Quaid, Louis Gossett Jr., Brion James, Richard Marcus, Lance Kerwin
1985, 108 Minutes, Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Description:Lizard-like Draconian Louis
Gossett Jr. and his mortal enemy, earthling Dennis Quaid, crash-land on a
hostile planet during a brutal space battle. Forced to rely on one another
for survival, they overcome their differences and become fast friends. —
Enemy Mine suffers from what can be called the Sleepless
in Seattle school of film-making: there must be a happy ending at all costs! Which is
rather strange since the film was directed by German import Wolfgang Petersen (also
director of The NeverEnding Story) who gave us Das Boot
which had the worst ending possible - and was much more all the memorable and powerful
because of it! But other possibly great sci-fi films also suffer from the Sleepless in
Seattle school: The Abyss and Strange
Days are perhaps the best examples in the genre. Because Enemy Mine
insists on its happy (and extremely unlikely!) ending, the film suffers because of it.
starts off as one of the more interesting sci-fi stories we have seen in quite a while. A
human and an alien star fighter pilot are stranded on a hostile planet. Both are from
opposing sides and when the film started we saw them (obviously) trying to blast each
other from the sky.
However, to survive the planet with its hostile creatures, bad weather
and regular meteor storms they find that they have to co-operate in order to survive.
Sure, the story is as old as they come: replace the setting with that of two fighter
pilots in WWII, let's say one American and the other Japanese, and you know the rest. But
at a point in Enemy Mine one doesn't know how the several plot issues it throws up
will be resolved.
Maybe that is the problem:
the script-writers didn't know either and instead relied on some very unlikely deux ex
machina plot mechanisms. And this is sad. The film boasts some excellent acting, a real
science fiction premise, interesting production designs (actually the special effects
doesn't go for the Star Wars hardware look, but rather a 1930s
pulp Buck Rogers look) and some excellent alien make-up.
into Asimov or Clarke or any of the golden age of sci-fi, then you should see Enemy
Mine, because despite its many faults it's still a far better sci-fi movie than many
of the so-called "sci-fi" movies (Independence Day
comes to mind) thrown at us by Hollywood in recent times.
Nonetheless, the film's biggest
problem is that, unlike many of the sci-fi luminaries mentioned here, it doesn't know what
to do with its material.
Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick:Lame
ending, good acting, gripping. More sci-fi than anything recently thrown in our direction,
Enemy Mine ultimately
suffers from an extremely unlikely ending. However, if your literary tastes includes
"hard" sci-fi such as Asimov and Clarke, then you'll be, er, hard-pressed to find a
better way to spend two hours of your life.