Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Ghoul Versus X-Files: Fight The Future (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Mulder goes to meet with Kurtzweil, catching him up on the bees and the corn. We learn Kurtzweil had no idea about any of this, and Mulder oddly gets mad at him for “using him” to get information. Um, didn't Kurtzweil help you out a ton Mulder? Mulder's reaction here just makes no sense. Speaking of no sense, how did Kurtzweil know all the stuff he did? He's not a member of the Syndicate but is involved with them enough to know some very specific stuff (i.e. the bodies already being dead) that the average person couldn't have. A little back story here would have been nice.

Later, Scully goes to Mulder's apartment where he tells him she's being transferred to Utah so she's decided to resign. Mulder gives a very heartfelt confession to her about how much he needs her in his life, which would so make my eyes watery if my tear ducts hadn't rotten away during my untimely death. They hug. Scully kisses Mulder's forehead, and he takes her face in his hands. The moment millions of fans have been rabidly awaiting nears. They draw closer, their lips millimeters away from touching... when suddenly that MOTHERFUCKING BEE crawls out from Scully's collar and stings her. OH MY GOD, I can't believe this didn't cause riots in theaters. This is the most cruel and insidious fake-out perpetuated on loyal fans since the Phantom Menace.

Scully almost immediately starts having an extreme reaction to the sting, collapsing and unable to move. Mulder calls 911, and the paramedics arrive to load her into the ambulance. Mulder goes to the driver to ask her what hospital they're taking her too, when suddenly he recognizes him as the man he passed on his way to the vending machine room in Dallas. Okay, he WAS evil.

The man pulls out a gun and shoots Mulder through the driver side window. Damn! Because the glass partially alters the path of the bullet, Mulder doesn't get his brains blown out. The ambulance takes off, leaving him bleeding on the ground as he real ambulance arrives. DAMN, Mulder is a lucky S.O.B!

GREAT scene but I do have some questions:

1. How come Scully didn't die immediately from the bee sting? On the show it's been established getting stung by the bees is insta-death, because they're genetically altered with a lethal sting.

2. Ok, I get the Syndicate has Mulder's line tapped so when they heard he called 911 they took this as their chance to grab Scully. How were they able to get an ambulance so fast? Did they just happen to have one ready next door “just in case”?

3. Or was this whole thing part of their plan? When Kurtzweil told Mulder men like the Syndicate don't make mistakes in regards to him escaping the helicopters, the direction made sure weight was added to that line. SO are we meant to think the Syndicate planned ALL of this? That the Syndicate knew Mulder and Scully would find the bee domes, a bee would stowaway in Scully's jacket all the way from Texas, and not sting her until she was in Washington?

CSM watches Scully, asleep in one of those cryo chambers that we saw earlier, get loaded onto a plane. Mulder awakes later in the hospital, with his friends the Lone Gunmen (conspiracy theory experts that help him crack cases) standing over him. They are pure awesomesauce. Skinner, Mulder's supervisor at the FBI, arrives just as Mulder is trying to leave. Skinner tells him the Syndicate will know the second Mulder tries to leave, as we see a not-at-all suspicious man outside his room. Mulder switches places with one of the Gunmen, the spy not noticing when they leave as they look similar from behind. We cut to Mulder running to meet Kurtzweil, taking off the Gunman's jacket and throwing it away. Jerkstore, that probably cost a lot of money!

Kurtzweil nervously walks around an alley waiting for Mulder. He opens a door to find WMM waiting for him. Uh oh redux. Mulder arrives a bit later to see WMM ominously closing the trunk of his limo, Kurtzweil nowhere to be seen. Mulder wants to know where Scully is, WMM offering him her location and a way to save her as long as he gets in the car with him. He also has candy and comic books.

And wow do we get the infodump to end all infodumps. I'm just going to bullet point this bad boy:

1. This vaccine is so weak it must be administered to Scully in 96 hours or she'll be lost.

2. The aliens were the original inhabitants of this planet millions of years ago. Those that didn't leave have been living underground in the form of an evolved virus waiting to be reconstituted by the aliens.

3. The Syndicate originally thought the aliens would use this virus to turn us into a slave race as they colonized the planet.

4. The Syndicate has been working with the aliens, creating the bees that'll ultimately spread the virus, so they could have access to the virus to hopefully discover a cure.

5. Bill Mulder did NOT agree with cooperation, he wanted to fight. However, he did allow the Syndicate to take his daughter so they could create a human-alien clone of her because they're the only people capable of surviving the upcoming viral holocaust because they're immune.

6. Bill wanted Mulder to uncover the truth about the Syndicate and stop them, that he would FIGHT THE FUTURE. Whoo hoo! Houston, we have title drop. Repeat, we have title drop!

So... yeah.

1. Why did the aliens leave Earth in the first place? Why are they coming back?

2. How did the Syndicate and the aliens end up working together? How do they communicate? How did they cook up this plan? Why would the aliens need their help to spread their virus through such a complex plan when we've seen one infected person can easily infect others by touch? We've seen in countless zombie movies all it takes is one zombie to cause an outbreak that gets millions in a very short time span.

3. Mulder's sister, Samantha... oof. I was an OBSESSED X-Files fan. In the mid 90s when everyone was using this newfangled Internet thing to look up porn, I was using it to scour every single X-Files fan site in existence. I researched everything, read all the fan theories, you name it I was up on it. BUT Samantha was the one thing in the crazy show I could never wrap my head around. I'm pretty sure the writers felt the same, as every time we saw her she was a completely different character with a different back story. I guess they were all clones, but damn if the show ever made a lick of sense in this aspect.

Here, we learn her father didn't agree with the Syndicate's cooperation with the aliens but still gave them his daughter to clone? To say nothing that it wouldn't be his daughter, just a clone of her which could just look like her and nothing else. And that he wanted his son to battle the Syndicate? Consistency much there Bill? I could literally fill an entire page about this, so I'm just going to stop here. Where were we? Trying to sort through the WMM's revelations derailed my brain. Oh right, I remember now.

WMM tells Mulder he was ordered to kill him and pulls out a pistol, but shoots his limo driver instead. Mulder and WMM exit the car, WMM warning him to trust no one. He then gets back in the limo which promptly blows up. Okay? I guess the Syndicate had the limo tapped so they knew he told Mulder everything and killed him in retaliation with a remote control bomb, which makes one wonder why they didn't do it the second he started running his mouth.

We cut to 48 hours later, as Mulder drives an arctic version of an ATV towards coordinates WMM gave him to find Scully. He find a small base set up there, seeing CSM among the people milling around. Mulder parks his vehicle and starts making his way towards the base.  On his way, he falls through the ground and finds himself in an underground cavern. He follows it down a tunnel, and finds himself in a giant metallic complex. Damn, that was lucky Mulder just happened to end up where he needed to go! There are pods everywhere, each one containing a human with an alien visible in their body and a strange organic-looking tube in their mouth. Mulder soon finds the cryo chamber Scully was transported in, as we see her clothes and her cross inside.

Which brings us back to that scene from way earlier where CSM sees the alien in the firefighter's body. It was made very clear this was the first time it'd ever happened and CSM was surprised by it. Also referenced in the Syndicate scene where they tell WMM the virus is causing aliens to grow in people. This scene contradicts those JUST A BIT.

This place is FULL of humans infected with gestating aliens, their pods iced over so they're been here awhile. On top of that, one of the cavemen from the beginning of the movie is also frozen in here so some have been here thousands of years. This establishes aliens forming in humans is NOT a new idea, certainly not one to CSM as this is where he brought Scully! Did he just forget the huge frozen alien breeding ground and bed & breakfast that the Syndicate has a base on top of? Does nonstop chain smoking cause amnesia now? This is a ROUGH script.

Mulder despairs, having absolutely no idea how he's going to find Scully in this endless complex before it's too late. Oh wait, he finds her pod a few steps away. DAYMN, Mulder is... yeah I think you get it by now. He smashes open the pod, injecting her with the vaccine. She starts moving as the tube in her mouth begins to shrivel away. Above in the base, alarms start going off as the station starts shaking. A tech tells CSM there's a contaminant in the system.

In one of the most uncomfortable scenes ever, Mulder pulls the tube out of her mouth. And pulls. And pulls. And pulls. And then pulls some more. This tube must have been fed all the way to her damn toes. Must have been the alien equivalent of the “endless scarf” magic trick. Who has mass genocide can't have a few laughs?  Everyone on the base begins the evacuate. One of the men asks CSM what about Mulder, and CSM replies “he won't make it”. Yeah, he's only the hero of the movie and has escaped five years of X-Files related bullshit, his time is BOUND to be up now!

Mulder and Scully go the same way that Mulder came in. There's a ticking clock as the whole place starts melting due to the vaccine, so the aliens are fast hatching from their hosts. But they make it out before they become alien chow or go over budget, because this is frantically paced compared to everything else in the movie. They make it to the surface, running as fast as they can because the ground is starting to break due to a giant spaceship rising out of it. Why yes, Prometheus is the first thing I thought of as well. I seriously doubt Ridley Scott watched the X-Files, but I'd bet some good money Damon Lindelof sure as hell did.

The ship rises into the sky and flies away. It looks like Scully passed out so she missed it, but she reveals to Mulder she DID see it. WOW! Scully FINALLY saw proof of extraterrestrials! That's one of the biggest turning points of the entire saga! Sure is a good thing the TV show would completely ignore this! The camera pulls away as they hold each other. Days later, we return to Washington where Scully is going through another hearing. The director says there is now direct evidence linking an agent to the Dallas bombing (psst, what evidence?), but everything else in Scully's report defies belief. She needs more evidence, so Scully hands her a vial with the EVIL bee in it.

“I don't believe the FBI currently has an investigative unit qualified to pursue the evidence in hand.” God, Scully rules! As this goes on, we get the patented Syndicate Cover-Up Montage consisting of Mr. I'm Not Evil stealing the bone samples, tankers painted with “Nature's Best Corn Oil”, and the Dallas cornfield getting burnt down.  Scully joins Mulder outside. He's losing his faith as they're covering up everything and agrees she is right to quit. Now it's her turn to talk him into staying, concluding with “If I quit now, they win”. He smiles at her, knowing she is right. He can't give up.

Cue to Tunisia where we find another cornfield, this one about the size of a small state. We can see a good dozen white domes dotting the landscape of it. CSM needs with Strughold, handing him a telegraph. Strughold reads it and drops it, walking away. The camera reveals it says the X-Files have been reopened.

Cue the credits.

This movie is a perfect example of “be careful what you wish for”. For years fans wanted answers about all the conspiracy stuff on the show, and when we got them we were left even more confused than before. Chris Carter has admitted in interviews they had nothing on the show planned out in advance, that they just made stuff up as they went along, a lot of it based off what looked stylistic rather than what made sense.

If you're a fan, this movie is a mess. If you're a non-fan, this movie is about as easy to understand as David Lynch's Inland Empire. It's gorgeously edited so you don't really have time to think about anything as it flows perfectly from scene to scene. I watched it three times for this review and never once did it feel like it was dragging in the slightest.

Massive story issues aside, this is a great movie that I can recommend to anyone (and not just because I'm a biased fan). The acting is just spectacular, everyone brought their A-game for this one. Duchovny and Anderson of course steal the show, they just KILL every scene they're in. It looks fantastic, for a movie from 1998 not a single special effect looks that dated. Pure enjoyment all around, just try not to ask too many questions.

They couldn't let things rest in peace though, they made a sequel. Yay.