Plot: What’s it about?
As a war rages between the people of Earth and the inhabitants of Dracon, the presence of just one warrior means little, but it shall soon mean a lot, at least in one case. A human fighter pilot, Willis (Dennis Quaid) has taken a lot of damage and in order to survive, he must crash land on an isolated planet. The terrain is rugged and there’s not much to live on, but Willis will soon discover that he is not alone here. Another soldier, this one a Drac warrior (Louis Gossett, Jr.) and when the two cross paths, who knows what will happen. At first, the two try to murder each other and can only see each other as enemies, but soon their surroundings force them to settle their tempers. The two then begin to work together to an extent, but just to survive and little else, still having some reservations about one another. But as time passes and the two spent more time together, they forge a friendship and before long, that bond is stronger than any either man has had before. But even with such a solid bond, can these two survive the elements and return to their normal lives?
This is not slam bang sci/fi by any means, but Enemy Mine is a very cool movie and it uses the more subtle approach to the genre, which is very welcome. I think too many films in the sci/fi realm aim for a more action based format, which makes a break in the tradition even more terrific to watch. I don’t think Enemy Mine is a great film by any means, but it takes a fantastic premise and executes it well, with a sci/fi twist and some solid special effects & excellent makeup work. The premise of two stranded enemies is not a new one, as the basics here are taken from Hell In The Pacific, another fine motion picture. But this is by no means a retread, as Enemy Mine contains some new twists and subplots, which keep the material fresh and interesting. Louis Gossett, Jr. and Dennis Quaid shoulder the effort in front of the camera, while Wolfgang Petersen’s solid direction keeps it all together. I think there’s enough action and suspense to keep most viewers pleased, but just don’t expect a non stop laser battle, or something like that. If you’re a fan of science fiction and need a good movie to watch, then I recommend Enemy Mine, as it offers a nice alternative to the norm.
As I mentioned above, this picture was directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who has become a well known director since this film. Although he had just directed Das Boot and a plethora of German projects prior to this one, I think this film (along with Das Boot) is what started his career here in the United States. I know Petersen is best known for his work in action films and to an extent, Enemy Mine falls into that realm, but he also has a nice touch with characters. Sure, you don’t expect intense depth and such, but given the genres he works within, I think Petersen offers some solid turns behind the camera. When he has the talent in front of the camera, he can pull some terrific performances out of them, that is for sure. Other films directed by Petersen include Air Force One, The NeverEnding Story, Outbreak, In The Line Of Fire, Shattered, and The Perfect Storm. The cast here includes Dennis Quaid (The Parent Trap, Traffic), Louis Gossett, Jr. (Iron Eagle, Diggstown), Carolyn McCormick (A Simple Twist of Fate), Richard Marcus (Cannibal Campout, Tremors), and Brion James (Blade Runner, Cherry 2000).
Video: How does it look?
Enemy Mine is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I knew Fox would supply a nice transfer here, but I was stunned by how crisp and clean this image was. The source print shows minimal wear signs and debris, which means the rest of the visual elements can shine and let me tell you, shine is just what they do here. The colors stream across the screen in vivid hues, flesh tones seem natural and warm, and contrast is stark, but very well defined throughout. I’ve never seen Enemy Mine look so rich and detailed, I picked up a lot of stuff I had missed in previous viewings, to be sure.
Audio: How does it sound?
I wasn’t all that impressed with the audio here, but the included 4.0 surround track does handle the basics, so not all is lost. The main thing I noticed was the lack of surround use, but since the speakers open up when they need to, I won’t complain much. I don’t think the surround presence will let anyone down much, but don’t expect an explosive experience out of this track. The musical score is well presented also, but again, it isn’t as immersive as we’ve come to expect. No issues from the dialogue though, which comes across in rich, crisp form and with minimal errors I could detect. This is an above average mix, at least to my ears, but it simply lacks the dynamic presence I would have liked. The disc also contains additional tracks in English (2.0 surround) and French (stereo), as well as subtitles in Spanish and English.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a few still photos, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.