TV Quatermass series or movies, then you have a good idea of the basic set-up here. Aliens came to Earth in our pre-history, and have been waiting in the ice for the right moment to assume their place, using humans a s a source of protein. In more recent times, a group of people have been secretly working on a vaccine to protect the species. Seems these guys don't feel that the people of our planet are ready to hear about all this so they keep their work secret to the point of murdering anyone who gets too close. Mulder & Scully enter through the side door, as usual, soon after one of these aliens is awakened accidentally.



Image: 7/8
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Variable bit rates from high teens to mid-20s. Image is clean and sharp, but overlaid with a fine fuzz that wouldn't be much of a nuisance on a display less than 60 inches. I found the cavernous, shadowy alien hideout under Antarctica to be difficult to make sense of from a visual point of view, even though I can fully understand that there wouldn't have been much point for the scientists to light it for unexpected visitors.














Audio & Music: 7/7
The first X-Files movie has lots of noise. With its explosions, helicoptering and large caliber automatic weapons fire, the Blu-ray certainly has opportunity to exercise the surrounds and bass elements. Yet, even with the help of a DTS HD-MA mix, it remains a touch compressed and flat, never quite opening up as it might. Bass effects seem just that instead of being a natural extension.


Operations: 4
I don't think I've encountered the likes of such murky operational instructions (except on the identically laid out 2008 X-Files Blu-ray movie.) I mean, I get the dramatic point, but I didn't much care for keeping everything a secret until you get there, and even then it's hard to read.




Extras: 6
In addition to the Making-of documentary and Carter/Bowman commentary from the DVD, Fox has included a new second commentary for the Blu-ray (adding co-writer Frank Spotnitz and co-producer Daniel Sackheim to Carter & Bowman) that can also be watched in BonusView Picture-in-Picture mode. The PIP amounts to little more than talking heads, but it does help to sort out who's speaking. While we would expect a certain amount of overlap, the big difference is that the earlier commentary featured the series' creator and hands-on exec producer, Chris Carter, talking about his philosophy about the series and how the movie fit in with the series itself. The new material is more nuts and bolts about production and has the perspective of having the second, and
possibly last, feature film from these filmmakers.



Bottom line: 6
I watched this and this year's X-Files movies back to back on Blu-ray and admit to a slight preference for the first film – this despite that Fight the Future just about falls apart in the finale in Antarctica at so many levels. As for the image, the older movie is easier on the eyes because of its locales and lighting, and, despite my carping about the image earlier, it is much better than merely acceptable. If you have an early non-anamorphic DVD rendering, the time has come to move up.

Leonard Norwitz
December 9th, 2008





Also available in the Blu-ray X-Files Movie 2-Pack (I Want to Believe / Fight the Future)    






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