Independence Day

Independence Day ★★★½

Bill Gates may now be a philanthropist obsessed with trying to save the world but he has already saved civilisation once. Goldblum and Smith (a perfect lawyers firm name) once docked in an alien mothership and uploaded a virus using Windows '98, bypassing technology thousands of years more advanced. Still, how Word works remains a mystery.

Roland Emmerich shows no shame in relying on caricatures and stereotypes from start to finish, before finishing the film with the world saved by two men, one black, the other Jewish, after the father of a young Hispanic boy brought down the spaceship hovering over their city. We even get to see Smith and his girlfriend marry, the unification of a black family we rarely get to see in a mega-film like this, placed centre stage.

Amongst all the flying alien craft, American flags and gun-ho patriotism, the script does a very effective job of introducing a vast array of characters and keeping their stories prominent enough to let each emotion beat take reasonable effect. You could of course pick apart each improbable plot element but where would be the fun in that? The two hours plus seem right for once and the whole premise seems self-aware enough to know that it works best viewed at a cartoonish level. It is the pinnacle of 90's sci-fi madness and somehow shows that bigger and louder can sometimes work out for the best.

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