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Review: Enemy Mine

enemy mine dennis quaid

Why I Heart Enemy Mine, And You Should Too

Enemy Mine is a product of my childhood. When it got brought to my attention recently that quite a few people wouldn’t have seen it, I was shocked. Disappointed even. Sick to the stomach. Confused.

In a time when spoof movies regularly top $100 Million, it’s the little guys that suffer. And I find myself continually going back to movies of my past.

Enemy Mine cropped up a few years ago – almost like a cycle – when I got it for my Dad on DVD. He had introduced me, and is forever guilty of getting me into films, and leading me to this fine site.

In 1985, there wasn’t a lot to do, if we’re honest. Phones were the size of cars, so talking was a hardship. Cars were the size of tanks, so getting from A-B was tough, too.

So, after a ridiculous gap from cinema to rental, we got hold of Enemy Mine.

And maybe Big Trouble In Little China aside, it sums up my childhood better than any other. (In movie going terms, you understand. I didn’t fight ancient forces in back alleys).

It’s a sci-fi, and it’s only fair you should know that up front. I know that’s a genre that probably polarises more than any other. If you hate sci-fi, and don’t like the idea of a human pilot crash landing on an alien planet, forget it. If you think you could stomach that premise based on said pilot and a lone alien befriending, then we could be talking.

Now, I’m sure this wasn’t the first time this plot device had been used. But was the pilot Dennis Quaid? No. And he holds this film together. This is a survival story, at it’s heart. We need Quaids character (Davidge), to be the centre of the story. To act human, in an inhumane environment.

Did it have an unrecognisable Louis Gosset Jr as an alien? Hell no! And seriously, the make up here is still phenomenal. You just would not recognise him. They could have got Van Damme in that Predator suit (Plus stilts) after all, and the make ups not as good as this.

The way the two characters learn to work together to survive is brilliant. That’s a universal theme, too, so again the film is opening it’s doors to a potential audience.

A few people would say the alien learning English is a push too far. I’d say, you’re watching a film about spaceships and aliens. Grow up. How, for the sake of the film, can he not?

There’s an IMDB thread about remaking this as “Brokeback In Space”. Do you know what? I’d take any kind of remake of this film. It’s one of those that remaking would just highlight the original.

You also have Wolfgang Peterson. Chosing to do this after his second stint with Das Boot?

Enemy Mine is unique.

I can’t promise you Star Wars space battles (maybe a little one), but Enemy Mine is about much more than that. Whisper it, but half way through, you might actually bond with the characters. Peterson is banking on that, and come the climax there’s not a dry eye in the house.

(I lose count of the amount of times this film ruined me, as a child).

Peterson had me for life after this, (And the Neverending Story! Lifetime. Achievement. Oscar.). Quaid, too. Don’t get me started on how much I love Inner Space. We’ll be here all night.

Strangely, I never followed Louis Gosset’s career. I put that down to the quality of the makeup, if I’m honest. I don’t associate it with him. He’s fantastic, as is the acting overall.

I implore you to see this film. More people need too. As much as I enjoyed Pandorum, this is the sequel Hollywood should be making.

Failing that, throw everyone involved in Expendables Two: Even More Expendabler, and I’m sold.

* I just checked IMDB to see Peterson did Poseidon. I know what you’re thinking. I said I’d follow him for life now. Even after that, you ask? Those that have seen it know I don’t need to answer.


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