Enemy Mine Blu-ray Review
Whilst it's never dull, it does push the limits
Zammis get four five?A cocksure fighter pilot out on a mission takes one risk too many in a space battle that sees his co-pilot fatally injured. Seeking revenge he chases down the enemy only to crash land on a near inhospitable planet. Still seeing red the pilot, Davidge, seeks out the downed enemy, an alien race called the Dracs, with the intention of killing him. After the plan goes awry and he is captured, things start to look bad, but the timely interruption of a meteor shower sees the two desperate souls join forces with the express intention of survival. Over the coming months, the human and the Drac communicate by learning their counterpart’s dialect, but more than that they bond in terms of respect and religion. When Jeriba (or Jerry) becomes pregnant (not a matter of choice for this alien race) and dies during birth, Davidge is left to care for the child and school him. When the reluctant parent has his surrogate child kidnapped, a vengeful Davidge stops at nothing to find him, save him and return him to his own planet, just as he swore he would. So …. It’s a buddy movie, set in space.The production of the film had a fraught history, with (eventual) director Wolfgang Petersen starting from scratch, redesigning everything and delivering in a film that is strong on drama, decent in effects and heavy in allegory, but suffers from a rather slow pace and a screenplay that is pretty ordinary. Whilst the ambition is laudable, the execution passible, the acting excellent and the drama palpable there is an overall feeling of ‘meh’, which for a sci-fi extravaganza being used as the set-up for a whole new franchise is the final nail in its coffin. Whist you can point fingers at the troubled production and a significant amount of studio interference during filming; at its core the film suffers from trying far too hard to be more than it actually is; and whilst it is never dull, it does push the limits, getting far to bogged down in melodrama at the expense of interest. You could argue that is the point, a throwback to a simpler time, and time has healed a lot of its initial wounds, but in the end Enemy Mine offers a lot, but delivers too little.
Picture QualityThe disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec and is Region locked to B.
Detail is pretty good, skin has good texture, both human and alien, while the space uniforms and the sewn together rags have discernible weaves. The landscape of the hostile planet holds good edges, weather on location (excellent use of mountainous terrain) or in sets, where the rocks, soil and caves look good enough to fall into.
Check out the sunsets!
Colouring is well seen, with reds being of particular delight – check out the sunsets, or the scene where Jeriba first sings his religion which is simply wonderful in terms of shadow detail and deep red colour. Flesh tones are good and the flashes of ‘lightning’ expose some solid, bold primaries.
Brightness and contrast are set to give a very strong black level, best shown during the night scenes or in the caves where there is a real sense of depth to the frame. Shadow detail, when required, adds to the image, though the impenetrability of the black in other scenes remains stark and foreboding.
Digitally there are no compression issues, edge enhancement or banding. The original print is in pretty good shape with only a few instances of damage visible, while the grain level never becomes too intrusive and adds to the organic nature of the film.
Sound QualityI went with the English DTS-HD MA 5.0 track, which is surprisingly well engineered to give a very reasonable surround mix. Spacecraft dog fights, meteor showers or mining machinery really fill the room with the surrounds bolstering the effects to place you in the centre of the action. The enigmatic score makes full use of the five speakers, again placing you in the centre of the action. Dialogue is clear and precise, sounds very natural and never lost in the mix. Obviously there is no direct sub channel, but the track is not lacking in bass with the score, explosions and spacecraft all giving the sub something to do by filling out the lower end. Don’t expect superlative bass though, it’s not there. All told, I was impressed with this one.
ExtrasExtended Scene – Just this one extra, with some additional dialogue while Davidge is in sickbay and between him and his fighter pilot friends that helps ease the transition between his rescue and subsequent leaving of the Spacestation – 1.33:1, VHS quality and in German with English subtitles.
Booklet – Full colour 18 page booklet with an essay about the history of the film by Craig Ian Mann.
Blu-ray VerdictEnemy Mine is a 1985 sci-fi drama from director Wolfgang Petersen telling the story of a cocksure human pilot, Davidge, and his alien counterpart, Jeriba, who are both forced to work together when they are stranded on a desolate, near inhabitable planet.
The film offers a lot, but delivers too little
The Blu-ray set from Eureka is OK, the picture is bright and clean with good detail, colouring and black level, while the 5.0 surround track is surprisingly immersive. The extras amount to a trailer, an extended scene (that actually adds to the film) and a colour booklet with an essay on the film’s history.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £13.99
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