Enemy Mine: Still a Sci-Fi Classic!

To most people who are living and watching media in the 21st Century–particularly the CGI we often find in sci-fi–a movie from the mid ’80s will seem, well, old and low-budget.

But there are classics that are timeless, like the first Planet of the Apes movie, or the original Mad Max films, or the first Star Wars trilogy. They never go out of fashion and should be experienced by everyone at least once in a lifetime. I consider Enemy Mine to be among such movies.

Featuring Louis Gossett Jr.–who was nominated for an Academy Award for this role–and a very young and handsome Dennis Quaid, the movie (and novel) tells the story of a human and a Drac (reptilian alien) who crash on an isolated planet as a result of the war between their two species. They initially hate each other, but lacking no one else to socialize or to help them survive, slowly become friends.

The race of the Dracs is shown as noble, and comparable in many ways to humans–who have enslaved them in illegal mining operations in various worlds. The genderless Dracs honor their ancestors and recite from memory the teachings of a sacred book known as the Talman–which must be sung in their gurgling language. The author has published follow-up works, including the Enemy Papers, which includes portions of the Talman.

Upon reaching adulthood, they must be presented before the Council of their Elders, and the parent must recite their ancestral lineage. This inspires the iconic final scene of the movie in their beautiful home planet Dracon.

I won’t give away too much else from the plot in the hopes that my readers will watch and enjoy the film, except to say that (even non-human) people need other people, and that we become truly civilized by learning to cooperate and pursue mutual benefit.

Further Reading:

Enemy Mine on Goodreads

About hiramcrespo

Hiram Crespo is the author of 'Tending the Epicurean Garden' (Humanist Press, 2014) and 'How to Live a Good Life' (Penguin Random House, 2020), and founder of societyofepicurus.com. He's also written for The Humanist, Eidolon, Occupy, The New Humanism, The Secular Web, Europa Laica, AteístasPR, and many other outlets.
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