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Blu-ray Review: Fight Club
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Fight Club
10th Anniversary Edition – Blu-ray
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Edward Norton, Brad Pit, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf
Twentieth Century Fox
Release Date: November 17, 2009

The tail end of the 90s was branded with a profound exclamation point, dealing with existentialism, fractured identities, and mindsets that were convoluted and shifty. People asked questions such as who are we? What good are we? Are we constructed socially or does man possess the capability of reasoning? Weeding out all impurities that blockade us; insulating us from conceptualizing what and who we truly are, and trying to summon back the primitive man by exhibiting symptoms of commercialism (IKEA) and materialism (khakis), Fight Club is sending crushing blows to the entire consumerist establishment that claims they know what is best for humanity. By anesthetizing society? Or by genetically breeding humans to behave like wild consumers who negate their true passions to conform to what society wants them to be? As audacious as this all sounds Fight Club is direct and impactful in its way of conveying this message. Uncompromising in its ability to take us to uncharted territories, a raw and unforgettable experience is dished out.

This vicious, yet revolutionary, assault is not presented in a soft and snug manner. The spokesperson for this radical movement, revolutionist Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), acknowledges consumerism with arms outspread. Once within his grasp he turns it into a burden, making a materialistic individual, our narrator (Edward Norton), realize that materialism has the tendency to make the human soul rot, decay and then wither away. Not fulfilling or sustaining it as the ads claim to do.

The power of Fight Club is how director David Fincher and Mr. Pitt can persuade its audience in agreeing with their vision and beliefs. The two are not only brainwashing our narrator but they are doing the same to us. A film garners prevalence when it is capable of jumping off the screen and nourishing reality with its unique, revelatory and dystopian ideas. The film’s force is so overwhelming that it coerces us to look at the world in an entirely different way. A film with this much range and littered with mind-bending ideologies which know no boundaries exists, naming it a subversive piece of art will be common. Just do not judge it quickly and repress it. Fight Club needs to be seen, not to be reduced.

Along with Tyler’s influence the narrator is encouraged to form an underground club that specializes in men beating each other senseless. Those who make up this fight club are individuals who are addicted to pills, specialized support groups and rely their entire being on materialistic objects. These are men who are drones every waking hour of their lives. They do not know how to ask this question: What happened to the self?

Reducing Fight Club as a film that applauds bare-chested men pounding each others faces would result with the film loosing its essence. As disturbing as it may seem watching lost men hit each other for stimulation is a powerful expression. They want beaten up so they can WAKE up. It is the only true primitive remedy that can stir man into doing what is expected of him: Living without any shackles. Tyler and the narrator create the club because it is an outlet. In early 20th century literature man finds himself attracted to another man quite frequently. Not in a sensual sense but in a deeply friendly way that exceeds sensuality and reaches a celestial plateau. Their attraction to one another supports their needs and desires that no woman could ever do (in the film Marla, played by Helena Bonham Carter, cannot understand our narrator’s yearnings).

Fight Club is a perfect story about liberation and limitations; what man would like to believe about themselves and their nation as well. This is not a feeble or timid attempt by Chuck Palahniuk (who is the author of Fight Club) or Fincher to merely expose society as representing mega-consumerism. Their attempt is a lethal one that strikes the marrow of the bone, always intensifying as the film builds toward its climax.

Once the completion of the critique on society has been fully depicted and realized the film analyzes a single identity that has lost touch with reality. This sub-idea has to do with the battle between an individual and his own soul. The biggest and most threatening enemy is not society (as we see the narrator begins to critique his own revelatory ideas) it is our self. Mr. Fincher has taken a novel and made it holy, a significant piece of cinema that gives vision and life to words and ideas that were not fully realized until seen on screen. How he acknowledges human beings who depend for substance on materialistic entities, monopolized businesses but their own independent exertions is beyond my thinking.

Bonus Features

Special Features: Commentary by Director David Fincher, Commentary by David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter, Commentary by Chuck Palahniuk and Jim Uhls, Technical Commentary by Alex McDowell, Jeff Cronenweth, Michael Kaplan and Kevin Haug

Behind-the-Scenes; SD: commentary tracks on numerous little vignettes each detailing, specifically, the film’s technical progression. The most notable is how they were able to shoot a specific sex scene.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes; SD: Seven deleted scenes. Not that many changes can be pointed out. When Tyler leaves our narrator proves to be the best alternate scene.

Publicity Material: Trailers, TV and Internet spots, music video and art galleries. There is a PSA that is definitely worth checking out. You can read it and shift through the pages via Blu-Ray remote. Edward Norton presented an interesting article about violence and media at his Alma mater at Yale University.

Blu-Ray Special Features:

A Hit in the Ear; HD: A Blu-Ray interactive feature that allows you to listen to sound designer Ren Klyce and take notes how he gave the punches in Fight Club an authentic sound. After you listen to his methods and go through the tutorial you are allowed to construct your own sounds in certain scenes of the film. Even re-mixing audio in one scene with another is possible. Scenes that allow this feature are: Angel Face’s Beating, The Crash, Kudzu Vine Speech. The presentation menu is a bit confusing and can take awhile to get used to. Interjecting new sounds within a particular scene can be amusing but not for a long period of time.

Flogging Fight Club; HD: 10 min – Mel Gibson introduces Fight Club to the Guy Movie Hall of Fame. Fincher, Pitt, and Norton are present and they give an amusing acceptance speech (reading reviews from critics that bashed the movie on its initial release). By far the best feature on the disc.

Insomniac Mode: I am Jack’s Search Index; A commentary guide that allows us to view the topics being discussed in each of the four commentaries in real time. You have the ability to witch between commentary tracks during the film to pursue the discussion topics that most interest you.

High-Definition: Fight Club is presented in a 1080p transfer and it delivers on every occasion, easily putting the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD out of commission. Prior to this Blu-Ray transfer the film maintained a gritty, fuzzy, and all too dark vision flare. Granted the film is supposed to send off vibes of despair but the quality of the picture did not match up to the film’s intense and visceral characteristics. Now we can see the clarity and truth that the film has been hiding for all these years. The brutality is emphasized more. We see the different hues of blood, see Tyler’s vibrant wardrobe and see the despair within their home on Paper Street. All blacks are as crisp as they can be. The film almost entirely takes place at night. Every night scene, whether in a dark basement or a moonlit parking lot, the black coloring is consistent throughout. The shocking clarity is unforgettable. Being able to detect minor details (sweat, facile hair and details of a worn down home) makes this transfer a chilling masterpiece, worthy of anyone who is a fan of the film.

Movie: **** out of ****
Special Features: *** out of ****
High Definition Quality: **** out of ****

Verdict: OWN IT

5 Comments »

  1. I could not agree more!!!
    One of the best.
    Excellent review.

    Comment by Jerry — December 2, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  2. I think you totally missed the point trying to come off as enlightened there bub. Its quite simple, man is an animal and functions best in the wild; free from constraint and conformity living as a hunter/gatherer in a tribal unit. The was a time when men were men and women were women, now men in true sense are rare and women are losing there feminity trying to fill the gapping whole left from a lack of true men.

    Comment by korollocke — December 2, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

  3. As a woman I’d point out that things weren’t exactly peachy when we had “true men” whatever that is.

    But anyway, I wanted to say this was a nice review that conveys the power and complexity of Fight Club. I did not know what to expect the first time I watched this movie, and I found it absolutely riveting. This movie has stuck with me over the years more than other movies as I continually think about it. So many little things from the script are always popping up in life. I shudder every time I see handmade soap. I revisit Tyler’s criticism of the oxygen masks on the airplane every time I fly. It’s a great movie with lots of profound points about the primitive cravings of men that go unsatisfied, as the other commenter pointed out, and it functions on higher levels as a criticism of society that focuses on the trivial while doing nothing for the spirit.

    Comment by Tracy Falbe — December 3, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

  4. We haven’t had true women for several decades, things have become so blurred as to who plays what role we lost ourselves. stinks for everybody. A true actually provided for his family, had strong sense of self got things done, didn’t care a bout being stylish, hip, cool, or being in vogue. Always put family above there own wants and needs,work 12 plus hours a day doing back breaking labor,and were totally selfless: would even go hungry just to be sure there famlies were well feed and never complained about it. That didn’t or wouldn’t please you? You want a selfish sloppy winey mommas boys you have to support who just lays around getting nothing accomplished without any ambition what so ever? Would that be “peachy”?

    Comment by korollocke — December 4, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  5. Also alot of this was about channeling the id and innermost self to be who you really are unrepressed and unrestrained by a self imposed conformity brought on by a society that expects and demands you must be a certain way to be accepted into the herd.

    Comment by korollocke — December 4, 2009 @ 9:28 pm

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