Enemy Mine (1985)

Genres - Drama, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action  |   Release Date - Dec 20, 1985 (USA)  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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An intergalactic take on such previous efforts as John Boorman's Hell in the Pacific (1968), Enemy Mine translates that film's themes of xenophobia and cross-cultural misinterpretation to the outer reaches of the universe with effective results. Though the familiar story has been told before, the decision to strand the two protagonists on a distant planet (a tactic frequently used by Rod Serling to address pressing social issues in The Twilight Zone) removes them far enough from a sense of reality that the issue of resolving differences, not the differences themselves, takes precedence. In this sense, Enemy Mine is a rare and unique example of science fiction being used as a means to ponder humans' relations to each other and the universe, rather than a springboard to the now overly familiar aliens-versus-humans approach. Even if the concept behind the film isn't entirely original, it can be forgiven for its efforts because of a pair of memorable performances by Louis Gossett Jr. and Dennis Quaid. Both actors inject their character with just enough emotional drive and self-centeredness that the discovery of their similarities rings true without excess sentimentality. An unexpected revelation at the film's midpoint drives this point home effectively, obliterating not only the questions of species identity, but also gender identity. A familiar saying states that if humans cannot live together, they will surely die together; Enemy Mine's optimistic coda suggests that not only can humans live together, they can move further to become one despite their differences.