The Bottom Line: It's true, reptiles and man can live together
Endlessly surfing the many movie channels one night, I happened on Enemy Mine, which I hadn't seen in quite some time, and decided to watch it again. Although I realize this received generally bad reviews in the press, I still find this movie heart warming and worth the watch.
The story centers around two main characters, Dennis Quaid, human, and Louis Gossett, Jr., Draconian, and their battle between their warring worlds. The Draconians, however, seem to be a more peaceful species than Earthlings, but they still must fight to defend themselves. They have the cajoles to think that Earthlings are ugly, but let's face it people, Draconians look like a reptile gone bad. To each their own, as they say.
During a heated dogfight between these two they crash land on an alien world and are thrown together to protect themselves not only from the adversaries on this planet, but also against the gatherers', a group of slave lords that capture Draconians and use them to work in the mines.
Naturally, being stuck together endlessly, they develop a comradery and eventually teach each other their respective languages as well as their respective customs. Dracoids have a long family value system and in the vein of Roots, the story of the family lineage is passed on through stories and readings from generation to generation. Added to this fact is the ability by Dracoids to self propagate, an ingenious concept as far as I am concerned.
Fearing his demise, Gossett forces Quaid to promise to raise his baby, which they have pre-named Jammies', in case he doesn't make it through the birthing process. After seeing the birthing process, I understand his fear. Actually, I don't think I'll give out any more of the story.
Sitting on the sidelines I found many things about this movie worthwhile. While the special effects were pretty lame, I considered the time frame the movie was made, and realize that since then we have become time warped out and special effects out, and really don't take the time to appreciate the earlier works of creatures, etc. I certainly wasn't offended by the effects in the movie and in fact that sand creature kind of made me jump a few times.
I thought the make-up for Gossett was astounding! Without the credits I would have never known it was him at all because even his voice was distorted. In my mind this just proves what a secure actor Gossett is, not relying on his known persona to pull you into the movie. Quaid gave a good performance and he was just as cute as ever in this release. Kind of that scruffed-up, boy-next-door look that wants you to make him chocolate chip cookies or chicken soup.
Of course the real story here was not about survival on this warring planet, or even about survival at all. The story was about laying aside your animosities and finding the true value of a person, or Drac, on their own merit. As in Brian's Song, these opposing forces found a common ground and developed a friendship through this area. It was about forgetting your pre-determined beliefs and looking inside the values of another lifestyle.
At times the movie was entirely more humorous than it was probably intended to be, but that didn't take one iota away from it in the least. In fact, if you cannot find humor in everyday life, then your life must be wearisome indeed. If you don't bring anything else away from this movie, you should recognize that it doesn't matter if you are white, black, purple, gay, straight, Irish, Italian, Catholic, Baptist or, yes, even a reptile. You are, underneath it all, an individual with hopes, dreams, fears, desires, feelings, and intelligence. It doesn't matter how others perceive you, but how you perceive yourself first. Inside every body' there is something that can enrich your life and show you vistas not previously encountered. That is what Enemy Mine gave to me.
Besides, I've always been prone to reptiles :)
Thanks, Susi :)
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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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. You can almost hear them break into an off-key version of "It's a Small World." German director Wolfgang Petersen, so brutally honest with his filmDas Boot, turns warm and cuddly on us with this intergalactic buddy movie. Much of the problem, though, is that the script sets us up for an intriguing encounter, then settles for a simple and sentimental resolution. Noteworthy set design and strong performances, especially by Gossett, push this beyond mere mediocrity. His performance is fascinating, as he must speak in an alien tongue, which he maintains with artistry and consistency.--Rochelle O'Gorman