Enemy Mine

Tagged: Film

Film (1985). Kings Road Entertainment/Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Written by Edward Khmara, based on Enemy Mine (September 1979 Asimov's; 1989 chap dos) by Barry B Longyear. Cast includes Louis Gossett Jr and Dennis Quaid. 108 minutes, cut to 93 minutes. Colour.

During a space battle between humans and the reptilian (and hermaphroditic) Dracs, two pilots, one from each species, crashland on an inimical planet. The human (Quaid) and the Drac (Gossett) first try to kill one another, but soon reach an uneasy rapprochement, which gradually warms into mutual respect and affection. When the Drac dies giving birth, the man raises the infant. It is later captured by illegal slaver/miners, its adoptive father being left for dead. However, he returns with assistance, the miners are defeated, and the child is saved. This uneven film works quite well on the intimate level, with excellent small moments of culture clash and mutual education; Gosset's performance is memorably good. On the larger scale, the effects creating the planetary surface and, at the end, the Drac planet are striking. But the film's earnest liberalism is both preachy and slickly sentimental, with too many scenes designed to evoke tearful, kneejerk responses; and overall it seems more selfconscious than the much earlier Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), the Crusoe-Friday parts of which its plot somewhat resembles. The novelization is Enemy Mine (1985) by Barry B Longyear and David Gerrold. [PN]

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