Posted on Sunday, November 15th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
This week, the Fight Club starts again with the release on Blu-ray of a tenth anniversary edition of David Fincher‘s fan favourite. Every frame of the film was scrutinised by the director, or so it says here, in order to ensure the transfer was reflective, finally, of the ideal realisation of the film. That sentence alone has probably shifted a skip full of copies. What’s likely to shift a heap more are the innovative interactive special features.
After the break you can view my interview with Ren Klyce, the film’s sound designer. As well as collaborating with Fincher since Se7en, he most recently earned the credits of supervising sound editor and sound re-recording mixer on Spike Jonze’ Where the Wild Things Are. He’s just the man to be out there plugging this new Fight Club disc too, as the best of the new special features revolves around his work in the sound department.
Tucked away in the range of supplements there’s something called A Hit in the Ear. This allows you, after an introduction from Klyce, tinker about with the sound mix in four of the film’s scenes. It’s obviously only a toy, but it’s a good one. There’s an amazing amount of flexibility allowing you to select different recordings for different effects and to mix them as you see fit between the surround sound speakers. I expected that it would have to work from a series of pre-mixes that you select through a decision tree but, having fiddled and faddled with it a good amount, I’m thinking that it’s actually doing the mixing on the fly.
If Blu-ray is not only about HD picture and uncompressed, uncompromised sound but also interactivity, which some of us at least hope it can be, then this feature is a good demo for the capabilities of the format.
Here’s Klyce and myself talking about sound design, both in general and in the case of this film. The scene I refer to specifically is the so-called Kudzu Vine scene, and is one of the four you can select to play with on the Blu-ray.
For the record, I’m no fan of Fight Club. I find it quite simplistic, occasionally condescending, routinely juvenile and it really doesn’t have the courage of it’s own convictions. This didn’t stop me wasting a good while playing with the disc’s special features, of course. The Blu-ray also does a great job of presenting Jeff Cronenweth’s superb cinematography and the film certainly never looked this good when I first saw it projected from 35mm.
The opening menu on the disc is interesting too, taking a trick from the Monty Python playbook. I wonder how many consumers it will go running back to the shop for a money-back? If you want to know what happens, here’s a little bit of inviso-text to give it away:
The menu appears to be for Never Been Kissed for a while, before it breaks up and is replaced with a Fight Club menu influenced by the Ikea-labelled sequence in Jack’s apartment near the start of the film. I think Drew Barrymore stays on screen just long enough for the most twitchy to have ejected the disc.
This 10th Anniversary Blu-ray of Fight Club is out there in stores from this week in the US and next week in the UK.