Friday, October 31, 2014

Fight Club

The first rule of Fight Club is to write a blog about the 10th anniversary BluRay release on the film's 15th anniversary! Time flies, as I cannot believe it has already been 15 years since Fight Club (trailer) hit theaters in 1999 when I was a junior in high school. Needless to say, the film came out at an impressionable time for me and it made quite an impact. It was one of the first films I bought on DVD while I anxiously awaited the release of my first DVD player that was the PS2. When I got my first apartment shortly after high school, me and my roommate must have watched Fight Club for what seemed like once a month for the year we had the place. I have never watched it again until a few nights ago when I pulled out the anniversary BluRay out of the backlog box.

Fight Club is based on the cult hit book of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. I ended up tracking down the novel and went on to read a majority of Palahnuik's other books in the years since. Palahnuik writes a lot of gripping mystery/thrillers, so I was ecstatic to learn later on that the specialist for this genre in film, David Fincher was the director attached to Fight Club. Edward Norton plays Jack, a man struggling with insomnia until he starts joining support groups for other diseases he does not have as a way to fight the insomnia. He then has an ugly confrontation with Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) who also attends all of the groups, which winds up to Jack abandoning the support groups and starting his own called Fight Club with his new best buddy Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). Things spin out of control wildly from there as Fight Club blows up across the country.

All these years later I still love Fight Club as much as I did in high school. It is only fitting that I re-watched this a couple weeks after I saw Fincher's latest film, Gone Girl. Fincher has a unique way he crafts his films by jumping around from scene to scene and catching me off guard when a film is taking place, and from which perspective, and the general timeline of the movie. This leads to picking up on little hints and clues on repeat viewings that usually go over my head initially. His style tends to lead to a grander sense of mystery where the film's big reveal or turning point make a far bigger impact on me than most others. In hindsight, I should have seen Fight Club's big reveal coming all along, and the film even kind of pokes at you for not being up to snuff on it too in a slight breaking of the fourth wall.

A few things I took away from the film all these years later is I love the general cinematography of Fight Club. It has a raw, gritty feel from beginning to end. I love the that a majority of the scenes are shot at night, and for whatever reason it is almost always raining. I think FOX went above and beyond making Tyler's dump of a house true to the book. The fights are appropriately bloody and gruesome compared to the average fight scenes in other flicks. Throughout the movie Jack and Tyler are constantly spouting out their words of wisdom as Fight Club grows, and it just blends in perfectly with the dark tone of the film.

I was a little bummed FOX did not go above and beyond for the BluRay release in terms of new extra features. When I traded in my old DVD release, I kept the collectible booklet that came with it because the BluRay did not have it, and its collection of interview quotes from the cast, crew and critics of the film is the closest thing I am going to get to a behind-the-scenes look on the film. All of the extras from the DVD release made their way to the BluRay, including a bunch of deleted/alternate scenes with commentary and I think Fight Club has the record for most versions of its own trailer it has on a home video release. Other than that there is a bunch of assorted b-roll footage taken between shots of the movie while parts of crew provide commentary on what it was like setting up specific scenes of the movie.

There are only two new extras to the BluRay, one is a sound mixer which allows you to make some unique audio mashups of certain scenes of the film, but I have never been a fan of these alternate angle features before and just avoided it all together. Flogging Fight Club is a fun ten minute excerpt of Fincher, Pitt and Norton accepting a meaningless Spike TV award of Fight Club being inducted into the 'guy movie hall of fame,' on the film's 10th anniversary. The host is a pre-psycho Mel Gibson. Fincher, Pitt and Norton have some fun accepting the award and take some harmless jabs at Spike TV for their unique award show. The big behind-the-scenes fan in me would have loved a grand making of special to be added to the extras, but unfortunately that booklet I kept from the DVD and the many commentaries will have to suffice instead.

The original four, yes four commentaries from the DVD make their way to the BluRay, but in a unique fashion. There is a new "Insomniac Mode" on the BluRay which displays a menu on the screen with all four commentary tracks available, and a little subject bar underneath each commentary track listing on what each commentary track is currently talking about. I watched the movie again and loved this feature as I jumped around a lot and it helped cover up random dead spots during the various commentaries. I remember originally listening to the Fincher, Pitt, Norton and Carter commentary, so this time I mostly listened to the track with just David Fincher and the track with Palahnuik and the screenplay writer, Jim Uhls. It is a great feature, and in the rare instance of other movies having more than two commentaries available I highly hope they take a page out of "Insomniac Mode."

As I alluded to in the intro, I originally saw Fight Club right when it came out way back when I was 16. The film hit at the right time for me to identify with its "fuck the system" mentality and to go to be your own person and stand up against bosses you have hated for years. So yeah, I may not have the most unbiased perspective of this film, which only makes me love this movie even more all these years later. I was worried I still had those rose colored glasses still on all these years later, but Fight Club still is as much of a great watch as it was 15 years ago.

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

21 Jump Street
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Bounty Hunters
Captain America: The First Avenger
Field of Dreams
The Fighter
Good Will Hunting
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Source Code
Veronica Mars

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