This is one of my most favorite soundtracks. When the movie came out, I was unsure of whether I'd like it or not. After seeing it, I liked it immensely. However, it was the soundtrack by newcomer David Arnold that really stuck with me. It managed to lift what was a decent movie and make it into a great one-which is the highest compliment I can give it. But, let's delve into it a little deeper.
Like I said before, Stargate was the big debut for Arnold in the world of movie scoring. Having done the soundtrack to a small British film, Arnold was then tapped by director Roland Emmerich for his new science-fiction movie, Stargate. Working with the Sinfonia of London, Arnold then proceeded to turn in one of the strongest scores of the last ten years.
The music begins with the "Stargate Overture." Playing over the credits, the music sets up the main Stargate theme and deftly uses it as a lovely adventure piece before ending on a horror-movie streak of music. This also does set up the various dichotomies of the score. On the one hand, there is a lot of wide-eyed adventure music-much like the main theme. There's also a lot of action cues and music and, to top it all of, there is a dash of horror-movie style music in there as well.
From the "Stargate Overture," the first half of the album can be described as the adventurous side. Tracks like "Giza, 1928," "The Stargate Opens" and "Entering The Stargate" are full of adventure and wonder. There are even hints of romance with "Daniel And Shauri." This is the wide-eyed and wonder-filled side of the soundtrack. After all, everything is new and exciting. They are breaking codes, passing through space and meeting new civilizations.
However, with the track "Sarcophagus Opens," the track takes a quick turn into horror. From "Ra - The Sun God" to "Myth, Faith, Belief," the villains are set up and the music is filled with tense strings and a feeling of dread becomes prevalent. While it's only temporary, this is important to give the feeling and mood that the bad guys establish in the movie. Arnold capably captures that with his music.
From this point forward, the soundtrack becomes an action score. Tracks like "Slave Rebellion," "Battle At The Pyramid," and "Kasuf Surrenders" combine the Stargate theme with action music that comes just this close of rivaling the work of master composer John Williams. This is an amazing feat, considering that this was Arnold's second score ever. The final track, "Going Home" easily wraps the entire score and sends us off.
While Arnold has somewhat moved into a combination of traditional scoring with electronic sounds (like The World Is Not Enough), it's great to hear where he began. More than that, this is one of those scores that is full of adventure and action and is really enjoyable. While it is easy to knock the Emmerich/Dean Devlin movies, their choice of a composer cannot be questioned. Arnold's music easily lifts their movie.