Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Fight Club vs Fight Club

So here it is, my first comparison for my blog. I'm still trying to find my voice so forgive me a little. I ended up finishing the book sooner than I thought which says something about how good it was! Watched the film this morning and here we are!

Please note there are spoilers and pretty major ones if you have not seen this film or read the book I suggest you do as it will skew the way you watch/read it.

I have to say for me personally the film is a very good adaptation of the book. The plot and actually a huge proportion of the Dialogue feature in the film, from Tyler's "you are not a unique snowflake" speech to Marla's little quips.

Compared to the book a fair bit of dialogue and action has been moved around. This has only been done to make the film seem a bit more linear and give it a stronger sense of a plot but I honestly don't feel that you have lost much from the book by doing this. All the content is still there just in a different order. The book is written from the narrators point of view it is a lot more his thoughts than dialogue. So because of this much of it has been changed from descriptive scenes into dialogue between characters. This is a good change, you can't have Edward Norton narrating every section of the film!

There's not much from the book that is missing from the film. Some events in the book have been changed slightly for example; In the scene in the film where Tyler drives down the wrong side of the road and asks members of Project Mayhem what they wanted to do before they die is in the book, but it is not Tyler it is a sub leader of Project Mayhem they also do not crash the car. Another example would be in the film where The Narrator beats himself up in front of his office boss, in the book he beats himself up in front of his boss from the hotel where he works at as a waiter.

The only major points that are missing from the film are these:

  • The Narrator does not meet Tyler on a plane. In fact he meets him on a beach where he is making a sculpture of a hand out of driftwood in the sand.
  • An excellent part where Tyler and The Narrator don't steal the fat to render into soap but use the collagen that Marla's mother has sent her from her own body - This is the only bit I wish was in the film.
  • Tyler and The Narrator do not have a massive fight over setting the explosives in all the building like in the film. The fight is a lot more psychological with The Narrator trying not to fall asleep knowing that if he does Tyler will be the one in control
  • The Narrator's boss is killed off, with a homemade bomb planted by Tyler in the office
  • The scene where Project Mayhem try to cut his testicles off is not in the Police Station, it is on a bus in the middle of nowhere. He is knocked out and wakes up in the shell of his blown out flat.
  • The ending is different if only slightly. Yes he does blow the side of his face off in a bid to get rid of Tyler but it's not just Marla who arrives it is the whole of one of the cancer support groups. 
  • The building The Narrator is in is also rigged with explosives and set to go off. He does not diffuse them as in the film.
  • The final chapter of the book is The Narrator in a mental hospital, with members of staff revealing themselves to be members of Project Mayhem and reminding him that once he is out of there things will continue as they were before...
I think that the ending being slightly different is the only major one that could skew the way you view the film. The book seems set to remind you that he may have got rid of Tyler from his mind but in everyone else's view he still is Tyler. He hasn't solved any of the problems and he will still have to deal with them. The film gives the viewer more hope than that suggesting he's going to move on and past it, create a life with Marla.

The book is an excellent read and I highly recommended it. It's darker than the film but I feel that's because you get more of an insight into Tyler Durden/The Narrator's thoughts. Although there are a few changed plot points I don't think that it would have made my viewing of the film drastically different and especially with the script I think that the adaptors have done a great job. I honestly don't know if I can say that I prefer one to the other as the film visualises the book in an excellent way. Both the book and the film had me gripped from start to finish and I honestly don't think I could ask for more than that.

Fight Club [DVD] [1999] Directed by David Fincher, Starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter. Rated 18
Fight Club[1996] Written by Chuck Palahniuk. Available in Paperback and Kindle Edition

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