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FOX

MOVIE INFO

Creator:
Chris Carter
Cast:
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis
Writing Credits:
Various

Tagline:
The truth is out there.

Synopsis:
Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, and Executive Producer Frank Spotnitz have deemed these eight episodes as essential viewing for fans who want to fully experience all the thrills, mysteries and nuances of the upcoming theatrical movie. Exploring themes centering on alien abductions, psychic phenomenon and life forms not quite human, this exclusive collection also features individual introductions explaining why each episode was chosen.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
(Episodes 1-5)
Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9 (Episodes 6-8)
Audio:
English Stereo 2.0 (Episodes 1-2)
English Dolby Surround 2.0 (Episodes 3-8)
French Stereo 2.0
(Episodes 1-2)
French Dolby Surround 2.0 (Episodes 3-8)
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 367 min.
Price: $22.97
Release Date: 7/8/2008

Bonus:
• Series Introduction
• Episode Introductions
• Series and Wondercon Trailers
• Wondercon Panel


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The X-Files: Revelations (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 21, 2008)

With the big-screen The X-Files: I Want to Believe flick on the horizon, Fox decided it was time to give folks an X-Files refresher course. And I can’t blame them. It’s been 10 years since the prior theatrical effort, and the series itself went off the air in 2002, so X-Files has resided outside the public consciousness for quite some time.

To bring folks up to speed, we find an eight-episode compilation called The X-Files: Revelations. It gives us shows from seasons one through six. I’ll look at the in broadcast order, which is how they’re presented here.

DVD ONE:

Pilot (Season One): “A young FBI agent is assigned watchdog duty over a fellow agent, but finds herself drawn into his investigations of paranormal and unexplained phenomena.”

Though I never watched the series, I came into this package with some knowledge of its characters and situations. Because of that, “Pilot” doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It sets up the series pretty well, and it offers a good story in its own right. I expected it might simply be expository, but the tale in play proves quite interesting, and it sure leads it toward the future well. All that and Gillian Anderson in her underwear, too!

Beyond the Sea (Season One): “Scully believes that the psychic predictions of a death row inmate are the only hope in apprehending a vicious murderer.”

Like I mentioned, I come to this DVD set without more than basic knowledge of The X-Files. However, I am aware that Mulder is the “true believer” and Scully is the skeptic, so that makes the narrative of “Sea” more engaging. Here Scully buys into the paranormal side of things while Mulder becomes the doubter. That side of things creates an involving subtext, and the use of Scully’s dad adds drama to the proceedings. This turns into a solid show.

The Host (Season Two): “Mulder and Scully pursue the Flukeman – a murderous genetic mutation lurking in the New Jersey sewer system.”

One problem with the nature of this compilation: we jump around so much that some confusion ensues. Here we sense that Mulder ran into problems within the FBI since “Sea”, but we don’t know what happened. Those discrepancies don’t actively harm “Host”, but they can lead to a little head-scratching as we attempt to connect the dots.

As for “Host” itself, it normally sticks with a pretty standard monster story, though it creates some unusual trends at times. I like the concept of what to do with the Flukeman when they catch him; he’s not human, so do you put him on trial anyway? The show veers away from that side of things and goes back to the standard monster tale, but it remains a pretty tight program.

(By the way, if you wonder why Anderson looks so rotund here, it’s not because she’d been hitting craft services. She was pregnant at the time.)

Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season Three): “On the trail of a serial killer, the agents seek the help of a clairvoyant who predicts Mulder’s death.”

Guest Peter Boyle provides a nice turn as the lunch bucket psychic. The show exhibits more of a sense of humor than usual, and almost becomes campy with the celebrity psychic who briefly appears. Despite a few jokey misfires, “Repose” gives us a clever and engaging episode.

DVD TWO:

Memento Mori (Season Four): “Scully attempts to come to terms with her inoperable cancer, while Mulder and the Lone Gunmen break into a high-security research lab to find the cure that could save her life.”

After the moderately comedic tone of “Repose”, matters get much darker for “Mori”. Indeed, the episode occasionally borders on melodrama, and it’s a definite break from the more straightforward crime investigations in prior programs. That makes it interesting, though it loses some points because it doesn’t stand alone well; I think the show would play better as part of the full fourth season, while out of context, it becomes more confusing.

Post-Modern Prometheus (Season Five): “While investigating the appearance of a freakish creature in a rural town, the agents uncover a dangerous genetic experiment that has spun wildly out of control.”

Plenty of X-Files shows embrace comic book style material, but not as wholeheartedly as “Prometheus”. It takes a literal view of that source and also nods heavily in the direction of horror flicks like Freaks. This adds up to a mighty odd show – and one I’m not sure we’re supposed to view as “reality” within the series’ internal world – but it entertains quite well.

Bad Blood (Season Five): “While exploring the deaths of cattle killed by a series of blood extractions, the agents uncover a cult of vampires residing in a small Texas town.”

The well-worn Rashomon structure comes to The X-Files here. While we’ve seen eight jillion movies and TV episodes that use the same method, it still works, especially given the comedic bent of “Blood”. It’s a hoot to see how Scully and Mulder view each other, and we get a fun guest spot from Luke Wilson as well. It’s an engrossing and exciting episode, though who knew Mulder was such a terrible tipper; he gives the pizza guy $13 for a $12.98 order?

Milagro (Season Six): “A writer who lives next door to Mulder becomes the prime suspect in a series of killings.”

The set ends on a more somber and creepier note via “Milagro”. The creepiness doesn’t come via the usual eerie supernatural stuff, though; instead, the unnerving side comes from the dark nature of the neighbor; this is the guy women don’t want to meet on Match.com. The story unfolds in a slow but compelling manner that makes it consistently interesting.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus C-

The X-Files: Revelations appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 for its first five episodes; the final three use a 1.78:1 ratio on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Despite the varying ratios, the visuals remained consistent.

Except for the episode from Season 2, that is. For reasons unknown, it was softer, muddier and messier than the shows from the other seasons. The show showed more jaggies and tended to be a bit on the murky side.

Other episodes showed similar trends but not to the same degree. Sharpness was usually decent to good. Shots could become somewhat soft at times, but they generally seemed acceptably concise and accurate. Some blockiness did appear, though, and light edge enhancement could be seen. Shimmering and jagged edges showed moderate concerns, and I noticed prominent scan lines on occasion; these were most noticeable during cuts. Source flaws stayed minor. I witnessed a few specks, but nothing heavy.

Colors were never a strong suit for a dark series like The X-Files, so don’t expect them to excel. The hues tended to remain subdued, and a brownish tint dominated. The tones were satisfactory and that was about it. Blacks tended to be a little inky, while shadows could seem somewhat dense. At no point did the visuals stand out as particularly good, but I felt they were good enough for a “C+”.

The audio of The X-Files also broke into two choices. For “Pilot” and “Beyond the Sea”, we got Dolby Stereo 2.0 mixes, while the other six episodes went with Dolby Surround 2.0 tracks. The soundfields didn’t differ substantially across the series, though the first two shows seemed less lively. I wouldn’t call them “broad mono”, but they didn’t expand to the sides and rears in anything more than a basic manner.

The subsequent six shows opened up matters in a moderately more satisfying way. Music showed reasonable stereo delineation, and various effects added zest to the affair. Not many of these showed great definition, so don’t expect them to engross you in a tremendous way. Some speech bled to the sides as well. Nonetheless, the mixes brought out a good enough sense of place and contributed dimensionality to the shows.

Audio quality was fine as well. Speech seemed acceptably natural and concise, with only a little edginess on a few occasions. Music lacked great range but showed decent definition and heft. Effects were also clear and accurate. Nothing here excelled, but the audio was perfectly solid.

A few extras complete the package. A 36-second Series Introduction from writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz starts things. He gives us basic thoughts about the nature of the series and the choice of episodes in this set. It’s painless but not very useful.

We also find Episode Introductions for all eight programs. These come from Spotnitz and series creator/executive producer/writer Chris Carter. (Actor Gillian Anderson also makes a brief – and weird – appearance for “Milagro”.) The intros on DVD One go for a total of six minutes, six seconds, while those on DVD Two last eight minutes, five seconds. The comments offer general thoughts and facts about the different episodes. They’re mildly interesting at best, as they don’t shed a whole lot of light on anything.

Two trailers appear on DVD One. There’s a Series Trailer that simply packs in snippets of a lot of shows; I guess the folks at Fox hope it’ll encourage new fans to grab the season sets. The Wondercon Trailer advertises the 2008 theatrical movie. It differs from the promo seen in multiplexes – and works better than that clip.

Over on DVD Two, a Wondercon Panel lasts 26 minutes, 47 seconds. Intended to promote the 2008 movie, it includes comments from Carter, Spotnitz, Anderson, and actor David Duchovny. As they take audience questions, they discuss the new film and challenges related to returning to X-Files, elements of the series, and other aspects of their careers. The info about the movie remains on the general side, which makes sense since the panel took place during the flick’s shoot. The discussion throws out a mix of moderately interesting notes but nothing especially memorable.

With a new theatrical flick on the horizon, we get a good little X-Files refresher via Revelations. It collects eight consistently strong episodes and thoroughly entertains. The DVD offers erratic but perfectly acceptable picture and audio along with some minor supplements. I don’t know how much they’ll help new fans with the 2008 movie, but I think it’s a nice compilation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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