Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Enemy Mine

directed by Wolfgang Peterson

Enemy Mine poster  
Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid) is a fighter pilot who crash lands on a hostile planet after a space battle with the alien Drac. Humans are united in a territorial war against this race of scaly, lizardlike humanoids.

Davidge hates the Drac, having seen his comrades fall to them. But since he's stranded on a strange planet all he has for company is one of them, Jeriba Shigan (Louis Gossett Jr.). The planet is barely habitable thanks to meteor showers and hungry alien creatures. Thrown together in adversity, the two are forced to co-operate in order to survive. Gradually they form an uneasy friendship, and as they wait for rescue they learn something of each other's languages and customs.

Enemy Mine is, in a fairly obvious way, really all about race relations. But it's also very entertaining, with a good balance of humour and action as well as the sort of touching moments you would expect in a movie that revolves around a central friendship. Although the plot is quite straightforward and some of the scavengers are a little stereotypical in their bad guy roles, it's intelligent and varied enough to make enjoyable viewing. Louis Gossett Jr. makes a convincing alien under all his prosthetics. He starts out intimidatingly strange and more or less incomprehensible, but gradually his differences become less pronounced and we see the Drac more as a person. The gurgling sound the Dracs make when they talk and sing is a particularly good effect for conveying this sense of otherness.

On the whole the special effects are typical for 1985, but they don't take precedence over the story and so don't detract from it.

This movie is both heartwarming and ever so slightly melodramatic. It's got a fairly short runtime, but fortunately this is just the right length to tell the story so that it's neither rushed nor drawn-out too long. Enemy Mine is a thoughtful film with strong main characters, and it's definitely worthwhile viewing.

Film Details

Decade: 1980s

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 12

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Review © Ros Jackson