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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/1/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/1/2014
Today, it's difficult to think of someone creating a new genre or sub-genre of film, because, at this point, they must all exist. But, that doesn't mean that someone couldn't take an existing type of movie and add their own twist to it. In the 80s, the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team invented a new kind of comedy by taking a seemingly serious plot and adding as many silly and deadpan jokes as possible. A decade ago, Actor Will Ferrell and Writer/Director Adam McKay (who had met on Saturday Night Live), took this idea and made it their own with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. This film presented a profile of a specific character, something which could have easily been a straight biopic, and inserted that character into increasingly bizarre scenarios. They did the same thing again two years later with Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. These movies represent two of the funniest and most quotable comedies of the new millennium. After moving away from this structure for a few films, Ferrell and McKay are back with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues picks up a few years after the conclusion of the first film. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), now live in New York City, with their son, Walter (Judah Nelson), where they anchor the network weekend news. Ron's world is shattered when Veronica is given a promotion and he's fired. Unable to deal with his wife's success, Ron returns to San Diego and gets a job a Sea World. Things begin to look up when Ron is approached by Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) about taking a job in a new venture -- a 24-hour a day news channel. Ron thinks that the idea is ludicrous, but he can't turn down the money. To prepare for this new challenge, Ron re-assembles his news team -- Sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner), Weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd). The group heads to New York, only to learn that they have the graveyard shift. Never daunted, Ron decides to create a new kind of newscast and he soon finds himself back in the spotlight, and competing with Veronica.
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: the humor in Anchorman 2 is an acquire taste. Anyone who enjoys things like logic, character development, or...did I mention logic in their comedies need not apply. Again, McKay and Ferrell, who write the films together, take seemingly plausible situations and then make them as bizarre as possible. It doesn't take long for this ludicrous nature to appear as Ron's search for his former colleagues leads to some of the strangest and funniest scenes in the film. (The scene in Champ's restaurant had me gasping for air I was laughing so hard.) The mid-section of the film plays things fairly straight, but the third act, which sees Ron falling on hard times, seems to be going out of its way to feature some of the oddest thing ever presented in a mainstream Hollywood film.
Of course, in the center of all of this we have Ron Burgundy himself. If you were to list the character's qualities, he would sound like a very unlikable person. In the first film, Ron was portrayed as a chauvinist blowhard who was resistant to change. In Anchorman 2, we get to add racist to that list of attributes. In addition, Ron hates competition and easily throws in the towel. To counteract these negative traits, Ferrell has elected to portray Ron as an idiot, and thus this softens the blow of his behavior. In fact, it's the scenes in which Ron has no idea what he's talking about or refuses to back down from an argument which are often the funniest.
While Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues isn't a carbon copy of the first film, it does have a similar narrative structure and McKay & Ferrell clearly want to give the audience what they like. We get to see the rise and fall of Ron with plenty of odd moments from his supporting cast. The movie takes one of the bright spots of Anchorman and gives us a new version which is super-sized and even crazier. The movie does try something new by offering a love interest for brick in the form of Chani Lastname, played by Kristen Wiig -- a character who is just as dumb and ignorant as Brick. Unfortunately, this experiment backfires and the scenes with Wiig are painfully bad. In fact, each time she and Brick begin a conversation, the movie comes to a screeching halt.
However, that is the only knock against this movie. I didn't expect Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues to be as ground-breaking or shocking as the first film, and it isn't. However, it is consistently funny and does introduce some ideas which are just as weird as those seen in its predecessor. It would be very easy to accuse the makers of this movie as seeking a cash-grab, given that the sequel arrives nine years later, but one doesn't throw this many jokes into a movie unless they are seriously committed to it. The movie is funny, audacious, and it introduced us to the term "Chicken of the Cave".
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues needs to close the windows in its restaurant on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, especially those reflecting the fashions of the day, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is excellent, and the depth looks very good. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The in-film songs, especially "White Lines" provide a notable amount of bass. The RV wreck and crowd scenes offer good surround sound effects, and the rear channels never simply mimic the front channels.
The Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Blu-ray Disc contains a large assortment of extras. Disc 1 kicks off with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner. "Behind-the-Scenes: Newsroom" (19 minutes) is sort of a making-of, as it contains comments from McKay about the story and the direction of the film, but it's also an on-set report, as we get a look at scenes being shot and we see some bloopers and alternate takes. This also explores the casting of the new characters and shows some audition footage. The "Table Read" (22 minutes) shows the cast running through nine scenes. "Line-O-Rama" (8 minutes), "Welcome to the Dolphin Show" (2 minutes), "Catfight" (2 minutes), "News-O-Rama" (2 minutes), and "Kench-O-Rama" (2 minutes) all feature alternate takes and different lines from various scenes in the film. We also get a 15-minute GAG REEL, which shows the actors losing their cool during various scenes. Disc 2 contains the "Super-Sized Version" of the film, which is essentially the exact same movie, but with alternate jokes. This is something which would be fun to explore at some point, but don't try watching it back-to-back with the original version. "Behind-The-Scenes" (46 minutes) is a four-part piece which examines various aspects of the film's production. We learn that the film was originally going to be a musical and we see some rehearsal footage from the scrapped song-and-dance numbers. The special effects, including the animatronic shark, are examined, as well as the training of Baxter. And the logistics of the rumble are explored. The Disc contains eight DELETED SCENES which run about 10 minutes. Surprisingly, some of these are actually new moments not seen in the film. We also get twenty-five EXTENDED/ALTERNATE SCENES which run about 91 minutes. These feel very akin to the alternate takes scene on Disc 1. We get "Previsualizations" (9 minutes) for three action-oriented scenes. "Auditions" (7 minutes) includes moments from the original film where Amy Poehler tries out for the role of Veronica. "Benefit for 826LA: 'Spoiler Alert'" (4 minutes) has Jack Black singing a song about the film before a screening. The extras are rounded out by six TRAILERS for the film.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long