Sci Fi Movie Podcast Enemy Mine

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Hosted by Remi Lavictoire,  Ian Fults and Jonathan Colbon

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This week on The Sci-Fi Movie Podcast, Rem, Ian and Jonathan dig deeper into “Enemy Mine” from 1985 and directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

The Positive
As we say on The Sci-Fi Movie Podcast, a good movie is one that ‘holds up the mirror’ to society and shows us more about ourselves. Enemy Mine is a great example of exactly that.  Through these two characters, we learn more about Xenophobia, Governmental Politics and fear of anyone who is different from us.  Excellent performances from Louis Gosset Jr. and Dennis Quaid.

 

The Negative
Being a Sci-Fi movie that came out in 1985, we understand the visual effects would be pretty rudimentary, and the sound design was weak, but most of that could be forgiven.  We the ending sequence seemed rushed and there was a tendency to portray the Scavengers as obviously ‘bad humans’ and they came across as the stereotypical movie foes, and it hurt some of the magic created between Jerry and Davidge.

The Verdict
Forgive the visual effects and some of the poor characterization at the end, and focus on the wonderful story of Jerry and Davidge.

Two war movies with a similar premise to Enemy Mine….

A Midnight Clear

Loosely based on the actual WWI Christmas cease fire between German and English troops. The two sides met halfway across the battlefield and sang silent night and played soccer. Each year the two countries re-enact the game in tribute.

Hell in the Pacific

During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?

 Listener Feedback

Elizabeth Irwin
I love this movie. I’ve watch this dozens of times, maybe more. I’m sure you guys will discuss what this is an allegory of but for me it was all about the relationships between father and child.

Wait, let me back that up a little, the relationship between Willis and Jerry was so sweet and I loved Drac Jerry. I loved the dynamic they had and the social commentary this relationship was representing. I loved how their friendship grew and bloomed.

But this was in, what, 1985? I was a girl being raised by a single father. I identified with the desperate parental figure that is Willis, the quasi-terrified, overprotective father (much like my father was of me as I approached becoming a teen). I loved how much he loved that little boy and everything he did to fulfill the wishes of Jerry.

I love the insights and thoughts you guys bring to the movies that I love so much so I’ll leave the rest to you guys. But for me as a young girl this is all about the father child relationship in the lengths each other went to in order to make sure Zammis survived. No, I strike that, they wanted him to thrive – and that meant being better and doing better.

And in the end when he stands in front of, what appears to be millions Drac, reciting Zammis lineage in order to allow him to become a full Drac, I watch with tears brimming even 30 years later.

Seth Heasley
Love the fact that they had to add a “mine” sequence so people wouldn’t be confused by the title. Heaven forbid the viewer should have to figure out that “Enemy Mine” is really just “My Enemy.”
(Rem: so they wanted to avoid confusion between my actual enemy and the mineral extraction facility that belongs to my foe)

Josh Adams
Here’s the deal- I think this movie works, but I also kind of laugh at it. As we’re all used to with most Wolfgang Petersen films, Enemy Mine has some pretty big unintentional guffaws, including the overly saccharine relationship between Davidge and Zammis in the last quarter of the film. There are some actually frightening moments (the ‘sand’ snake)- I remember being absolutely terrified by sand and things like leeches after I saw this. I think at times it’s pretty beautiful in the way that the two mains begin to relate to each other, and it seems to hit at the core of what some good science fiction does- relate to our human experience through the scope of an ‘alien’ issue. Overall, I find this to be both a nostalgic and good film, while still being a bit dated with too many touches of Petersen’s occasionally inept storytelling hand.

Ton de Witte
I liked this movie. Of course the two enemies forced to work together story has been done before but this has a nice twist in the sense that one of the two gets pregnant. Essential viewing no but an entertaining movie. I still get a good feeling when I hear that the name of Willis E. Davidge was added to the line of Jeriba.

Brian Campbell
I think I rented Enemy Mine from the now defunct Blockbuster Video chain. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled by the special effects nor the acting. Louis Gossett Jr. disappeared into the role of Jeri, while Dennis Quaid was an angry version of Dennis Quaid.

However, I did find myself getting pulled into the story as the relationship between Davidge and Jeri blossomed through their trials on the harsh planet. I found Davidge to be a little bit too abrasive at times, driving home the fact that we humans are just so very bad people and need to be taught to live with other wiser, kinder, races.
Yes, the colonial humans are boorish and unrefined conquerors. I didn’t need the sadistic slave miners to drive that point home. I get it. Every generation needs it’s Avatar. I wasn’t sure when Davidge and Jeri had time to make a baby, but I have to admit getting a little teary eyed during certain scenes with Davidge and his human-drac hybrid boy. Ultimately I was relieved to see Davidge and Zammies make it to the Drac home world at the end. So I have to say over-all I did find Enemy Mine enjoyable.

Dean Martin
Brokeback in Space.

Michael Sims-hauser
I’ve seen this film described as a Science Fiction version of Hell in the Pacific. Two enemies stranded together and forced to rely on each other to survive. Only difference here is that one of them is an reptilian race that reproduce asexually… Based on novella by Barry Longyear, which I have read and like most books movies are based on, adds so much to the story. Also apparently there are sequels to the novella as well. The production of this will was always going to be difficult. Having the director replaced early in the piece is always going to drive the budget up, but I still think that Wolfgang Petersen adapted something unique. And for that reason alone this is required scifi viewing in my humble opinion.

John Sheehy
This is why I subscribe to your Podcast… I had forgotten about this classic … Thanks again

Nick Jensen
I have this movie in a combo-pack with Alien Nation, and I think that’s appropriate, both are decent movies with good premises. I do like most of the ideas in this movie, especially the exploration of an alien society and culture which I find lacking in a lot of sci-fi movies. If the special effects were better and the last third or so of the script/story were more fleshed out and executed better this would be an essential sci-fi movie. However, the movie that we got is not essential viewing but a good, random sci-fi watch for sure.

 

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Sci Fi Movie Podcast Enemy Mine