Release Date(s)2008 (December 2, 2008)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: B
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reunite for this tale that mixes mystery with paranormal powers and a whiff of Frankenstein thrown in for good measure, all sparked by the disappearance of an FBI agent. While the film is engrossing enough, it seldom rises above the level of a good TV police procedural such as CSI at its more adventurous, however. Its strengths are the fine performances of Duchovny and Anderson who seemingly slip into their Mulder and Scully personas with ease and the atmospheric use of the winter setting filmed in the southern British Columbia interior. The old bite of the interaction between Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and Anderson (Dr. Dana Scully) is intermittently in evidence, but the relationships between their characters and others in the film (Billy Connolly as a psychic pedophile and former priest, and Adam Godly as an administrator at the hospital where Scully works) are actually more interesting.
I suspect X-Files fans will have mixed reactions to this effort. Those looking for the continuing conspiracy theory aspects of the X-Files will be disappointed while those who enjoyed the old stand-alone monster episodes will be more satisfied. The film has many dark sequences or ones in which objects are obscured by snow, but these difficult situations are mostly well handled by the 2.40:1 transfer. Much of the film has a desaturated look so don't expect vibrant colour. The many grays and muted colours look realistic, and though I don't have the standard DVD version to compare, I suspect the Blu-ray is substantially better in dealing with this sort of difficult material. The DTS Master audio provides a very satisfying sound experience with crisp dialogue and nice spatial surround, but obviously this is not the sort of film that demands an aggressive mix. The supplement highpoints are an audio commentary by director Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz (co-writer and co-producer with Carter) and a three-part documentary on the making of the production. Certainly worth a rental.
- Barrie Maxwell