Blu-ray Disc review by Tim Salmons of The Digital Bits
Fight Club: 10th Anniversary Edition
1999 (2009) - 20th Century Fox
Released on Blu-ray on November 17th, 2009
Also available on DVD
Film Rating: A
Video (1-20): 18
Audio (1-20): 20
"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."
David Fincher's modern masterpiece Fight Club hardly needs an introduction. One can hardly measure the amount of testosterone, angst, and brutal fortitude that this film exudes. It's so grimy and primordial that many years after its release, the ripple effect of its power can still be felt within cinema itself. A hard-nosed anti-establishment character study with a slight touch of love story thrown in, it became an instant cult classic upon release and established David Fincher as a filmmaking force to be reckoned with. He had enjoyed moderate success with the stylish horror-thriller Se7en a few years prior, but it was Fight Club that truly put him on the filmmaking map. Many films after Fight Club tried to capitalize on Fincher's visual mechanics and style, but none were as successful at it. Engineered with a locomotive narrative and an over-the-top storyline (thanks in no small part to Chuck Palahniuk's original novel), the film still stands its ground and delivers a head-thumping the likes of which no one had seen before.
For Fox's 10th Anniversary Edition BD release, they've really put together a terrific package. This release outshines the original DVD in nearly every category, especially in the A/V department. For starters, we get an extremely sharp-looking transfer. There's a stable amount of grain throughout the movie that's a little heavier than usual, but maintaining a very film-like texture. The color palette is also much improved over its DVD counterpart with less haze and much cooler-looking colors - making the images feel a bit more natural. Additionally, more visual information is revealed, specifically on the left, right and bottom. Not an enormous amount, but noticeable enough upon comparison. While contrast is high enough to get the most out the visuals without jeopardizing them, they still tends to be a bit too dark at times. I completely understand that the film was stylistically meant to look dark and gritty, but I believe the presentation could have had a bit more light pumped into it. Comparing it to the original DVD release, it's clear enough to me that this is a significantly darker image. Despite this, it's still a terrific-looking picture. Painstaking effort was obviously put into it, but you may find yourself reaching for the remote to brighten it up a bit.
The audio, on the other hand, is absolutely remarkable, and a definite improvement from previous DVD releases. The fantastic sound design of the film is shown off to astounding effect. There are moments in the soundtrack that definitely blow you away volume-wise, while simultaneously there are those quiet moments that draw you in with the subtleties. You'll get an idea of what you're in for when The Dust Brothers' score kicks in during the opening credits. To be succinct, if this soundtrack doesn't have your neighbors bitching and complaining, I don't know what will. Five options are included: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (the best of the lot), English 2.0 Dolby Surround, French 5.1 DTS, and Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Being a region-free release, multiple subtitle options are included in English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, and Chinese.
The much-publicized Easter Egg of this disc is a very comical but false opening menu for Never Been Kissed, which transitions into the real menu: the 360 view of the apartment menu from the original DVD, but now also featuring the Paper Street house kitchen, as well. Unfortunately, the Easter Eggs from the original DVD release (a false ATTENTION screen that transitioned into a smiley face with Tyler Durden laughing in the background and the fake catalogue of Fight Club apparel) have not been carried over. It's not an enormous loss though, because everything else has.
It all begins with four audio commentary tracks (all subtitled): one with David Fincher; a second with Fincher, Ed Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter; a third with Chuck Palahniuk and Jim Uhls; and finally a fourth with Alex McDowell, Jeff Cronenweth, Michael Kaplan, and Kevin Haug. The featurette A Hit in the Ear: Ren Klyce and the Sound Design of Fight Club follows, which also includes the ability to tinker with the audio of four different scenes from the film. Very cool. Next is Flogging Fight Club, a hilarious bit on the movie receiving a "manly" award on Spike TV (hosted by none other than Mel Gibson in a Viking helmet). The Insomniac Mode is next, which is basically a search index that allows you to watch and/or listen to information about the film by topic from all of the commentaries, featurettes, and behind-the-scenes material included. The Behind-the-Scenes portion comes next, which is broken down into three categories: Production, Visual Effects, and On Location - all of which contain commentaries by various crew members. Ending the supplements are the Deleted & Alternate Scenes, Publicity Material and Art Gallery sections. Publicity Material contains theatrical trailers, PSA's and even the film's hilarious press kit. The Art Gallery features behind-the-scenes photos, lobby cards, pre-production artwork... lots of goodies. There's an enormous of amount of material in these sections to cull through, so you may want to set aside several hours to get through it all. :)
There isn't much more that can be said about the Blu-ray release of Fight Club, other than it's a release definitely worth picking up. Those who wish to hang on to their original DVDs just for the Easter Eggs also should definitely consider picking a copy, because this is a great opportunity to do so. With a staggeringly-cheap price tag (around $10, as of this writing), it makes it a deal way too good to pass up. Do not talk about Fight Club, but see it in high definition. Change-over.