Enemy Mine (Blu-ray)
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Studio: Twilight Time (Fox)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 108 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0, 2.0 stereo English
MSRP: $ 29.95
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Review Date: September 29, 2012
In the midst of a long-standing war with Dracon, Earth space pilot Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid) crash lands on distant planet Fyrine IV where he finds that a Drac ship carrying an alien has also crashed. Attempting to get the jump on his enemy, Willis is instead captured. Over the course of days the natural enemies learn they must work together even grudgingly to survive the hostile planet with its fiery meteor showers and sand-dwelling flesh eaters. Willis learns the alien’s name is Jeriba Shigan (Louis Gossett Jr.), and he dubs him “Jerry.” With winter approaching and no signs of rescue imminent, the two first built a hut and then later take to a cave to wait out the winter. While there, Willis learns that the Drac species are a combination of male and female, and Jerry is with child and due very soon.
Edward Khmara’s screenplay sets up all the expected postures: the human’s arrogance and sense of entitlement, his tendency toward aggression and hot-headedness, and then one by one he punctures them as the willful Willis Davidge begins to learn something about humanity from a non-human. The scenes in the film’s middle section where Willis and Jerry bond and learn mutual respect through communication and then later scenes with Jerry’s offspring Zammis (Bumper Robinson) and his guardianship by Willis are by far the film’s strongest and most interesting. Director Petersen maximizes those scenes with generous views of the elaborate planet surface sets and the really impressive cave where a good portion of the film’s middle third occurs. But that need to inject violent action into his sci-fi saga breaks the spell the director has woven with a fairly unsatisfying final third as Zammis is captured by scavengers who enslave Dracs and after being shot, Willis is left for dead. Then, with an unconvincing and too speedy recovery, he’s off to find and save his charge. These final sequences aren’t very well directed; Petersen stages a climactic fight and its aftermath that’s pretty unimpressive and rather sodden, and the climax isn’t milked for its maximum warmth or sentimentality either. The film seems to simply run out of steam in the final quarter hour.
All of the scenes with rambunctious Dennis Quaid and more measured but quietly sardonic Louis Gossett Jr. are special, and their relationship is what gives the movie its flavor and its real reason for existing. Each actor morphs into a different personage by the end of the film, and that’s always impressive to witness. Bumper Robinson does well as Zammis showing his restlessness over his differences with his “uncle” and a desire to see others more like himself. Brion James makes a decidedly one-dimensional villain but is certainly utilitarian for the simplistic needs of the film’s final third.
The film’s original 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully rendered in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is generally excellent with the film though there are certain shots which seem a bit softer than those surrounding them. Still, you’ll be able to see the incredibly intricate detail on the masterful make-up job on Louis Gossett Jr. with the many close-ups and notice further details in garments and the terrain of the planet. Color is nicely handled and never blooms out of control. Black levels are good and shadow detail is fine if not outstanding. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
The disc offers two English tracks, both in DTS-HD Master Audio. The 2.0 stereo track seems to have a bit more low end than the 4.0 track (which is the default track) which seems a bit thinner. Both offer excellent reproduction of the well recorded dialogue and good clarity in Maurice Jarre’s sometimes sweet, sometimes sweeping score and the sound effects for the opening scenes of warfare, the planet’s many perils, and the later scavenger mining scenes.
Maurice Jarre’s score for the film is offered in an isolated music track which is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo.
The film’s theatrical trailer runs 2 minutes and is in 480i.
The enclosed six-page booklet contains some excellent color stills from the movie, the film’s poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s generous appreciation of the film’s strong points.
3/5 (not an average)
Enemy Mine might not rank high in the annals of sci-fi, but it does have its merits, chief among them its outstanding performances, incredible make-up design (unbelievable that this didn’t score an Oscar nomination), and a sweet story at its core making it a film that’s often more soulful than it is stirring. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested in it should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if copies are still available. They're also available via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.