Roland Emmerich

Roland Emmerich is a director, writer, and producer of movies best described as "the one where the [world famous landmark] gets destroyed."

Emmerich, unusually filming something that isn't a green screen, likely saying

Just The Facts

  1. He has directed only two films with positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.
  2. His typical movie can be summed up as such: Extreme scenes of mayhem and destruction using heavy amounts of CGI, followed by plot coincidences that would make Charles Dickens call 'Bullshit.'
  3. "Accuracy," whether it be preceded by the words 'historical,' 'scientific,' 'technological,' or 'how people actually interact,' is not a word he's familiar with.

Independence Day (1996)

What The Characters Run From:


What Icon Is Destroyed:

The White House

Pictured: Indedpence Day, or A Tea Partyist's Current Wet Dream

Pictured: Independence Day, or a tea-partyist's current wet dream.

The Plot:

A group of aliens that go from planet to planet, depleting their resources before moving elsewhere, descend to Earth as their next campground two days before the United States celebrates Independence Day. Will Smith is a really bad ass black pilot who spits out witty one liners like all black pilots do. Bill Pullman is the dashing leader of the Free World, the brave president who was a pilot in his youth and re-saddles up in order to fight the alien scum. Jeff Goldblum plays a charming nerd (SURPRISE!!!!) who manages to solve problems with the most tangential and retarded logical connections ever. Randy Quaid plays a redneck that believes the aliens abducted him a few years back, and is also a crop duster pilot who can somehow fly an F-18 well enough to steer it into the heart of the Mothership, giving his life to save the world. That was a spoiler, by the way. But aren't you just moved to tears? (Note: This is not the only time in one of Emmerich's films that a completely unqualified pilot flies something way out of his league).

CRACKED's Analysis:

Who wasn't entertained by this movie? It redefined the Hollywood Blockbuster, brought back science fiction, and established Will Smith as something other than a wisecracking black comedian (and, instead, as a wisecracking black action star). It also features Bill Pullman giving the best speech of any president, real or fictitious, ever.

But that's not to say this movie is exempt from the flaws that plague the other Emmerich films, we just give them a little leeway because of Will Smith (and damn, did you not hear that speech?) The film is ripe with cheesy dialog and absurd plot device. Our favorite coincidence? Will Smith's wife and the First Lady run into each other in the rubble of a destroyed LA.

"You're going to the White House? No way, me too!"

Or, perhaps, it's the fact that Jeff Goldblum determines the best way to destroy the aliens' ship is to give them a computer virus to disengage their shields, probably by uploading it to some of their dirtiest porn sites. But ask anyone who knows coding, and if they actually have enough social skills to reply, they'll tell you it's really hard to create something in Windows that can work in Macintosh. And yet, these super high tech computers from 1996 managed to formulate something that infected computers that, not only aren't Windows, but actually weren't even created by anything remotely similar to a human. Not only is their technology different, it's likely their entire logical structure and way of thinking is nothing like ours. You don't think about it too hard when you're watching though, because Will Smith just said, "I have GOT to get me one a these," about the alien spaceship he was flying. Man, black people are funny.

Godzilla (1998)

What The Characters Run From:

A gigantic lizard. If you didn't know that, you should probably call it quits. Life only gets harder from here.

What Icon Is Destroyed:

Lots of New York City

You might think that Roland Emmerich's movies are all 'big' to compensate for something, especially if he's using sexual innuendo as taglines when they in no way relevant.

The Plot:

Nuclear tests in French Polynesia irradiate a nest of lizards, turning one into a monstrosity that moves into New York City to raise its family. Also, it kills a lot of people. Matthew Broderick plays Niko Tatopoulos, a scientist who studies radiation's effect on living things. This allows him to speculate, before seeing the creature, that it isn't a dinosaur but a gecko with a glandular problem, though we're pretty sure nowhere in his studies would he have seen anything like this. There are other people in this movie, to be sure, but it's really not all that important. Godzilla eats some people and shoots fire from his nostrils, until he's taken down and everyone is saved.

The Scientific Explanation:

Radiation can do some really fucky things to animals. It's a plot device that probably started with the original Godzilla, and can hopefully die with this one. Cause seriously, it's gotten old.

CRACKED Analysis:

An actual Godzilla roaming around would scare us only slightly more than how bad this movie was.

The Patriot (2000)

What The Characters Run From:

The British

What Icon Gets Destroyed:

Any semblance of historical fact

The Plot:

An old soldier joins the Revolutionary War after his eldest son enlists with the continental army against his wishes, and his youngest son is killed in an act of brutality by an English general. He leaves his other five children in his deceased wife's sister's care, with whom he naturally strikes up an incredibly awkward relationship (how could she possibly not have a bit of "silver medal" complex?). The story revolves around this man, Benjamin Martin, fighting the very general that eventually kills two of his sons, the fictitious William Travington. Mel Gibson plays Martin, and unfortunately never once utters the phrase "sugartits." Jason Isaacs plays Travington. Heath Ledger, back when he was just a teen heart throb and not an academy award winning gay cowboy or psychotic clown actor, plays the eldest son

CRACKED Analysis:

We won't say that the British fought the war by throwing crumpets, but they're depicted here as bloodthirsty and cruel. In one scene, General Travington burns a church full of civilians. This never happened, but doesn't it sound familiar? Oh, that's right, the Nazis did that. Emmerich, who is German, has been criticized for trying to alter historical perception of the British so, perhaps, his country's appalling acts won't look quite so original. Historian David Fischer notes the film has "egregious errors in every scene." Like, for instance, the fact that black people are pretty much portrayed as "my good ol' buddy in arms," and not, "my once and future human property."

So the movie had the historical accuracy of a creationist's science book, it's still damn entertaining. You've got to give it to Mel Gibson, the dude can act. It's also got a deliciously cheesy and inspiring ending, with Martin charging Travington holding the American flag as a weapon.

These colors don't run... Unless, of course, they're running you through.

There's also that scene in the beginning where he takes down twenty men using a tomahawk and balls the size of oranges. God that was sick.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

What The Main Characters Run From:

Uh... Cold.

What Icon Gets Destroyed:

A lot of the northern hemisphere. And specifically, New York City again, including the Statue of Libery. Why does anyone still live there, hasn't Hollywood, or at least Emmerich, convinced everyone that it's target number one for freak disasters?

Pictured: Global Warming

The Scientific Explanation:

Global warming, like, alters ocean currents and... Ice Hurricans form, and... Listen, it just gets really fucking cold, okay? So recycle.

The Plot:

Ruggedly handsome and athletic scientist Jack Hall has discovered, by almost falling into a crack that forms across a melting Antarctica, that Global Warming is happening faster than expected. He warns the world leaders at the United Nations, but they (including the Vice President of the United States, a Dick Cheney Clone) dismiss him as a fear-mongering hippie. Meanwhile, his 18 year old son Sam (who looks suspiciously 28) is going to New York City to compete in some sort of nerd contest with his rather useless black-friend-sidekick and the hot girl he wants to bone date. The weather all around Earth starts to batshit crazy. Hail the size of footballs crush people in Japan, tornados sweep through L.A., turbulence gets so violent it takes down airplanes, and a group of black hawk helicopters fly through some sort of extremely cold patch of air and freeze up like an idiot at a spelling bee.

Sure enough, in a twist nobody who had ever seen disaster movies saw coming, it is revealed that everything Jack said would happen, does happen, only at an accelerated rate. Three gigantic supercells form over the Northern hemisphere, which start moving southward and freezing everything beneath them. Also, this causes a tidal wave to smash into New York City (we can't really remember why, and frankly, it doesn't matter), where Sam and his friends take refuge in a public library. Jack decides to head North, into the storm, to rescue his son, though it seems highly improbable his presence will do anything to stop the extreme sub-zero temperatures. But damn it, he's got to try something.

At the end of the movie, the storms dissipate, and the Earth has corrected itself after man raped its resources and tried to boil it over.

Dennis Quaid plays Jack, Jake Gellynhaal plays Sam, Emmy Rossum plays the love interest. CGI plays "cold," and should win an oscar for it.

CRACKED Analysis:

They run from cold temperatures. If that doesn't make every neuron in your head explode, you're not likely to pass elementary science class. They literally have an entire scene devoted to the kids running while everything behind them and around them begins to freeze over, including walls and the ground beneath their feet. Then they're saved by running into a room and closing a door, where a fire is being sustained by burning more books than an illiterate Nazi. Fire burns at 412 degrees fahrenheit (thanks Ray Bradbury), and it's said earlier in the movie that these storms freeze wires that won't freeze until -150 degrees fahrenheit. We're not scientists, but we're pretty sure the whole Q=m*c*dt equation is going to tell us the air around fire is still going to be way too cold to not turn everyone into fashionably late guests to the Donner Party.

But that doesn't beat the scene where Jack saves himself by going into a Wendy's (HELLO PRODUCT PLACEMENT) and saves himself by turning on the gas flames. Those things won't keep you warm if the temperature dips below 65, but they'll save his life here no problem.

And don't get us started on the whole wolf sequence. It has no place in this movie, at all, but Emmerich decided the film really lacked his characters running from something they could actually physically run from, and decided two wolves who escape from their cell should chase Sam. Yeah, it's pretty stupid.

So if that doesn't convince you to see this movie, we don't know what will, because it's go to be the greatest movie ever released. The science is laughably terrible, it has a sanctimonious air about it, there's a hokie scene where a guy cuts the rope to save his friends because his weight is dragging them down.... What more do you want in a movie?

10,000 B.C. (2008)

What The Characters Run From:

Positive reviews and an effective use of anachronism. It's better for Emmerich and everyone else if we forget that this movie exists. Moving on.

2012 (2009)

What The Characters Run From:

EVERYTHING. Specifically, giant cracks forming sinkholes in the Earth, an occasional tidal wave, and a bout of Lava with falling rocks.

What Icons Get Destroyed:

ALL OF THEM. Literally. All of them. Emmerich must have looked at a checklist and saw what he had destroyed in his previous movies and thought, "Okay. Let's just knock the rest out now."

Including the White House. Again.

The Scientific Explanation:

The sun is emitting, um, extra neutrinos... which... they... um... they hit the Earth and... it...they.... You know what? Fuck it. It doesn't matter. The world is going to start eating itself. I don't need a goddamn explanation to do it. Base it around a popular misconception about the Mayans and roll with it.

The Plot:

Seriously? You want to do this? Okay.

The world starts falling about. Jackson Curtis is a divorced father who saves his family and his wife's new boyfriend in some beyond absurd situations using less than useful vehicles for this kind of extreme driving. There's a scientist who warns everybody about it, gigantic boats are made to save 400,000 people (some of who buy their way on), people die, and yet you laugh because the circumstances are so awesomely bizarre.

John Cusack plays Jackson Curtis, Amanda Peet plays his ex wife, Woody Harrelson plays the lunatic who "knew it was coming the whole time, man, it's like a conspiracy." Then there are other characters, but CGI makes a return appearance, this time playing "absolute destruction."

CRACKED Analysis:

This movie tried to compete with "UP" for best animated film of the year. It had a huge budget, which is apparent by the fact that 95% of the movie is special affects, a fact which really pushes the limits of the world "special." Emmerich should probably just change his terminology so they're now just "effects." LA gets absolutely decimated (he got tired of blowing up New York) while Jackson drives a limo through the destruction like Mario Andretti drove in the Indianapolis 500. The 'new boyfriend' is a plastic surgeon who is conveniently getting his pilot's license, which allowed Emmerich to let him fly planes he would be nowhere capable of flying (told you he did this more than once). We also get no less than three scenes of airplanes hurrying to take off of a crumbling runway (good thing the ground always started falling from behind the plane), and two scenes of Jackson Curtis driving some sort of large vehicle (limo and RV) in a way there's no way he actually could, and making some sort of daring leap across a giant crevice. Originality was not strong with this one, though it was pretty sweet seeing the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier crush the White House while riding a gigantic tidal wave (Emmerich must just jizz at the thought of tsunamis).

It has some great cheesy, Emmerich moments though, so get ready to feel inspired at selfless sacrifice. Also, Curtis wrote a book that had about 20 copies in circulation, which just happened to inspire the brilliant scientist who discovered the whole thing. How touching.

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