Enemy Mine – Book VS Movie

On a far distant planet, at the height of the war between the Dracon Empire and Earth, two military pilots crash in the heat of battle.
One is human, one is Drac. Each is a repulsive alien to the other. Each is a professional warrior, filled with hatred for his blood enemy…
Marooned on a hostile planet, they have a choice. They can complete their missions in a mutual pact of violence and death. Or they can do the most painful thing any Human or Drac has ever done – reach out and begin the new age of understanding that is struggling to be born…

(blurb from back of my book, which I think is also used for the movie)

I finished Enemy Mine by Barry B. Longyear (and David Gerrold) early yesterday morning, and watched the movie that afternoon, so the book was very much fresh in my mind, lol.
Umm, SPOILERS, duh, so watch out after the jump.

First off, the book is fantastic, and different and better than I expected.
I avoided the book when I first saw it in the house because I read the title and expected some awful war book.
Well, it involves a war, but not in the way that I thought.
Once I understood that ‘mine’ does not refer to people walking around getting their legs blown off, and that it is instead a possessive word, as in ‘my enemy’, it becomes a bit more appealing.

I’d like to point out that I pulled that photo of the cover from a Google search, it’s the exact same cover I have, and mine is even bent in the top right corner like the one in the photo ūüėģ it’s like mine could be the same one, albeit older and with book exchange stickers on it.

The first chapter was a little bit of a struggle – reading sci-fi is a lot harder than watching sci-fi.
When you’re watching Star Wars and they’re charging, and aiming, and shooting you just think “THEY’RE FIRIN THEIR¬†LASERS!!!”
But when you’re reading about the stats and the probes and turbo, you feel a need to understand it, even though you’re not really going to (well, I’m not really going to =/)
Although it wasn’t nearly as difficult as trying to read the beginning of Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey – my Mum gave that to me and I put it down five seconds later.

But¬†I liked the book as soon as I read that Joey’s (Davidge’s navigators) dying words were telling Davidge not to tell anyone call the nurse he liked ‘the White Walrus’ anymore ūüė¶ lol
It quickly became both a touching and hilarious book, with unexpected turns.
The relationship between the ugly Irkmann and the goddamn lizard was wonderful.
“Irkmann, your Mickey Mooze is one big, stupid dope!”

Their relationship was also very strange though – they’re different species, and one is a ‘he’ and one is an ‘it’.
Jerry being an ‘it’ was very strange, because even though he kinda had the role of a woman – I mean, he gave birth and made baby clothes – I always read him as if he was a man.
At some points it almost felt like I was reading some messed up Brokeback Mountain, because they were very close and cuddly, and quite a few times it was mentioned that, very early on, they were forced into situations were they were as close as lovers Рsheltering from the meteorite shower, then to keep each other warm, and then just because Willy wanted hugs.
When Willy wanted hugs he asked Jerry if Dracs had lovers or marriage, and Jerry said no, it made Willy feel very lonely and like Jerry didn’t even love him as a friend because Dracs didn’t have that pair-bond that humans crave.

There were some moments that made me teary.
When Zammis was coming, but he was all the wrong way around, and Jerry died T-T
When Zammis was kidnapped, and Willy got shot.
When Zammis was in the House Of Despair, and Willy counted his fingers.

Now I notice that all of these things are because of Zammis… stupid kid, it’s all his fault!! wah.

I think the blurb (which I put at the top of the post) is a bit misleading – it makes the ending sound like it’s going to be much more exciting and meaningful than it is.
I mean, I read that thinking that Jerry and Willy would end the war, create an alliance between Dracs and Humans, rid the world of racism… I don’t know.
But, that’s not what happened, instead Jerry died, and people thought Willy and Zammis were crazy.

It all turned out okay in the end though ūüôā
Although there was about 11 months or something that was skipped in between getting Zammis back, and the great hall whatsit, which made me wish it was a longer book.

Now, the movie.
The movie was made in 1985, and stars Dennis Quaid as Willis. E Davidge and Louis Gossett Jr as Jeriba Shigan.
It was directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

I’ll admit I watched the movie on YouTube, but thats because my Mum started watching it on there, so I didn’t have a choice, see? I didn’t wanna watch it on a crappy little screen… I mean, of course, my first concern was the possible illegality of such actions >>; suure.

After watching it, I wondered if I would’ve cared for the characters very much at all, if I hadn’t already read the book.
They actually only talked to each other a few times, some lines were taken right out of the book, some were paraphrased or made-up and sounded a bit strange.
They didn’t get as close¬†physically¬†as they did in the book (that sounds kinky) – what I mean is, in the book they slept cuddling, hugged to keep warm, and put their hands on each others shoulder when they were having deep-and-meaningfuls (conversations) – but in the movie they took all of this out, probably because they thought it would seem gay (or maybe just too touchy-feely), even though Jerry is an ‘it’ (hermaphrodite??).

Jerry’s appearance was interesting… not exactly what I expected.
I don’t think the aliens were really described in the book, the most description they received was because of conversations with Zammis – “you are green, you have three fingers, yellow eyes and tiny ears”
But apart from the three fingers the Dracs in the movie didn’t really look like that.
And they had disturbing soft squishy parts on their head.
And baby Zammis was very ugly, and slimey, Mum and I were yelling “CLEAN IT, WIPE THE JUICES OFF!”

Another thing they left out was Davidge having to breathe into Zammis’ mouth when he was born to¬†resuscitate¬†him, and later contemplating killing Zammis with a rock, because he couldn’t feed him.
I guess they didn’t want to imply the death of babies.

I got a bit frustrated with Davidge.
He wasn’t as good a character as he was in the book, and for some reason Mum felt he was a wussy hillbilly but I wasn’t get that so much as that he was a bit stupid, and not very much for talking or parenting.
Zammis running off to see the scavengers and Dracs was actually MORE understandable in the movie than it was in the book, because in the movie he explained things very poorly and then told the kid to shut up, whereas in the book he explained things very well.
Zammis is just stupid either way, especially considering he jumped infront of Willy’s gun -.-

And up until now, the movie has been following the book quite faithfully, but the ending starts going a completely different way.
It exchanges the social and political problems of the book, to killing men in grinders for the movie!
I thought perhaps it was because of time constraints, or that the slow ending of the book wouldn’t adapt well into the movie, but they could’ve shortened the book ending into the time they used for all the action!

After Zammis is kidnapped, it shows men operating a conveyor belt on which bagged bodies go down a hole, and as they go down they have music play or prayers said by a computer depending on their religion, which was rather amusing.
I wondered what was going on, but then I realised Davidge was in one of the body bags – then opened it up because it was unmarked, and there he was with a bullet in his chest, they tried to take his Talman but he woke up and then was rushed to the emergency room.
Then, his three pilot friends that are supposed to be dead go to visit him, and people thinks hes weird cus he speaks Drac in his sleep.
He shoots through an airlock and flies off in a fighter plane to go back to Fyrine IV to find Zammis immediately.
Zammis still on Fyrine IV with the scavengers, and all of the Dracs are like “Omg, it’s Zammis’ uncle!”
Blah blah blah, pointless action, men chopped up in grinders, men thrown in boiling stuff, enslaved Dracs ¬†rebel, Willy’s pilot friends come to help him, and Zammis is unconscious the whole time.
Zammis wakes up, hugs Willy, and all is good.
Then just a vague overhead image of Davidge reciting Zammis’ heritage in a great hall filled with Dracs, while the narrator says he¬†fulfilled¬†his promise.
The end.

In the book, Davidge is shot in the arm (and perhaps other places), and wakes up in hospital.
He has a douchey yet helpful doctor who has an interest in Dracs yet is still ignorant, who tells him the scavengers slaves were taken to a Drac planet.
Theres a bit of waiting around at his parents house, having people think he’s crazy, writing a translation of the Talman and a English-Drac dictionary, and getting enough money and help from doctor to fly on a commercial ship to a Drac planet, where Zammis was sent.
He meets with Jerry’s family, his parent Gothig and brother Nev, who go to find Zammis, and discover he’s at a “house of despair” which is where “unclaimable” Dracs go – their family may order them to be destroyed, or they just stay there, so they do not disgrace the family line.
Some are crazy, or sick, or whatever.
Zammis was put there because he loved humans, and kept talking about his Uncle.
He doesn’t talk or know who anyone is, until his Uncle Willy does the counting fingers thing… “one, two, three…” and Zammis says “four, five!”
They live at Jerry’s parents house for almost a year, then they submit their request to the council-thing to say the heritage, and the council rejects, and plans to keep them waiting for ever while they research whether a human can recite the lineage or not.
Then when confronted by Gothig’s smart words, they let them say the heritage, but bugger off so it would be invalid, and at the last minute Gothig INVITES them to hear it recited, and they can’t refuse lest be disrespectful.
The end.

The book ending was a bit slow, and even boring, but the movie ending was a typical movie wham-bam butchering, because they probably thought anything intellectual would put the audience to sleep (well, it may have, but the book ending was certainly more interesting, even if not exciting)

Oh, and the movie wanted to put in a literal ‘mine’ because they didn’t think audiences would gavey ‘mine’ doesn’t mean an actual mine… Well, they would once they watched the movie, wouldn’t they?

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