Despite positive reviews, David Fincher’s now classic Fight Club limped around the box office. Although it recouped its budget when worldwide receipts were taken into account, the film wasn’t a rousing success until after it bowed out of theaters. The film grew in popularity and before you knew it found its way onto various top ten lists in terms of best movies, best quotes, and other such awards. In addition the film resides in the top twenty films on IMDb…no small feat, as it faces quite stiff competition amongst that list. The film was treated to various DVD releases over the years which were so loaded with content that any other release would just seem superfluous. Now, however, with the onslaught of Blu-ray, the film has been given a reason once again to hit the home video market with a tenth anniversary Blu-ray release that packs in all the old extras as well as some new ones.
A lonely, isolated thirty-something young professional in an unidentified, semi-stylized city, seeks an escape from his ordinary life with the help of a devious soap salesman. They find their release from the prison of reality through underground fight clubs, where men can be what the world denies them. The Fight Club: 10th Anniversary Edition BD is packed full of punches with all-new bonus materials including two interactive featurettes – “A Hit In The Ear: Ren Klyce and the Sound Design of Fight Club” which allows users to remix four key scenes themselves with the help of Oscar®-nominated sound designer Ren Klyce; and “Insomniac Mode: I Am Jack’s Search Index,” giving viewers the ability to access any part of the disc’s extensive bonus material via interactive tools. The BD also features behind-the-scenes with Fincher, Pitt and Norton as they accept the Guy Movie Hall of Fame honor for Fight Club at SPIKE TV’S 2009 GUYS CHOICE Awards, commentary by Fincher, Palahniuk, Pitt, Norton and Helena Bonham Carter, “Welcome To Fight Club” featurette, seven deleted scenes, a music video, photo gallery and much more.
Years back after seeing the film for the first time I was sorely tempted to jump out and immediately pick up the (then recent) Steelbook release for the film. But I hesitated. I knew the film would eventually find its way to Blu-ray and although it was such a great candidate for the format, Fox just seemed to hesitate releasing it. The thought of the film being ten years old in a few years hadn’t even occurred to me, but it apparently did to Fox who released the title on Blu-ray just a month after it celebrated its official tenth anniversary.
So here we are, with the Blu-ray in hand. Does the film feel any different? Nope. It’s still the same brutal, screw-with-your-head type outing that it was back in 1999. Thankfully even as I had taken so long to see the film, I didn’t have the ending spoiled for me (as Fincher, Pitt, and Norton lament on one of the discs many commentary tracks, that wasn’t the case for those who watched the Rosie O’Donnell show back before the film’s release) and that just made the result all the sweeter. Of course I watch so many movies each week and throughout the year that I rarely have time to revisit films I really enjoyed.
That means that watching this Blu-ray was only the second time I’d seen this film and while the visual and aural clarity was fantastic, it was the film itself that once again had me wrapped up in it. It’s such a mix of comical looks, gestures, and directing so crazy that only those who really fit the films audience could truly love. There are a few moments of fourth wall breaking and some brutal fights, but for as much as the film is advertised and focuses on the Fight Club aspect of it; rarely does that dominate the film. Instead it’s all about the Narrator and Tyler Durden’s journey through whatever crazy task they’ve set themselves with.
And watching the film again for the second time really lets you in on all the little “secrets” that pop up. All the instances where the Narrator and Durden are either in or out of frame together and just how it’s all set up. It’s quite an amazing little story to be woven together as tightly as it was and I’m glad that Fincher was able to get this film produced as it was. There were battles, as is chronicled over the course of the extras on this set, but overall Fincher’s piece got through mostly unscathed…and the film world is all the better for it.
The movie is a bit ridiculous, yes, and the whole point of it may get lost somewhere in the excessive violence and crazy visual effects, but it’s definitely something that sticks with you. I’m a sucker for mind-bender movies, whether it’s this or something like Memento, and even once the big “twist” plays out at the end, you can’t help but still enjoy the ride even on repeat viewings. Of course it doesn’t hurt if you have a 1080p transfer paired with a blasting DTS-HD MA track either. Either way you cut it, this film is Highly Recommended.
The disc itself arrives in a standard Eco Elite Blu-ray case without any inserts. A semi-gloss cardboard slipcover hangs out on the exterior of the set with a velco-like flap that boasts shots of Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter’s characters (the exterior is that of Norton). It’s not quite as nice looking as the two-disc DVD or Steelbook releases, but it’s quite enjoyable nonetheless. The menu system…well, there’s a little gag there that was engineered by Fincher himself, but it honestly isn’t all that surprising. I mean, yeah, you don’t expect what you get when you boot it up…but it’s also not that hilarious either. But hey…at least Fincher was involved with this release to the extent he wanted to fool with the fans once more.
Video is an AVC encoded 1080p transfer that…well, it looks gorgeous. The way the film was shot meant a ton of grain and a generally “ugly” picture, but it really just fits the film. Cleaning it up would be a huge disservice and while the film gains quite a bit of texture detail, the films so dark most of the time it’s not something that you will immediately notice. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, on the other hand, will catch your attention right from the start. The opening credits are tossed all about the room, the LFE is ever-active with some kind of sound effect thumping you in the chest and the surrounds are really well done for the entire duration of the film. They popped in at all the right moments and just made the whole listening experience that much more entertaining.
Extras are mostly carry-overs from the previous two-disc releases but there are a few new pieces. The breakdown is as follows:
A Hit In The Ear: Ren Klyce and the Sound Design of Fight Club (interactive piece)
o Welcome To Fight Club
o Angel Faces Beating
o The Crash
o Kudzu Vine Speech
Flogging Fight Club (9:58, 1080i) – Spike Awards bit w/ behind the scenes footage
Insomniac Mode: I Am Jack’s Search Index, Commentary Log, Topic Search
Returning from the Previous DVD
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, The Eight Rules of Fight Club
12 TV Spots
Public Service Announcements
Five Internet Spots
Obviously the meat of the disc is all from the original release. The Sound Design segment is nice if a little over-convoluted in execution. But it has an intro with the sound designer from the film so it’s not just a “fluff” piece—it has some depth, but it has its own menu system and it really would’ve worked out nicer if it wasn’t so tedious to navigate. Still, it’s not bad and a bit more worthwhile than the “Insomniac Mode,” which is little more than a glorified dictionary of sorts. Actually it’s more like a wiki of Fight Club now that I think about it; not bad, but it’s just a summary of what you find on the disc itself for the most part. Finally the “Flogging Fight Club” piece is a nice bit from the Spike TV awards where the film was honored with an award. There’s some behind the scenes footage with Fincher, Norton, and Pitt as well, but it’s a fairly short piece. I would’ve liked a bit more “how it came to be” information behind it, but overall not bad.
And the rest…well, hell, there are four commentaries. What more could you possibly want? The disc itself is packed and while the 10th Anniversary may not offer a whole lot of new content that you haven’t seen before, for fans it’s still going to be Highly Recommended, if only for the fantastic sound mix and video transfer.
Fight Club – 10th Anniversary Edition is now available on Blu-ray.