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Independence Day Resurgence (Harald Kloser, Thomas Wander)

July 29, 2016


Harald Kloser & Thomas Wander, 2016, Sony Classical
25 tracks, 51:14

Twenty years after the devastating alien terror attacks, they’re back. And this time they mean business! Will Kloser and Wander save the day with their music?

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

Sequel to Independence Day, one of the biggest movie blockbusters this side of the galaxy. It needed a sequel, badly! So many storylines left untold. What happened to the dog? What’s the background story to that crazy fella who, in the end, saved us all? Did the aliens finally install a firewall and some anti-malware software on their systems?

Roland Emmerich returns to direct it. A whole bunch of cast members return. Sadly, David Arnold does not. Instead, though not unexpectedly, Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander provide the score.

What does it sound like?

It may come as a pleasant surprise that Resurgence does fit into the Independence Day universe, musically speaking. Kloser and Wander have put together an orchestral score that borrows various elements from David Arnold’s original. There’s a new main theme, but it is very obviously based on Arnold’s; and there are several motifs that have been re-used. I was expecting a more ‘modern’ affair, but Resurgence thankfully stays remarkably close to the sound and style of that first score. It’s a functional score with its heart in the right place. But… where Arnold’s score was full of energy, pizazz and some satisfyingly complex writing, Resurgence is much more simplistic and often feels lacklustre. Even when Arnold’s theme is quoted, it feels dumbed-down.

Most of the score alternates between suspense and quiet heroism. There are a few balls to the wall action cues. These include “More Stimulation”, “What Goes Up”, “Whitmore’s Choice” (which almost ventures off into Brian Tyler-land) and “Bus Chase”. They often feature swirling strings, powerful brass and percussive accents. Very much in line with Arnold’s work, and often utilising those accelerating and decelerating percussive effects. The composers keep these action cues melodic and that is what makes them quite exciting at times.

I mentioned a new main theme earlier. It’s first heard during “Great Speech” and you can almost imagine it as a counterpart to the original. It fits nicely into this movie’s universe (and even vaguely made me think of Deep Impact). There are nice little touches all over the place. A mystery-motif for echoing piano (“Great Speech” and “How Did They Get The Lights On?”); some Williams-esque flute-work in “Fear”; a few Goldsmithian and JNH-ish moments (it reminds me of Signs on more than one occasion).

Elsewhere, “The Friendly Ship”, “Welcome to the Moon”, “It’s Getting Real”, “Worth Fighting For” and “We Are Rich” are all thoroughly enjoyable cues.

Is it any good?

Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander’s Independence Day: Resurgence was always going to face an uphill struggle. David Arnold crafted an iconic score; and virtually nothing was ever going to compare favourably to it. I think even Arnold himself might have struggled.

Kloser and Wander have composed a score that stays reasonably faithful to the original style. It even borrows (or at the very least: hints at) some of the original material. On the whole it does sound a little bit more modern (with some trendy synths and percussion), but it’s still much closer to the original than I was expecting. It makes this a slightly awkward review, as it clearly shows that my expectations were pretty low (with all due respect to the composers). And it seems unfair to be surprised at the fact that it’s actually not bad. In fact, it’s a decent score. It’s much more listenable and enjoyable that most of today’s action/thriller scores that rely so heavily on drones and drumloops.

The only thing that really holds it back is its legacy. Arnold created a rich, complex and hugely satisfying score for the first film. By comparison, Kloser and Wander’s work feels light and somewhat simplistic. It’s missing the energy, the fun, and the depth of the original. It’s doing all the right things, and on occasion it does them well enough, but overall it’s just lacking a little bit of enthusiasm.

Rating [3/5]


1. Travelling Through Space
2. Great Speech
3. Hostile Territory
4. How Did They Get the Lights On?
5. Inside the African Ship
6. More Stimulation
7. Fear
8. The Friendly Spaceship
9. The Only Family I Got
10. Welcome to the Moon
11. What Goes Up
12. It’s Getting Real
13. Flying Inside
14. It’s a Trap
15. Worth Fighting For
16. The Sphere
17. The Queen is Leaving
18. Whitmore’s Choice
19. Humanity’s Last Stand
20. Bus Chase
21. We are Rich
22. Independence Day Resurgence Finale
23. ID4 Reprise
24. Electric U – Kid Bloom
25. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) – Annie Trousseau

Review (C) 2016 Synchrotones

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