Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Anchorman: The Legend Continues
March 30th, 2014
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy came out in theaters nearly a decade ago. It earned good reviews and did well at the box office managing nearly $90 million worldwide on a $25 million budget. However, it became a classic on the home market and many think it is among Will Ferrell's best movies. Rumors of a sequel persisted for quite a while before Anchorman: The Legend Continues finally came out. It earned better reviews and nearly doubled the first film's numbers at the worldwide box office. Is this because the quality is also better? Or did it unduly benefit from nearly ten years of demand?
I'm reviewing the "Super-Sized" version, which is advertised as having 763 new jokes. I've done the math. That's 1 new joke every 11.25 seconds. I'm not sure there will be any room for a plot.
The film begins in 1979 with Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone having left San Diego to make it big in New York City. The married couple are rising stars in the New York news scene. In fact, we see the pair called into the office of Mack Tannen, who has been the lead anchor on the nightly news for 35 years. Rumor has it that he is retiring and will be making Ron and Veronica the new anchors. They are mostly right. Mack Tannen is retiring and he is planning on making Veronica the first full-time nightly network new anchor. On the other hand, he fires Ron for a number of on air screw-ups.
When they get home, Ron and Veronica have a huge fight, which wakes their son, Walter. After an extended, and not very funny, rant about horse piss, Ron issues an ultimatum. Veronica must choose between the job and Ron. She chooses the job.
Six months later, Ron Burgundy is working at Sea World as a host, but he loses that job due to excessive drinking, and sexually inappropriate acts with various displays. At his lowest point ever, Ron Burgundy decides to end it all. Fortunately, he fails at that too and he lives, allowing him to meet Freddie Shapp, a producer for a new News channel. ... A 24-Hour news channel. He's hiring Ron, and better still, Ron gets to choose who he works with, so he's getting the gang back together. ... If he can find them.
First up is Champ Kind, who lost his job for saying racist things on air and getting into a fight with his boss. Now he's running a friend chicken restaurant, although it doesn't actually serve chicken. (Chicken costs too much.) Next up is Brian Fantana, who left investigative journalism to become a professional photographer... a professional cat photographer. Finally there's Brick Tamland, who sadly passed away. The team's torn up about his death, no more so than Brick Tamland, who is an emotional wreck at his own funeral.
After a short road trip, the gang's in New York City, where they meet some of their new co-workers. This includes Jack Lime, who is the rock star of the station. We also meet Chani, who is no smarter than Brick, so it goes without saying that the two fall in love at first sight.
It looks like Ron Burgundy is back on top. He's so confident again that he decides to return to Veronica. However, in the six months Ron has been away, she's moved on and is now with Gary. Ouch. When Ron returns to work, he gets into a heated rivalry with Jack Lime. It ends with Ron betting he will earn better ratings than Jack and if he doesn't, he will leave New York City. But how? Simple. Instead of telling the people what they need to know, tell them what they want to hear.
How this transpires is well into spoiler territory.
Before I get into my opinion of the movie, I want to do an experiment. Think of all of the songs released in 1969, which is considered by many to be the best year in rock 'n' roll, ever. Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin II, which has "Whole Lotta Love", "The Lemon Song", "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)", "Ramble On", "Moby Dick", and others. The Who released Tommy, which introduced the world to "Pinball Wizard". Rolling Stones released Let It Bleed telling the world that "You Can't Always Get What You Want". The Beatles released Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road and if you need me to point out the amazing songs on those two albums, we can no longer be friends. This is just four bands. There are countless other acts who released songs that are widely considered classics to this day. Do you know what the number one selling song of the year was? "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies. A fictional band had the number one selling single the same year Creedence Clearwater Revival released "Proud Mary" and "Fortunate Son". The same year David Bowie broke onto the charts with "Space Oddity", a song played by a cartoon sold more singles than anyone else. "My Way" by Frank Sinatra lost out on the Billboard chart to a band that is nothing more than ink.
I bring this up, because a lot of time the past looks better than it was, because we remember the hits and forget the misses. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is remembered as a classic, because it has so many memorable, and quotable, lines. However, having recently reviewed the movie, it isn't as great as a lot of people remember it. Sure, there are many very funny scenes and lots of quotable moments, but there's also a lot of jokes that miss. The hit to miss ratio in Anchorman: The Legend Continues is about the same as in the first film, perhaps a little better. There is also more of a plot this time around and even some social satire to add to the mix. The creation of the 24-hour news genre and all that is wrong with it was ripe for parody and this film does a great job at doing that.
On the downside, a lot of the material feels borrowed from the original movie. Even the writers of the movie will admit that, and they do make a few jokes at the film's expense. If you haven't seen Anchorman for a while and have quoted the best scenes endlessly, this movie will seem like a letdown. But if you watch the first film and The Legend Continues over the same weekend, then you will probably laugh an equal amount at both.
There are a ton of extras on the two Blu-ray discs. There are two versions of the film on the first disc, the theatrical version (running time of 1:59) and the Unrated version (2:03), while disc two has the extended version (2:23). There is an audio commentary track with Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, and Steve Carell. Up next is a 19-minute long behind-the-scenes featurette. There are 15-minutes of outtakes, broken up into two parts. There are 8-minutes of alternative lines, while Welcome to the Dolphin Show is 2 more minutes of alternative lines, as is Cat Fight, News-O-Rama, and Kench-O-Rama. Disc one ends with 22 minutes of Table Read.
Over on disc-two, the extras begin with a four-part, 46-minute long behind-the-scenes featurettes. There are 8 deleted scenes, as well as 25 extended / alternative scenes with a total running time of just over 100 minutes. (That's not a typo.) There are Previsualizations for three action scenes. There is Meagan Good's audition tape for this movie, as well as a couple of audition tapes for characters from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that went to different actors. Finally, there's a song by Jack Black at the Benefit For 826LA.
The technical presentation is amazing. It is not a visually splashy film, but the details and especially the colors are incredible. There are no faults with the transfer at all, no digital artifacts, no compression errors, nothing. It simple looks amazing. The audio is just as good with plenty of activity in the surround sound speakers including dynamic effects. The audio is much, much more active than most comedies out there, but the mix is so well done that the dialogue never gets lost in the noise.
At the moment, the Blu-ray and the DVD both cost $17 on Amazon.com. You can't ask for a better deal.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues is about on par with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy in terms of hit to miss ratio with the jokes. There are perhaps a few too many callbacks to the first movie, which means this one doesn't feel as fresh or original, but it is still a very funny film. The DVD has no extras, so if you just want a rental, it's fine. The 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack has three versions of the movie, plus hours of extras. It is easily worth picking up and a Contender for Pick of the Week.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Filed under: Video Review, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues