When 'Independence Day', Roland Emmerich's film about a massive alien assault on Earth and the human race, hit theaters in 1996, it was an immediate hit. This was due, in no small part, to the bombastic, patriotic, military-inspired score by David Arnold, which both captured some of the meaning behind the 4th of July and the very human determination to survive - no matter what. The full score, with over 70 minutes of previously unreleased cues, is presented here in chronological order - something soundtrack buffs greatly appreciate.
Arnold's style is similar to that of Alan Silvestri, who scored 'Van Helsing' and 'Predator'; he uses low brass, percussion & low strings to create an atmosphere of dread and even terror in such tracks as 'Destroyers disengage'; as the film shows the multiple city-sized alien destroyers deploying from the mother ship to their various targets, Arnold uses low trombones, French horns and a distinct choir theme which conveys the sheer size & deadly threat the destroyers present. In 'Russell Casse-Pilot', a patriotic trumpet cue is used as we are introduced to cheerful, alcoholic, crop-dusting pilot and former Vietnam vet Russell Casse (Randy Quaid) as he crop-dusts the wrong field in a biplane. 'First sighting/AWAC Attack' is a chilling track that uses cello/viola/violin at the start, as a USAF AWAC plane follows a signal through a fog, tracking the alien destroyer off the California coast. The tone quickly changes as the visibility clears, to a frightening French horn cue as the AWAC plane meets a massive wall of fire the destroyer has used to conceal itself. A panicked burst of strings & brass follows as the pilots try to pull the plane up & out of its path, then the track ends abruptly as we see on-screen the terrible fate of the men working in that aircraft. 'Base Attack' starts with a forlorn trumpet theme as Capt. Hiller (Will Smith) leads a USMC group of F-18s toward the destroyer centered above the remains of downtown Los Angeles. The track changes to a low trumpet motif as the target is sighted and the pilots receive orders to fire at will, then changes again to an alarming French horn motif as the pilots are forced to pull up to avoid the destroyer's massive shield. A fast-paced trumpet theme follows later in the track as Capt. Hiller and his wingman Jimmy (Harry Connick,Jr) find themselves pursued by alien fighters. 'Hide!/Russell's Packing' introduces us to the patriotic trumpet theme again, as the President (Bill Pullman), leading the assault on the alien destroyers, deploys his guns to take down the alien fighters and clear a path for Russell Casse to attack the destroyer's primary weapon. It also details Capt. Hiller & David's (Jeff Goldblum) frightening escape from the alien mother ship after uploading the virus to disable the destroyers' and fighters' shields. 'He did it' re-introduces the patriotic theme, as Casse does his kamikaze run into the destroyer's primary weapon, destroying the city-sized spaceship.
Certainly this is the most complete version of the Independence Day soundtrack. Deserving of a place in anyone's collection. This has a limited release of only 5000 and is becoming difficult to find, so get one before it goes out of print!