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With the Earth finally at peace with itself humanity has pushed out into the stars, encountering the Dracs, a reptilian race. The two species lock horn in a war for resources, each blaming the other for starting the conflict. On a routine patrol Willis Davidge shoots down Jeriba 'Jerry' Shigan, in the process crashing his own ship. As the only two survivors on an inhospitable and uncharted planet, the two must find common ground if they are to survive…
Enemy Mine (1985. 1 hr, 48 min, 07 sec) is a science fiction film directed by Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot (1981), The Perfect Storm (2000)). The film was based on an original story by Barry Longyear, but in truth the idea of two antagonists being stranded and having to get over their animosity in order to survive an inhospitable environment had been filmed many times both in the cinema and on the small screen.
That said this remains very much an underrated science fiction film. Xenophobia is usually the main theme and so it is here. Neither Davidge nor Jerry initially trust Each other, in fact their first instinct is to kill one another. It is a fault of the film that the passage of time between initial meeting, the birth of an understanding, and the breakdown of the language barrier all happens with unlikely haste.
Most of the stories in this genre feel fulfilled when the two antagonists find common ground, but Enemy Mine has to push through that as it introduced a birth. Davidge and Jerry have a baby together, not in the common sense; Jerry is both sexes in one. The second part of the film explores the relationship between Davidge and the newly born Zammis. I won’t spoil how this all works out, but the child and its relationship to Davidge, a previously xenophobic Earth man, becomes the basis of a greater understanding between the two species.
What makes the film work so well is the growing friendship and understanding between Davidge (Dennis Quaid) and Jerry (Louis Gossett Jr.). The greater part of the film has only these two on the screen and the two actors build a real sense of a growing relationship.
There are a couple of extras on the disc with the Theatrical Trailer (1 min, 59 sec) and an Extended Scene (3 min, 07 sec) with Davidge waking up and wanting to get back to the planet. This is in German with English subtitles.
It has a good print with audio options for DTS-HD MA 5.0, Stereo PCM and one which only plays the music and effects, the disc also comes with English subtitles.
If the film has a weakness it’s in the plot, the special effects remain good as does the acting of the main cast, but the plot is full of convenient happenings, which only exist to forward the story. The ending reduces itself to Davidge riding into town on a rescue mission which may as well have been set in the wild west.
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