ENEMY MINE [1985 / 2016] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Enemies Because They Were Taught To Be! Allies Because They Had To Be! Brothers Because They Dared To Be!

From director Wolfgang Petersen comes a tale of two enemies thrown together in a hostile world where to survive they must become allies.

A soldier from Earth crash-lands on an alien world. Eventually he encounters another survivor, but from the enemy species he was fighting; they band together to survive on this hostile world. In the end the human finds himself caring for his enemy in a completely unexpected way.

Starring Dennis Quaid and Academy Award® Winner Louis Gosset Jr., this sci-fi adventure is a tale of an unexpected friendship and newly found respect. Eureka Classics presents the film in 1080p high-definition for the first time in the United Kingdom in a Special Edition Blu-ray.

FILM FACT: The film began production in Budapest in April 1984 under the direction of Richard Loncraine, who quickly ran into “creative differences” with producer Stephen Friedman and executives at 20th Century Fox; the project was shut down after a week of shooting. Wolfgang Petersen then took over as director and reshot Richard Loncraine's scenes after moving the production to Munich. Filming Locations: Lago Verde, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain. Timanfaya's National Park, Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain. Bavaria Studios, Bavariafilmplatz 7, Geiselgasteig, Grünwald, Bavaria, Germany (studio). The film score was composed and conducted by Maurice Jarre, and performed by the Studioorchester in Munich and a synthesiser ensemble.

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett Jr., Brion James, Richard Marcus, Carolyn McCormick, Bumper Robinson, Jim Mapp, Lance Kerwin, Scott Kraft, Lou Michaels, Andy Geer, Henry Stolow, Herb Andress, Danmar, Mandy Hausenberger, Emily Woods, Barry Stokes, Colin Gilder, Charles M. Huber, Ulrich Günther, Frank Henson, Jazzer Jeyes, Doug Robinson, Mark McBride, Tony L. Moore, Kevin Taylor, Sheyenne Jade, Menyhért René Balog-Dutombé and Jack Luceno

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Producers: Stanley O'Toole and Stephen J. Friedman

Screenplay: Barry Longyear (story) and Edward Khmara (screenplay)

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Cinematography: Tony Imi, B.S.C. (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Panavision)

Audio: English: 5.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio
Music and Effects: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 108 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: 20th Century Fox / Eureka Entertainment Ltd

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘ENEMY MINE’ [1985] is situated in the far off distant future, where humanity fight for distant star systems against an alien race called the Dracs. When human pilot Willis E. Davidge [Dennis Quaid] crash-lands on a hostile, barren alien world, he must forge an unlikely alliance with Jeriba Shigan [Louis Gossett Jr.], a Drac pilot who crashed nearby; in order to survive. ‘ENEMY MINE’ is a complex tapestry of heart-warming double-you-tee-eff. Willis E. Davidge, the human fighter pilot who hates Dracs and Lou Gosset Jr. plays the Drac fighter pilot Jeriba Shigan also hates the humans. Together they teach us to live, love, and laugh on a united front.

Based on an award winning novella by Barry B. Longyear and set in the late twenty-first century, and the ‘ENEMY MINE’ stars Dennis Quaid and Louis Gosset, Jr., and here we find Dennis Quaid plays Willis E. Davidge, an American soldier serving with the Bilateral Terran  Alliance (aka United Earth) while Louis Gosset, Jr. plays Jeriba Shigan, who is a Drac a race of alien humanoids with reptilian skin.

After a serious and dramatic dogfight in outer space, these two sworn enemies both crash-land and find themselves marooned on a planet named Fyrine IV, an alien world uninhabited by intelligent life, with two moons, a breathable atmosphere, water, native fauna, and a hostile environment, where meteors shower down ferociously at random intervals and where some repulsive looking carnivorous creatures emerge from a quicksand pit whenever a potential meal passes by and including at one point, Willis E. Davidge, before he is saved by the Drac who he later nicknames Jerry.

Willis E. Davidge ultimately has to really admit to owing a debt of gratitude to Jerry, as when he’d first discovered that he had company on Fyrine IV, where Willis E. Davidge immediately attempted to kill the Drac. Tensions persist between the pair, though they are eventually forced to bond together to improve their chances of survival. Inevitably I was reminded of a similar sci-fi film featuring two unlikely friends in the outer space film, ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars,’ which as you know I reviewed the Eureka Blu-ray release awhile back.

Of course at the time of filming and that moment in history when there was the aggressive struggle between the USA and USSR was escalating dramatically, with both Governments becoming increasingly militaristic, the screenplay with its obvious message of its ultimate tolerance for others is certainly well-intentioned and anything that could possibly help decrease the hysterical hatred between both superpowers was surely a good thing.

In Hollywood terms, though, the plot of ‘ENEMY MINE’ could be judged as slightly naïve in context. Cinema-going masses in the United States might just have been willing to consider its message but not when the Dracs were depicted as more likeable aliens, less warlike and more sympathetic all round than the Irkmaans (aka humans), who all seem somehow to be American, which of course was a typical scenario of that period in the 1980s. In fact, we later discover that Alliance soldiers have a policy of kidnapping Dracs and forcing them to mine some unspecified ores under the threat of a whipping from some intergalactic belligerent redneck types.

The main reason why this big budget sci-fi film failed at the box-office, despite the final act in the film was a big problem, despite the good work laid down that was spoiled by Willis Davidge embarking on a far-fetched rescue mission that resembled the James Bond film ‘Moonraker’ rather than the kind of thoughtful climax that we all hoped for. But despite this ‘ENEMY MINE,’ I think this sci-fi film still has a place in your Blu-ray Collection. The special effects in 1985 looked very impressive when it was first screened in the cinema, and in the world of today’s CGI summer blockbusters, this Eureka Blu-ray disc still looks pretty terrific. The Drac make-up is equally impressive and the acting is even better with Louis Gossett, Jr. in particularly outstanding form. On top of all that with the clever twist at the end of the film that I didn’t remotely see coming and, despite the underwhelming ‘popcorn’ ending, I would still class ‘ENEMY MINE’ as one of the most under-rated sci-fi films of its era and would recommend any fully fledged sci-fi fans to view this Blu-ray disc. What makes the film work so well is the growing friendship and understanding between Willis Davidge [Dennis Quaid] and Jerry [Louis Gossett Jr.]. The greater part of the sci-fi film has only these two on the screen most of the time and the two actors build up a real sense of a growing deep relationship and of course their ultimate friendship.

‘ENEMY MINE’ is a film that explores the ability for differences to be made similar and it is a film that explores how two different cultures, ethnic groups or religious practices can find a common ground that would not primarily be considered sci-fi cinema genre. With ‘ENEMY MINE’ it led to a film that reminds us of the brilliance of other sci-fi films that had ground breaking situations that covered all aspects of compassionate ways with “strangers in a strange land” idea. Here we have the idea of difference and similarity and the exploration of diversity and unity.

Visually the film is astonishing, because it makes use of a place that feels totally harsh and hostile, so making it look so real and so much a part of the relationship between the two characters, the place, and the performance. Dennis Quaid plays the role of Willis E. Davidge with intelligence and range which often he is not credited with and gives us a balance and insight into a world that is visually. The other actor Louis Gossett Jr. has a far harder task and does it so well as to be totally amazing in giving us a stunning layering aspect of an enemy come friend and his use of vocal punch and physical stance to give this film that slightly different edge to other types of sci-fi film genres. One thing is for sure, near the end of the film I know for sure that you will want to grab some Kleenex tissues, as you will have a few tears because of the emotional scenes you get to witness. What is also good are the special effects which were at the time in 1985 were totally ground-breaking for audiences, compared to what we see today with sci-fi films and with the stunning 2.35:1 Panavision aspect ratio, and looks totally brilliant to me and I have no complaints, but of course you will always get people who just want a good moan that it looks old fashioned, well when you see the original ‘Star Wars’ film today, the special effects were on par with the film ‘ENEMY MINE.’

Blu-ray Image Quality – Eureka Entertainment Ltd has once again done a superb job in giving this film a stunning gorgeous 1080p High Definition presentation of the film that is also enhanced with an equally impressive 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation and giving us this Blu-ray release is again another gorgeous transfer that picks out the best detail in showing off of the alien landscape in all its glory and giving us the best Blu-ray presentation, ensuring us in giving us a print that is very clean and stable, without any Digital Noise Reduction, so giving the image with a definite proper filmic look, that also gives a strong and consistent colours in great detail, bringing the film’s lavish set and production design in giving us a brilliant presentation. The 1985 ‘ENEMY MINE’ film looks very reminiscent to the other sci-fi genre film ‘Robinson Crusoe on Mars,’ which of course is another Eureka Entertainment Ltd Blu-ray release and I get the feeling that 20th Century Fox were deliberate with this presentation choice, even though the film had its issues with the budget restriction, which you can read all about with the enclosed Beautiful Printed Collectors Booklet. Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Eureka Entertainment Ltd presents us with several stunning audio experience, with a choice audio presentations, which includes 5.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio and Music/Effects: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio. Way back in 1985 when the film was first shown in the cinemas, this would have been a stereo production, so with this UK Blu-ray release we have had a remastered 5.0 DTS-HD Master Audio re-mix, so giving the film a little more enjoyable sound experience, but without too many discrete surround extravagances. The dialogue with the actors is clear throughout the film, and once again, it’s only the occasional overuse of electronic music that sadly dates the sci-fi film, otherwise the music score by the brilliant composer Maurice Jarre is mostly an orchestral presentation, but still an enjoyable listening experience and at time you get some orchestration that reminds you of the film ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ which of course as you know Maurice Jarre was also the composer for that ground breaking film.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Theatrical Trailer [1985] [1080i] [2.35:1] [1:59] This is the Original U.S. Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘ENEMY MINE,’ which is a really good presentation and gives you an incentive to view the film as the trailer packs in quite a lot of visual excitement.

Special Feature: Deleted Scene: Extended Scene [1985] [480i] [1.37:1] [3:07] Here we find Willis E. Davidge [Dennis Quaid] waking up and wanting to get back to his planet where he was marooned, but I am slightly confused why they added this in as an extra, as it is basically the same scenes as what you view in the film, but with one exception of the extra scene in the restaurant. This is in German with English subtitles.

Special Feature: Music and Effects Track: Here we get presented the film with just the Music and Effects in 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio.

PLUS: Brilliant Double Side Printer Blu-ray Cover with alternate artwork.


Finally, ‘ENEMY MINE’ [1985] is not in the same league as the great science-fiction pictures of the 1980s. ‘ENEMY MINE’ doesn’t deserve to be consigned to the bottom of the heap either. Because we had an early exercise in fantastical storytelling from director Wolfgang Petersen, who crafts a solid and engaging character driven story from the script, and delivers two committed performances from Dennis Quaid and in particular an unrecognisable Louis Gossett Jr. which nicely delves into the underlying themes about a shared brotherhood of basic humanity, when people are forced to survive; while the film loses its way in the final third, giving into narrative cliché and B-movie spectacle, it’s a perfectly good sci-fi ride for most of the running time, so please give it a fighting chance. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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