The First Rule Of...

january 2, 2009

Fight Club I just finished reading Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club for the third time (in my short life).  It is an excellent read.  This is one of the rare occasions when the movie is better than the book.  Do not read any farther if you haven't seen the movie and read the book. This post isn't about what the book is about or what themes were presented or how we are all not unique like snowflakes.  This post is about my observations about the book and movie.  The movie and book run parallel to each other up until the end.  Sure, there are little differences -- like how the narrator in the movie uses the name "Jack" and the narrator in the book uses the name "Joe"; or how in the Cadillac scene, it is a space monkey driving and not Tyler -- overall, the structure and story are the same.  The ending of the movie is completely different and I prefer the movie's ending. The ending of the book puts the narrator, who initially thinks he's dead, in a hospital.  Project Mayhem monkeys end up telling him that plans are still underway and that they expect him back.  This is anti-climactic. The ending of the movie has more of a punch and makes more sense in the overall arc of the story.  By the end of the movie, we know that Tyler is dead, we know the world is going to go into chaos and we have some sort of closure.  I am a big proponent of movies which are open-ended, I think open-ended movies are better. But, for some reason the way in which the Fight Club movie closes things off makes for a very satisfying experience.  The way that the book leaves things open-ended feels like Palahniuk wanted one last clever thing, but didn't quite get it right. I am not saying that the book sucks.  I just prefer the movie's interpretation of the book. So, I have to ask, for those of you who have read the book and seen the movie:  Which do you think is better?  Which stands out?  Book?  Movie?