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Enemy Mine is possibly the most overlooked science fiction film ever

Updated on May 30, 2012

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Enemy Mine
Enemy Mine

Two enemies get stranded on an inhospitable planet and have to work together just to survive.


A few years back, I had a friend in my apartment complex who liked to borrow my DVDs. One day, she came in and borrowed my DVD of Enemy Mine. I thought this was great because I've loved the movie ever since I was a little kid. I'm not sure which I saw first, Enemy Mine or InnerSpace, but I credit those two movies for my absolute love of Dennis Quaid.

Less than an hour later, however, my friend came back and returned the DVD. Now, there's absolutely no way she'd watched it that fast, so I just stared at her blankly when she laughed and said "You didn't tell me the special effects were so ridiculous."

I honestly had nothing to say to that.

Seriously? You're returning the DVD because the special effects from a 1985 movie don't stand up to your rigorous standards? What did you expect? A telepathic connection to your brain that allows the movie to constantly update the look of its effects so it doesn't seem dated?

I hate to say it but George Lucas has ruined Sci-Fi. His original Star Wars trilogy is great, but he keeps going back in and adding more bells and whistles and refining the effects. What ever happened to letting a good story stand on its own?

Now, I'll admit that the effects of Enemy Mine don't quite compare to the CG gloss of today. But special effects account for less than 10% of the movie. The effects only serve to frame the story being told, which is essentially "Robinson Crusoe in Space". And that story never fails to get to me every time I watch it.

The story mainly follows a human space jockey named Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid) who ends up getting stranded on a savage planet after a dogfight with a member of an enemy race, the Dracs. The two are stranded together and must learn to overcome their hatred and prejudices to work together just to survive.

The story is amazing and truly pulls at your heart, but you have to be willing to actually care about the story and characters. Maybe that's the problem. Today's audience wants a slick look. The effects are serviceable by today's standards, but apparently they weren't enough for this young lady.

Enemy Mine easily sits among the best films ever on my list. Maybe part of that comes from the fact that I loved it at such a young age. But even so, the story holds up and this one definitely deserves a better shot than my friend gave it.

But what do you think?

3.8 out of 5 stars from 5 ratings of Enemy Mine

I give this one a 10 / 10.

Enemy Mine is rated PG-13 for a bit of violence and some graphic content.


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    • David Trujillo profile image

      David Trujillo Uribe 2 years ago from Medellin, Colombia

      Ahhh, this movie touched me in my childhood. Slow, but the relation between, "we kill the unkown not knowing that we are alike" and racial relationships is amazing in this film.

    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 5 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      I think that, in many ways, 2010 is a better movie in that it is more easily understood, more approachable and less off-putting. But it doesn't mean nearly as much to people who haven't seen 2001. 2001 is a more influential film, but 2010 is easier for the uninitiated to grasp and enjoy.

      I haven't yet seen Dark Star, but I definitely want to see it. I've heard some interesting things about it.

    • n3xus6 profile image

      n3xus6 5 years ago

      2001...I've only watched it a few times, and it is a little slow (maybe this is why I've only re-watched it a few times), but it is a rewarding film. Do you have an opinion on the sequel...and hey, ever seen Carpenter's "Dark Star"? A definite play on 2001.

      just quick...unrelated...have you ever seen the russian film "Kin-dza-dza!"? This is part one (free) :

      and here is part 2 :

      If you've never seen it, it's an odd one, but I'm glad I saw it...please give it a try.

    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 5 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      True, true. But then there are movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, that I have a hard time blaming anyone for being turned off by the pacing. I think it's fine, but some sequences really do drag on quite extensively.

    • n3xus6 profile image

      n3xus6 5 years ago

      Bad artwork has ruined a few comic books for me; Enemy Mine is hardly an example of a film with equivalently bad special effects.

      I think the issue is that many older films require a degree of patience that more modern films do not require. I'm not sure if the blame falls on the studios, directors, or the movie-going audience, but modern films, science fiction and action especially, seem to put a lot of focus, maybe too much, on how a film is paced, rather than how a film is plotted or how that plot develops.

    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 5 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      It's absolutely ridiculous to refuse to watch a movie from '85 on the grounds that the effects are old. Under that scrutiny, what SciFi or Fantasy movie from that era would ever get watched again?

    • profile image

      Katherine 5 years ago

      Yeah, same happened to me once. Great review. One of my favouritel all-time-movies.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      An underrated sci-fi classic. Watched it many times on video back in the day. Good to see there are more fans of Enemy Mine out there. Where's the Blu-ray? :)

      Voted Up.

    • n3xus6 profile image

      n3xus6 6 years ago

      Enemy Mine was a masterpiece! Thank you for taking the time to bring it up. The hubs I'm creating will focus on precisely this--missed gems in Science Fiction, and I hope you'll take a look at them.

      Ps -- Enemy Mine was already on my list.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      I read enemy mine ( it is a award winning sci-fi novella by Barry B Longyear when I was a teen and never forgot the beautiful tale of friendship. The film passed me by but I should really catch it.