Featured Blu-ray Review: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Unrated Rich Mahogany Edition)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is nine years old this year, which makes it an odd time to release a special edition Blu-ray. At least it would be an odd time if Anchorman: The Legend Continues wasn't hitting theaters in a couple of weeks. Is the movie as good as most people remember it? And is the Unrated Rich Mahogany Edition worth the upgrade from the previous edition?
After a titlecard that tells us this is based on a real story, we are introduced to the world of 1970s local news by a narrator, who informs us Ron Burgundy was the king of San Diego news. We also meet the rest of his news gang. Brian Fantana is the on-the-street reporter and a ladies man. Champ Kind is the sportcaster and the most aggressively macho of the group. Brick Tamland is the weatherman and he has an I.Q. of 48.
After learning they have the top ratings across all demographics, Ron Burgundy and the gang throw a huge party to celebrate. At this party, Ron sees a beautiful woman, Veronica Corningstone, and begins to heavily hit on her, but she shoots him down. At least he has Baxter, his dog, to comfort him. The next day, Ron learns the network demanded, in the name of diversity, that they hire Ms. Veronica Corningstone. The rest of the gang is outraged that they have to have a girl on the news team, but Ron sees this as a second chance to woo her. Strangely, he succeeds.
However, instead of being the start of a great relationship, Ron Burgundy blows it by announcing on air that he slept with Veronica. This solidifies their rivalry and unfortunately for Ron Burgundy, he's overestimated his abilities and underestimated Veronica's. Soon she has the upper hand and he's lost everything. Can he find redemption and rise back to former glory?
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is not a good movie. ... Wait a minute. Hear me out. It is not a good movie, because it lacks something that good movies have: a cohesive plot. Anchorman is less of a movie than it is a collection of funny scenes with a group of strange characters. Sure, you could call the plot the rise, fall, and redemption of Ron Burgundy, but the majority of the movie does very little to advance that plot. Instead, the film focuses on silly tangents poking fun at 1970s local news. It does this very well and it is one of the most quotable movies of the last ten years. Even if you've never seen the movie, you will likely recognize many of the quotes from it. The film benefits from a sharp script, but its the comedic timing of the cast and their improvisational skills that really shine. If you are a fan of Will Ferrell's style of comedy, then it is a must have. It's just not a film in the traditional sense and you could strip the plot out completely and it would be just as watchable.
The Blu-ray is a two-disc set, but it is more accurate to call it a two-movie set, as the second disc is Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, which was released in 2004 as a direct-to-DVD movie. This means there are not a lot of new extras on the two-disc set, but there are still a ton of extras carried over from the previous releases. This includes an audio commentary track on the extended edition with a ton of people, some of which weren't even in the movie. The theatrical edition has Will Ferrell and Adam McKay just talking. You won't learn much about the movie, but it is fun to listen to. Up next is nearly an hour of deleted / extended scenes plus 8 minutes of outtakes. There's a music video of "Afternoon Delight". Finally, there's Ron Burgundy's audition for ESPN.
Over on Disc Two we find Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, which is a film made up of deleted / alternative scenes from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. This is one of the reasons I don't consider Anchorman a movie, the parts they stripped out could be reassembled into a movie. Granted, this is the B-role material here, so it is not as funny. The first 12-minutes of the film has an audio commentary track with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay pretending to be Aaron Zimmerman. There are five PSAs with a total running time of just under 4 minutes and three minutes of Ron Burgundy accepting awards and making a fool of himself. There is a three-minute look at the recording of "Afternoon Delight". Ron Burgundy also recorded a video wishing AMC Loews a 100th anniversary. There are three interviews done by Ron Burgundy for the 2004 MTV Movie Awards. There are also three EPK type featurettes done for Cinemax, Comedy Central, etc. There are auditions for many of the cast, including a few for actors playing different roles than what they ended up with. We have table reads for several scenes and even more rehearsal footage. There are five minutes of on the street reports by the reporters. Finally there are two minutes of behind-the-scenes.
The only new extras are physical extras. There's a 32-page notebook for Ron Burgundy containing story ideas, etc. There is also a 12-card pack of collectable cards, six for the Channel 4 news team and 6 for their rivals at channel 9.
The technical presentation is excellent, when you take into account its genre and its relatively low production budget. It's a dialogue driven drama, so you can't expect a lot of visual flash or a complicated sound design. The colors are absolutely fantastic and while the level of details it not quite as sharp as most Blu-rays, this is mostly an aesthetic choice to match the 1970s setting. The dialogue is always clear, but mostly uncomplicated.
If you don't own Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy on Blu-ray yet, then the Unrated Rich Mahogany Edition is absolutely worth picking up. If you have the previous Blu-ray release, then you are going to pay $15 for two additional physical extras.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2013-12-03