It doesn't get much better than this. David Fincher's film version of Chuck Palahniuk's hilarious and thought provoking novel hocks a great big loogie in the eye of anyone who insists that "the movie's never as good as the novel". The fact that Fight Club wasn't at least nominated for the best picture, director & adapted screenplay Oscars rates right down there with the Jeremy Irons/'Dead Ringers' snub and that piece of shit 'Titanic' winning anything at all. Oh well, I guess it's just a little too subversive for the suits down at the AMPAS.
This is one of the best NTSC transfers that I've seen. It's sharp, clean, and the many dark scenes are perfectly presented. There are a couple of moments where 3:2 pulldown artifacts are clear. This is most evident during the 'Furnie' catalog gag - if anyone tries to convince you that 3:2 pulldown is preferable to the teeny-tiny speedup of PAL, then show them this scene - it don't look too good at all. But that's really due to the nature of the footage, and Fox can hardly be blamed for the shortcomings of NTSC.
The sound on this disk is stunning. I was marvelling at how good the opening credits sounded until I realized I was listening to the default 2-channel surround track. The push of a button later, I was sucked into an all-enveloping Dolby Digital home theatre soundfield like I haven't heard before. There's a lot of rear speaker activity throughout.
Accompanying the movie on Disk 1, are FOUR audio commentaries. The first three commentaries (Fincher; Pitt, Norton, Carter & Fincher; Pahlaniuk & screenwriter Jim Uhls) are excellent. The fourth (featuring a whole bunch of folks) is a little discombobulating but is nevertheless a worthy addition. The first disk also features a THX Optimode tool to assist in setting up your home theatre's audio & video for perfect presentation.
Disk 2 contains a crapload of behind the scenes segments. These can be a little cumbersome to go through, as several of them use multiple angles and multiple audio tracks where it's not really appropriate. For instance, one segment lets you switch between footage of the crew scouting a location for a scene, footage of them shooting the scene, and a split screen of both. You can also choose between the two audio tracks from both bits of footage. All this behind the scenes footage would have been better presented spread out and stuck into a straightforward documentary. The use of multiple angles here seems just a bit gimmicky. This disk also features some deleted scenes and alternate takes, an enormous amount of trailers & TV Spots, and miscellaneous promotional material.
Fight Club gets my vote for the best movie of 1999 and has received an excellent treatment for the DVD release. In one of the biggest disappointments to the Region 4 community however, the Australian release of Fight Club is missing three of the commentaries (it has the Fincher/Pitt/Norton/Carter track). So which version you get really depends on you. If you're an absolute stickler for picture quality and don't have to have every single bit of info about this movie, then I'd recommend the R4 PAL version (which by all accounts is very good) for maximum picture quality, not to mention the fact that given the current state of the US/Australian currencies, it'd wind up considerably cheaper. However, if you love this movie as much as I do, you absolutely have to get the R1 - like I said, this is one of the best looking NTSC discs that I've seen, and with the movie and the four commentaries alone, you're talking over ten hours of content!