ID4, Randy Quaid and alien abduction

In the thread on Manifest, Ellis Dee said:

Now, despite the nature of the movie, I always thought that Quaid’s character was never abducted. That he was, in fact, nuttier than a fruitcake. The aliens had not apparently been here since the scout ship was captured. Even if they had, what would be the point of secret abductions? They were going to invade as soon as they got here no matter what.

So what say you? Really abducted, or nutcase?


I took it that he was just crazy. But it’s really not so straight forward since the movie used the whole "area 51"thing as a plot device.

I never for a moment doubted that he was abducted. It seems completely valid within the fictional reality of the story.

Wait, what? How can you argue that he wasn’t actually abducted by aliens? In the world of the movie, of course.

Isn’t that the whole point of his character, that he’s a crazy-talking nutcase nobody believes until the aliens come back? Seems pretty easy to believe they might be conducting research before they begin their full assault. And then all he can talk about once they come back is revenge and “I told you so”.

I never really thought long and hard about it, but yes, in my opinion he was really abducted.

Yes, abducted, and that’s what made him nuts.

I’m pretty sure Dennis Quaid’s character wasn’t abducted. Randy Quaid’s character, however, was.

I went with nutcase. Sure, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you…but his report doesn’t jibe with the behavior of the aliens.

Now, could there be a larger universe and other weird alien behavior? Sure. But we’re not shown that.

I think that, even if the aliens were visiting us before and abducting people, there would still be more crazies who thought they were abducted because they’re crazy than people who really were abducted, by a significant margin, so (playing the numbers), he was probably crazy.

But on the other hand, it’s not as guaranteed a sign of craziness as it is in our world. And, heck, they really did need all the pilots they could get. And even if he was crazy, you can’t deny that he was genuinely motivated to get back at them (with, as I recall, quite effective results). So yeah, the probable fact that he’s crazy isn’t really that big a problem.

One of my long-time complaints with the movie was that Quaid didn’t get the vindication he deserved. I say he was absolutely abducted.

First, he seems to immediately recognize the ships. Those specific ships. I would think even a true nutcase would react differently seeing his madness manifest so thoroughly.
Second, when he sacrifices himself, his quip, “hi boys, I’m back!” or close to it.

Definite payback for a real infraction.

That was my thought. Just because the CIA actually did experiments on people in our world, you can’t believe any random guy on the street who says the CIA controls his brain.

Wasn’t it mentioned in the movie that he was perfectly normal and then one day he suddenly started with the alien abduction stuff? He went nuts from being abducted, that’s how i always understood it. And it makes perfect sense that the aliens would study us before invading.

The problem with that is, they also showed that Area 51 was so secret, its existence was even kept from the President. If alien visitations were so common as to include abductions, it’s unlikely that the President would be kept out of the loop on something that was likely to be a regular occurrence during his term of office.

Also, the guys at Area 51 also made it clear that the ship they were studying “came alive” when the aliens arrived, as it required beamed power from the mothership to work. If other such ships were in regular contact with Earth, why wouldn’t they have seen this effect on other occasions?

So, nutcase who got lucky.

If you believe the novelization, Quaid has a line after seeing the dead alien that Will Smith brings in as “Those weren’t the aliens that abducted me.”

However since he never saw the little alien inside the big alien you can argue that he’s just mistaken, leaving this still open-ended.

I think it makes perfect sense to keep the president out of the loop, they’re replaced every 4-8 years. Not necessarily trustworthy in a big picture scenario. As for the scout coming alive, a recon ship may not be equipped to power the little ship, or may choose not to. The super-carrier may have chosen to activate whatever assets available on earth to aid the invasion.

Never abducted, he was a drunken idiot. The actual alien invasion of Earth of just a circumstance that lent credibility to his story.

“Mr. President, aliens exist, and they’ve just violated our airspace and at least one anus. By the way, we’ve known about these aliens for 50 years, and didn’t tell you about it because we were really hoping it wouldn’t come up during your term of office, because we don’t trust you.”

Is that a conversation that anyone would want to have with the POTUS?

But now you’re using assumptions about things not shown on the screen, to wave away the things that were explicitly shown. That’s a very weak case.

I just assumed that he had really been abducted. But I agree that you can make a case for either scenario that sounds plausible.

What they said.

Saying the invading aliens suggest that what Quaid’s character was saying was true is like saying MKUltra suggests that the guy saying the CIA is sending him secret messages through his fillings is right.

Yes, aliens exist. Yes, the CIA has a known history of doing sketchy shit.

But, the extant aliens, and known CIA shenanigans are not actually similar to what our friends who’ve broken from consensus reality are claiming. So, while this does slightly increase the probability of other aliens who do do abductions, it does not actually serve as evidence of his claim.

Was had the right of it.
<Wash> ‘Psychic powers? Sounds like science fiction.’
<Zoe> ‘Honey, we live on a space ship.’
<Wash> ‘SO?’

Need to know applies, or should apply to even POTUS.

The second one I grant you, is just me playing devil’s advocate. But, the only thing stated on-screen was that the scout/fighter powered up once the mother-ship appeared, it was never explained why or why it was quiescent prior to that.