With audiences standing up in cinemas to cheer the trailer, which showed such US landmarks as the Empire State Building and the White House being obliterated by giant flying saucers, "Independence Day" was never going to be anything else but a massive box-office hit.
A big budget updating of those classic SF features of the 1950s, which put the free world at the mercy of galactic bad guys and tapped into America's paranoia over Communist influence, the film made jug-eared rapper Will Smith an A-list star and inspired director Roland Emmerich and writer-producer Dean Devlin to go even bigger with their follow-up, "Godzilla".
However, once you've got past the über-explosions and the astonishing amount of vehicular, architectural, and airborne carnage, "ID4" is basically a boy's own adventure with soap opera elements that laughably has an entire species of technically superior aliens bested in all departments by good old Uncle Sam and his can-do spirit.
The build up is terrific, with enormous spaceships emerging from the clouds to hover silently over the world's major cities. Computer geek David Levison (Jeff Goldblum) smells a rat and urges President Thomas J Whitmore (Bill Pullman) to act before it's too late.
Several kabooms later, and it's up to maverick pilot Steven Hiller (Smith) to save the day with the help of a ragtag bunch of pilots. But not before President Pullman delivers a Fourth of July speech that must surely win the prize for the most jaw-droppingly pompous soliloquy ever delivered in a mainstream Hollywood movie.
"Independence Day" is on BBC1 at 8.30pm, 24th December 2000.