Words cannot vividly express how honored and excited I am to be the recipient of the following Blu-ray disc and also to be selected to furnish a review of it. It’s literally a dream come true for me. To declare the following manuscript of confabulation a mere Blu-ray review would simply be misleading. Instead, think of it as a testament, according to the Book of Brian, to one of the greatest films ever made. “Clever, savagely witty and dark” are the catch phrase terms that Fox Public Relations people refer to Fight Club as. However, I prefer to think of it more as an imperial cultural phenomenon of modern times than as a 10-year film being released on the Blu-ray optical format for the first time. If I seem like I am embellishing, then that’s because I am. The 2 hour and 19 minute world of Fight Club is one of the most intellectual and eye opening experiences this 30+ year-old man boy has every encountered in life. It metaphorically removed the blinders I had donned my entire life and woke me up to other possibilities and alternate realities that I seem to have always neglected in my life and/or never really bothered to experience. And I owe it all to my friend Erin. C’mon! Let’s find out why.
I remember living in an apartment 10+ years ago and I had a roommate that was always a little more on the alternative side of life than myself. He came home one evening and emphatically professed about this film he had just seen in the theater with his girlfriend. That film was none other than Fight Club. Previously, I had seen the teaser trailer for the film and I thought how stupid, a movie about an organized underground boxing club. I could not have been more wrong in my thinking, but more about that in a bit. Months go by and upon the DVD release of the film I get a phone call from my buddy Erin. She asks me if I ever checked the film out. I promptly said no and I think my exact words were something like “no, that looks dumb” or “no, it looks like a complete waste of time.” I don’t know. I can’t remember my exact words, but I think you get the point. I was morally opposed to watching it for some strange reason. The weird thing about it was that I really knew nothing about it either.
After many unsuccessful meager attempts by Erin, hoping that I would change my mind and view the movie she had been watching at this point some 7 times a day, I finally could not tolerate the solicitations anymore, and therefore I conceded to a viewing. So one fine day, Erin showed up at my apartment door with a DVD of Fight Club and I had nowhere to run. I was forced to watch it. It was not the worst thing I ever watched, but it certainly was not the greatest either. I remember looking at my watch quite frequently thinking to myself “when is this slow moving drab ever going to be over?” Erin and I differ in many respects, but she was bewildered when the film credits rolled and I proclaimed that I did not care much for what I had just watched. After all, I could not let on to the fact that I liked something after I have been declaring it as nonsensical for so long. Could I? Call me stupid, call me naïve, but I was just so bummed when I found out the real identity of Tyler Durden. I was just so engrossed in the movie that I guess I did not even see it coming. Shows you how smart I am, eh? But anyway, as I mentioned prior, up until this point I had been wearing my blinders for the duration of my life thus far and something this groundbreaking and revolutionary was not going to easily conquer me without a struggle/battle.
The battle within ensued for the next several weeks as I found myself unable to focus on the tasks at hand and always thinking about the film. I wondered if I went back and revisited the movie would a particular scene now make sense and what about the other ones. I remembered the catch phrases as I caught myself actually using some of them in real life. Whenever I would speak one I would instantly feel an overwhelming sense of denial come over me as I could not believe I was letting this movie get to me so much. I mean after all, it’s just a movie. Right? It absurdly got to the point where Fight Club was all that was on my mind and I knew a repeat viewing at this point would be compulsory. Throwing caution to the wind I went up to Circuit City and immediately purchased the 2-disc DVD set of Fight Club and the next chapter of my life began. Self-awareness of one’s flaws is a powerful weapon when harnessed right.
If you have never seen the film Fight Club, then please don’t be naïve and cast judgments, like I once did, and read too much into the movie’s title. Sure there are some fight scenes contained within, but the movie is so much more than that. The film is one of the most intellectual pieces of visual and spoken art that I have ever had the opportunity to witness. When I previously mentioned it as being a cultural phenomenon, of the past decade, I tell you know aspersions. The film taped my eyes wide-opened to a broad spectrum of society issues, that I either neglected at first or took for granted. Issues such as materialism and the way people struggle just to fit in and connect with other people, hit home for me. Although I do not always practice what I preach, at least I know where my weaknesses lie. Again, self-awareness to an underlying problem in one’s life is also the key to opening the gates to the road to recovery, should they choose that route.
With famous quotes like the ones I am about to share with you below it is hard to understand how someone could watch Fight Club and not go away a changed person in some respect. I hope after reading just a few of the below quotes, and believe me the movie is full of cerebral language, that you quickly begin to realize the massive cultural battles that Fight Club chooses to take on and the practical real world applications the movie’s symbolism can serve as. This movie has to be a favorite of professional mental health specialists. Here are just a few examples of my favorite quotes from the film to whet your appetite.
“F#$% off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.”
“First you have to give up, first you have to *know*… not fear… *know*… that someday you’re gonna die.”
“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God da#$ it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy sh#$ we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. “
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f#$%ing khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing cr#$ of the world.”
“When people think you’re dying, they really, really listen to you, instead of just…instead of just waiting for their turn to speak?”
“A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.”
“Do you know what a duvet is? It’s a comforter…It’s a blanket. Just a blanket. Now why do guys like you and me know what a duvet is? Is this essential to our survival, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word? No. What are we then? …Consumers? Right. We are consumers. We’re the bi-products of a lifestyle obsession.”
“Everywhere I travel, tiny life. Single-serving sugar, single-serving cream, single pat of butter. The microwave Cordon Bleu hobby kit. Shampoo-conditioner combos, sample-packaged mouthwash, tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight? They’re single-serving friends.”
“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.”
“Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat. It’s not a godd#$% seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go! LET GO!”
Fight Club is adapted from the 1996 novel, of the same name, by Chuck Palahniuk. It is rumored that the story was inspired and written over seven years worth of conversations taking place with fellow bar patrons. Acclaimed filmmaker David Fincher who is also famous for Seven and most recently, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed the film. The movie stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and despite what anyone else may say the beautiful Helena Bonham Carter. Despite its strong eccentric cult following of today, the film only made modest earnings at the box office. That’s their loss. Fight Club is right where it belongs now. It’s readily available, for all to see, in its finest presentation ever on the Blu-ray home entertainment optical format.
For anyone who has been living a sheltered life and has not seen the film I would like to provide a very quick synopsis of a 14,000 feet view of what Fight Club is all about. You can’t really go into much detail without giving significant plot spoiling details away so here goes nothing. In 200 words or less Fight Club is about a thirty-something year old young professional who suffers from insomnia while proverbially and mentally lost in an unidentified way of life, thinking and failed coping mechanisms. He has an utter disgust for corporate hypocrisy and finds release in a shocking, especially for him, new form of therapy, which ultimately helps him deal with everyday life. He ultimately devises a way in which men can be what the world denies them. This provides him and his followers an escape from the stresses and monotony of everyday life. Doesn’t that sound like something we all need every once in awhile when the going gets tough and it unfortunately stays tough? As we all know, a solution, such as the one I just described above, usually sounds too good to be true and most often than not usually comes with ill wanted side effects. Such is the mounting pressure that our young professional will have to overcome to find out just who he really is and what’s most important out of life. Wow! That makes me want to watch it again right now!
If you want proof that Fight Club is nothing short than a cultural phenomenon, then look no further to here and check out the exclusive parties thrown in both New York City and Los Angeles, this past Tuesday night, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the film’s theatrical release. They don’t do that for all movies you know. Fight Club: 10th Anniversary Edition arrived on the Blu-ray format on November 17th packed full of punches with all-new bonus materials, interactive experiences and best of all the best sound and picture. Fight Club has never looked and sounded this good. If you are not too exhausted by my college thesis above, then let’s take a closer look at all the Blu-ray has to offer and most importantly, its vitals.
Fight Club’s 1080P AVC MPEG-4 video encode is a remarkable upgrade over its DVD counterpart. The film is gorgeously framed and presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Unlike the DVD releases, the black levels are perfectly solid with very minimal use of grain. There are no visible signs of dirt and scratches. I only saw a few white specks here or there, but nothing I would ever ding the score for. What stands out the most to me, compared to the DVD I wore out watching multiple times before, is the incredible level of detail in every shot, whether it is the side of the Paper Street house or the acne scars in Brad Pitt’s thirty-something young face. Every drop of blood, minuscule bead of sweat and out of place strand of hair is accounted for here. The only reason the video transfer does not get a perfect score of five is simply because of its age. The dark and rugged look of Fight Club will never look as good as the big screen hits of today, but that’s not the intention here anyway. There are a few soft focused shots here and there, but this transfer is still darn near perfect in capturing the essence and mood that is undeniably Fight Club. I fell in love with the film all over again on the Blu-ray format. This Blu-ray will be getting a lot of spins. I can’t wait to show Erin the vivid, fine and incredibly textured detail oriented images the Blu-ray disc has to offer. She will definitely be going out to buy a Blu-ray player this Black Friday. Make no mistakes here ladies and gentlemen; you can’t achieve this quality on the DVD format.
If the video is nearly flawless, then the Blu-ray’s DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio surround audio track is simply a ravishing work of art. You could hear a needle drop in the audio track if Mr. David Fincher wanted you to. You will be completely surrounded and entrenched in the middle of Fight Club‘s unidentifiable world as everything is thrown at you from all audible angles including the masterful techno soundtrack of The Dust Brothers, the ambiguous deliverance of the famous one-liners, the brutal bone breaking punches, the slightest nuisances of whispers and sound effects and more. Did you notice I did not even mention the thunderous bass yet? All I have to say, I can express in a three-letter text message shorthand phrase…OMG! Do you remember the one scene where Edward Norton is in the airplane and the plane crashes? Even if you remember exactly where that scene is put your seatbelt on anyway. The thunderous explosion from that effect will knock you out of your co-pilot seat and into the general boarding area if you are not careful with the level of your audio system’s master volume control. Be warned! This Blu-ray surround track is definitely demo reference quality and deserves nothing less than a perfect score of 5. Enjoy this one!
The Fight Club: 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray includes two all-new Blu-ray exclusive interactive featurettes and a behind-the-scenes look at Spike TV’s 2009 Guy Choice Awards and much more. Of course, the extensive package of supplemental materials, from the former Standard DVD release, can also be found housed within the BD-50 layer disc. Now that’s packing a punch! There’s nothing like taking advantage of Blu-ray’s extensive storage capabilities. You are going to get your money’s worth here. The only downfall, as can be expected, is that all the DVD ports are in Standard Definition only. Hey, you can’t always have cake and ice cream too. Plus there’s also my ongoing beef with those ridiculous catalog Blu-ray eco cases, but don’t get me started on that. But hey folks…seriously…there’s a long list of special features to cover so let’s get going.
- * NEW * A Hit In The Ear: Ren Klyce and the Sound Design of Fight Club (HD) – This featurette allows users to remix four key scenes themselves with the help of Oscar-nominated sound designer Ren Klyce.
- * NEW * Insomniac Mode: I Am Jack’s Search Index – The other interactive featurette here gives viewers the ability to access any part of the Blu-ray disc’s extensive bonus material via interactive search tools.
- * NEW * Flogging Fight Club (HD) – This 10-minute featurette is a combination of excerpts and behind-the scenes footage taken from Spike TV’s 2009 Guy’s Choice Awards show.
The following special features are ported over from the previous DVD releases. They are all in Standard Definition with the exception of the audio commentary tracks.
- Behind the Scenes Vignettes: Production, Visual Effects, On Location
- Edward Norton Interview
- Commentary by David Fincher
- Commentary by David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter
- Commentary by Chuck Palahniuk and Jim Uhls
- Commentary by Alex McDowell, Jeff Cronenweth, Michael Kaplan and Kevin Haug
- Seven Deleted Scenes and Alternate Scenes
- Trailer Farm – Theatrical Teaser, Theatrical Trailer and The Eight Rules of Fight Club
- 12 TV Spots
- Public Service Announcements
- Music Video – This one has always been a favorite of mine over the years.
- Five Internet Spots
- Promotional Gallery
- Art Gallery
I don’t need to shoot a monkey into space to make anyone realize why this is the definitive edition of Fight Club. Audio/Video purists of the world unite and look no further than Fight Club: 10th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray disc. This is an exemplary paragon of what catalog titles should look like on the Blu-ray format. The Blu-ray package from Fox features one of film’s most intellectual stories ever told, a video encode you can count the nose hairs in, a thunderous bass drum kicking your lazy arse out of the seat and a special features package that will keep you busy for hours on end. There’s no denying that this is why God created Blu-ray. And best of all, its not just any ordinary Blu-ray, its Fight Club on Blu-ray! “If you don’t claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned.” – Tyler Durden
Bring home Fight Club today!