The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 139 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto
Directed by: David Fincher
Music by: The Dust Brothers
Written by: Jim Uhls based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 17, 2009
"Mischief. Mayhem. Soap"
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.
Fight club is based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. Edward Norton portrays the nameless narrator, a nebbish type who is discontented with his white-collar job, and IKEA designed apartment in American society. He suffers from severe insomnia and takes to attending nighttime support groups for cancer patients, addicts and the like. He finds that this helps release some of his internalized feelings and allows him to sleep. He meets Marla (Bonham Carter) a disheveled and dissolute woman that shares his interest in pretending to need group therapy, which he finds particularly annoying. Unfortunately his satisfaction with this is fleeting however his chance meeting with soap salesman Tyler Durden (Pitt).
Tyler is a narcissist who feels that material needs chain society to dead end jobs and reliance upon a meaningless existence. Tyler and the narrator become best friends and together establish Fight Club, a secret society formed to provide a release from their societal bonds through means of hand to hand physical encounters among its members. As Fight Club’s popularity grows, so does Tyler’s intentions toward freedom from corporate dominance. Meanwhile the narrator becomes concerned by Tyler’s newly formed relationship with Marla and his increasing desire toward anti-materialism/anti-corporate society. When Tyler goes behind the narrator’s back and strings together a group of Fight Clubs which he calls Project Mayhem, the two become at odds over its use and the need to shut it down. Things come to a head when Tyler informs the narrator that they are really more alike than he realizes….before it is over both men will have a date with destiny.
Prior to this review I had never seen Fight Club. I have heard its praises sung by many but twice before tried to watch it and couldn’t get into it. When it arrived for review I figured this was a great opportunity to give it another spin. I have to admit that I found this to be an intriguing film. It is incredibly violent/bloody and carries with it a large anti-establishment theme but its strength lies in its execution. It is a brilliantly crafted thriller that uses clever cinematic elements to help drive a relatively fundamental plot.
There is no question that visually speaking this is definitely a David Fincher film. It is oddly engaging and packs a strong one two punch (literally) that keeps interest high. The ending is a bit abrupt and strange however it seems to perfectly fit in with the rest of the film and felt appropriate. Norton, Pitt and Bonham Carter deliver strong performances and the special effects, cinematography, and direction make for a complete package. I have heard this referred to as the ultimate guy film. I guess that depends on your tastes and definition. Personally, I enjoyed Fight Club but am not so sure that it is a film that I have an interest in revisiting. I will hang on to it and see what the future holds.
As an aside director David Fincher has included a little surprise in store for those watching this Blu-ray Disc release. You will have to wait and see…
The rating is for disturbing and graphic depiction of violent anti-social behavior, sexuality and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Fight Club comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.
This film utilizes a stylized visual design that has a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the subject matter. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson red, and muted sepia tones. Variable levels of saturation are used to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. This is an overtly dark film. Blacks are strong and dynamic while occasionally appearing gradationally limited (such as in the sequences shot in the fight club basement). Delineation in dark backgrounds is affected by this in those same instances but otherwise reveals plenty of detail and depth.
I was enamored by the film’s multi-staged grays, rich contrast and interesting use of color. Overall I found the quality of the video to be high. It wasn’t always razor sharp but it was cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement that enhanced the perception of fine detail. For such a dark film images have excellent depth and dimension. A light veil of grain gave the video a filmic texture which was never obtrusive. Other than one or two instances of low level noise visible against dark backgrounds I didn’t see any overt signs of video artifacts or evidence of fidelity degrading manipulation. It isn’t a bright or vibrant film but it still looked great in high definition.
I have only given out a limited number of perfect technical ratings for audio. I don’t issue them frivolously and it seems like lately there have been more than usual. I don’t see that as a problem since it means that as enthusiasts we are able to enjoy superlative reference quality sound which is of course a good thing. Having not heard this soundtrack before, I had no idea what to expect. Listening to it made for an impressive aural experience as this is a rip roaring lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack from Fox that begs to be played loud on a system capable of handling its aggressive and potent dynamic range. It is hard not to be influenced by the potential and innate quality of high resolution surround sound. This is a wonderfully involving and dynamically energized sound design that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation, seamless integration, and rhythmically charged bass extension that is guaranteed to stimulate the senses. Several key sequences literally rocked my room and produced incredulous sound pressure levels.
The opening of chapter 9 features the evisceration of an airplane full of passenger as seen from a perspective from within the fuselage. It comes on quickly and doesn’t last long but it is one of the most intense, all encompassing and seismic surround experiences I have had in my theater room. The car crash/rollover sequence, while not on the same visceral level of the plane scene, still offered lots of powerful dynamic extension and realistic envelopment. Smaller less bombastic events, such as the destruction of the sculpture (with the large heavy rolling metal ball), or the gas explosion at the apartment are underscored by palpably rich low frequency transients that resonate through the furniture in the room. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produced just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers but didn’t warrant a deduction.
This is a sophisticated sound design that excels at balancing the opulent blend of sounds/effects contained in the soundtrack. The result is a three dimensional soundscape which places the listener within the various venues depicted onscreen. The scene in chapter 11 as Tyler and the narrator sit in the bar is a prime example. As their dialogue holds sway over the center of the soundstage, the sounds within the background such as clanking glasses, low level voices, clashing billiard balls, and the music from the jukebox followed by the open exterior sounds of the city when they step outside are all distinctive and aurally framed within my room’s acoustic space. Detail and clarity are first rate which derives subtle auditory textures from the recording making them readily discernible. The sequence where the narrator pummels Angel Face is disturbing in its realism of the bone breaking/meat mashing heard with the landing of each blow.
This isn’t an action film however this soundtrack is relentless in its execution and reproduction of high quality surround sound that makes for a supremely enriching home theater experience.
- Commentary by David Fincher
- Commentary by David Fincher, Bradd Pitt, Ed Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
- Commentary by Chuck Palahniuk and Jim Uhls
- Commentary by Alex McDowell, Jeff Cronenweth, Michael Kaplan, Kevin Haug
- (HD) A hit in the ear: Ren Klyce and the sound design of Fight Club
- (HD) Flogging Fight Club – 10 minute featurette
- Insomnia mode: I am Jack’s search mode – Interactive topic/commentary guide/search options
- Behind the scenes:
- Commentaries on visual effects
- Production – 6 segments
- Visual effects – 9 segments
- On location
- 7 deleted/alternate scenes
- Publicity material:
- 17 TV spots
- 2 public service announcements
- Music video
- Internet spots
- Promo gallery
- Ed Norton interview
- Art gallery:
- Visual effects stills
- Paper Street house
”Fight Club a place where men can be what the world denies them”. I appreciated the authentic conceptual design of Fight Club. It feels unlike any other movie that I have seen which is why I like it. I am not so sure that it is a film that elicits a desire in me to want to see it again but the jury is still out so I will see what the future holds. There is no denying Fight Club’s ability for bold visuals and engaging artistry which is a testament to its cast, crew, and director.
This 10th anniversary Edition Blu-ray release from Fox features strong high definition video and a reference quality lossless surround mix that is sure to please even the most discerning audio enthusiast. The supplied bonus features contain many previously released supplements however there are several fan friendly Blu-ray exclusives that enhance an already decent special features set. I can’t say that this is a film for everyone but its proven appeal as indicated by its large fan base speaks for itself. Regardless it is certainly worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. This Blu-ray Disc from Fox is the way to do it as it presents extremely well and makes for a great introduction. Recommended.
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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package