Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser were announced back in 2015 as the composers for the new Independence Day film Resurgence. This came as a massive surprise, and for many diehard fans not to have David Arnold returning to the franchise was a major downside to the new film’s anticipated release. However, both Wander and Kloser have been involved with director Roland Emmerich before, including for 2012 and 10,000BC and many directors like to stick to composers who they know can provide the style and sound they want.
In 1996, David Arnold was riding high on the success of his score for Stargate (for which one hopes he is involved in the reboot), and his score really made Independence Day the film of the decade back for me and many others. Its use of memorable themes and haunting orchestral horns was something that the new film really needed to connect with and Wander and Kloser have brought the new film’s soundtrack into the modern day style of scoring. We’ve still got the 1996 themes from Arnold including the classic ‘Jolly Roger’, as well as the screaming horns used when the spaceships in the original arrived. The new score has all that and the composers’ own themes added.
I love the modern bass ripping synth sounds within this score which you hear very dominantly in the trailer to the film. The composers have kept a very classic orchestral style but added atmospheric choral and synths. We’ve also got upper octave piano playing, giving it something of an X-Files feel.
Whilst the soundtrack score is absent any particular themes devoted to the newer characters it uses Arnold’s style of writing, particularly for President Whitmore or when the alien crafts arrive. The new age feel to the score as well is great with a mythical and magical side present in tracks like ‘Fear’, a style you would associate more with James Horner.
Another particular favourite is ‘What Goes up’ as it heavily features the cellos and basses playing the opening theme used in the original ID4 score track ‘The Darkest Day’. The high end strings that accompany the on-screen pictures of London being destroyed have a very distinct ID4 feel and make sure you know this is Independence Day’s sequel you are watching.
A common downside of films these days is not sticking to established films’ iconic themes (Man of Steel, Batman Vs Superman, Dark Knight for instance). ‘ID4 Reprise’ on the album is the end credits music and it’s great to hear Arnold’s anthem back on the big screen and here on the album. It’s a new recording with hardly any differences except the last couple of bars, and the flutes were a little more forward in the original, but other than that this one is all Arnold but it’s a shame it’s only 2 minutes 38 seconds. The original ID4 end credits were a total of 9 minutes 10 seconds.
I was lucky to hear this prior to seeing the film and it reignited my love for the franchise and built anticipation for Independence Day: Resurgence purely from hearing Arnold’s themes used within the score.
The album also contains two sung tracks: “Electric U” by Kid Bloom and “(Bang Bang) My Baby Shot Me Down” by Sonny Bono, sung by French singer, Annie Trousseau.
Wander and Kloser have done a good job here continuing Arnold’s work. I would be interested to hear an extended ‘Film version’ score some day and also let’s hope if there is a third movie that it continues to use these themes and establish new ones.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of soundtrack music scores this is a must for your collection. 9/10