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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Anchorman (Unrated, Uncut & Uncalled For)

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#1 of 81 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 29 2004 - 03:16 PM

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Anchorman: Unrated, Uncut & Uncalled For

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Studio: Dreamworks
Year: 2004
Rated: NR
Film Length: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DD Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Retail Price: $29.98

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the best and sexiest (so he thinks) news reporter in the San Diego area and he really doesn’t mind telling people. Everywhere Ron goes he makes sure people knows he is the greatest at what he does. With this fame comes wild parties, sexy women and plenty of alcohol to keep things going smoothly. One day at a news meeting the boss (Fred Willard) introduces a new reporter (Christina Applegate), which doesn’t sit well with Ron and his group. Ron thinks women should only work on their backs and the thought of her joining the team doesn’t sit well with him. Since she’s hot Ron decides to ask her out on a date and the two quickly fall for one another, which causes friction in Ron’s idea of what women should be.

Anchorman is a constantly entertaining film but for some reason, in the end it really doesn’t work for a variety of reasons. The film tries to do so many different things that it’s never really clear what the director or its star is trying to do. Some scenes try to be a sharp satire of the news industry and when it stays on this level plenty of laughs follow. The stuff involving the crew recording promos looking as if they’re the happiest family on Earth when in fact they’re constantly fighting is funny and I’m sure very true. However, the film also tries for low grade humor including an incredibly stupid street fight that really takes away for any satire the film had going for it.

However, the biggest problem is that we’ve got Will Ferrell going all over the place and for the life of me, I wonder if the director ever stepped in and said that’s enough. Ferrell goes so over the top that he becomes rather obnoxious instead of funny. Early in the film there’s a party sequence where Ferrell walks around as if he’s the greatest thing God ever put on the face of the Earth. This comedy here is very low key and it gets laughs because the viewer can laugh at this man who should be laughing at himself. Where Ferrell’s performance goes wrong is that the truth is a lot funnier than him going over the top like he does. There are several scenes of Ferrell goofing around on the phone, the before mentioned street fight and an incredibly stupid homage to Raging Bull where he loses all control and turns into a bum.

To make matters worst is a side love story that really never takes off. Christina Applegate, who would later go on to suffer a greater fate in Surviving Christmas, never really does anything here and as I said in that previous review, she should really stick to playing dumb blondes. I certainly could never take her serious but perhaps that’s not the point. I guess the point of her performance is to get laughs but she didn’t make me laugh either. The so-called love story involving the two really never works because there’s just no chemistry between the two. The story was a lot funnier when Ferrell was trying to pick her up but of course the screenplay had to make her another weak character who is just there to set up silly jokes about who’s sleeping with who.

The one saving grace to this film are the supporting characters who are a lot funnier and far more interesting than the two leads. The supporting news team members include Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brick Tamland (Steven Carell) and Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) who all really shine in their roles. Nearly everyone of their scenes are really on the mark and the only time Ferrell gets to shine is when one of these guys are in the scene and set him up with a good joke. Another bonus comes from all sorts of cameos including Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins and Luke Wilson. Apparently the director told all of these guys that this film was suppose to be a satire and they deliver very good in their small roles.

While Anchorman isn’t a complete bust I can’t help but wish the film had centered on the supporting characters and left Ron Burgundy in the background. Perhaps the film would have worked a lot better had it centered on the entire team instead of centering on Ron and his childish behavior. The satire between a group of guys not wanting a woman joining the team made ways for some very funny moments but this are often put to the side with a useless love story or over the top scenes that serve no purpose and really break the mode of the film. There are some funny scenes in Anchorman but not enough for me to call this a good comedy.

VIDEO---The movie is shown widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 TVs. A few members here posted their thoughts on the transfer calling it very bad and while I wouldn’t go that far, the transfer certainly is lacking something. I’ve seen just about every release from Dreamworks and I’d certainly call this their worst transfer but it’s still somewhat good. The biggest problem I noticed was that the entire film came off looking very soft and contained very little detail. When the movie was over the end credits started up and I really had to strain my eyes just to read what was going on the screen. The wording was a blurry mess and this softness leaks throughout the rest of the transfer. Just take a look at the scene where Ron goes to a club with Veronica. The scene is in the dark with a light bluish tint but the softness is so visible that it appears like the fuzz on a peach. The softness also takes away from some of the colors, which should look a lot stronger than they do. Another minor issue is some edge enhancement, which is easily spotted but it’s rather hard to tell if it’s EE or just an incredibly soft part of the transfer.

Outside that the transfer isn’t too bad. I’m really not sure what went wrong here but you might not notice any of this if you’re viewing the film on a smaller display. I watched the commentary in the bedroom on my 4:3 set and I didn’t notice as much softness but when the picture is blown up it’s certainly there. I don’t normally give star ratings but if I did I’d probably rank this as a Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image . Again, it’s not horribly bad but it’s a major disappointment considering the work Dreamworks normally delivers.

AUDIO---We get English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks as well as an English 2.0 Surround track. Considering this is a mostly dialogue driven film, the 5.1 track does a pretty good job. As is to be expected, the dialogue is very clear throughout the running time and no problems could be heard here. The rear speakers don’t get much action and I really don’t remember hearing anything coming from them. The Surrounds are used a lot more than you might expect and are clearly the highlight of the track. The various songs played throughout sound remarkably crisp and the detail is quite nice. Minor sound effects also come off quite well and these include a certain wreck on a bridge and the effects coming from the bear’s den towards the end of the film.

EXTRAS---As with prior releases, when the start the disc you will be greeted with trailers but thankfully you can skip them on this release. I just had to push the “Menu” button but the forward button appears to work as well. Also, like earlier releases, no trailer can be found on the disc and it’s rather strange Dreamworks are leaving this off, although they will appear on other discs.

The first extra is an audio commentary with director Adam McKay and Ferrell, which has about five different warnings throughout the disc and package. The package warns about the profanity and there’s a menu that comes up before the track starts warning of bad language. If you’re wanting to learn any secrets about the making of the film then you can forget it because the two set out to make the raunchiest commentary in history—and they did it. Remember back in middle school there was always some idiot who thought he was funny because he said a dirty word? Well, that’s what this track reminded me of. I’m sure both men thought they were funny but after five minutes I had to hit the chapter skip button. I went through every other chapter stop and it’s the same thing. The two say the F word was much as possible and they even talk about screwing a moose. The two are constantly joking about this track being banned and it is in a way. The track is full of bleeps that cut out some of the dirty talk including one segment where the director claims he gave oral sex to a famous person of some sports team. The team is bleeped out but it appears to be a joke aimed at O.J. Simpson. The entire track is full of this stuff but it’s not funny after the first couple of minutes. Instead of wasting money with the bleeps Dreamworks should have just cut this. I doubt the biggest bad of weed would help make this funny.

Up next is a blooper reel that runs just over seven minutes. If you enjoy seeing actors mess up their lines then I’m sure you’ll find this section funny. These blooper reels are among my favorite extras so it’s always nice to have them. The Making of Anchorman runs just over nine minutes and features interviews with the director and various cast members including Ferrell and Applegate. Most of this just has them acting goofy and really doesn’t go into the making of the film. A Conversation With Ron is a staged interview segment with a reporter talking to Ron about the movie being made about him. This here runs just over ten minutes and is actually pretty funny and worth your time. Up next are two promos that were shown before the film was released. One is from the MTV Music Awards and the other is a fake audition that Ron did for Sportcenter back in 1979. Both of these segments are very funny including the latter one where Ron swears no one is interested in a sports station. Up next are twenty-two deleted scenes and it’s strange but all of them actually work quite well. I’m going to guess these were cut due to time reasons but perhaps these should have stayed in the film and something else should have been removed. Finally we get a music video, cast info, production notes and trailers for other Dreamworks films.

OVERALL---I’m not too familiar with Will Ferrell but I really didn’t find him all too funny here nor did I really find his character funny. The supporting cast is where the gold really is and I’d probably recommend a rental for the cameos. If you’re a fan of the film then you should enjoy the extras even with the incredibly stupid commentary track. The 5.1 mix is handled nicely but for some reason the transfer is way too soft, which is a shock coming from Dreamworks. A 2-disc Special Edition is also out there.

Release Date: December 28th, 2004

#2 of 81 OFFLINE   jonathan_govols


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Posted December 29 2004 - 04:19 PM

Great to see the Anchorman reviews coming in now.

Even though I found this to be EASILY the funniest film of the year (probably the funniest film I've seen since Goldmember in 2002), I'm glad to read your review.

The picture quality was decent, but it should have been better. The extras were wonderful and the Gift Set is definately the way to go.

Actually after looking at your DVD collection Michael, I can understand why you didn't care for this film too much. You probably aren't the target audience. Nice job on the review though.

#3 of 81 OFFLINE   mike caronia

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Posted December 29 2004 - 05:37 PM

this movie was incredibly stupid. insulted my intelligence. played to the lowest common denominator.
i loved every minute of it.

picked up the combo pack. asked the guy at best buy for it...he said they didn't have any. found their big display...lo and behold about 20 combo packs hidden on a side panel.
it was a great deal $25 for the 2 movies and the BB bonus disc.
can't wait to go through all of it.

this comedy isn't for everybody, but if you like silly humor and will ferrell, you will definitely dig it.

#4 of 81 OFFLINE   Jason Adams

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Posted December 29 2004 - 06:15 PM

I love silly, silly comedies. There is something about the way that Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy that I find hilarious. Come on...how can you not find a line like "Knights of Columbus, that hurt!" funny? Well...it sort of loses its effect in text, but damn that cracks me up every time.

#5 of 81 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 29 2004 - 06:30 PM

I guess I should have been honest and said I really haven't enjoyed anyone from SNL over the past 10 years or so. I enjoyed everything in the movie with the exception of the leads so I guess had I enjoyed Ferrell more then I would have loved it as much as you guys.

I'm really not sure why I didn't laugh at Farrell in the movie because I really enjoyed the extras. The ESPN gag had me rolling and the conversation bit was also great.

My girlfriend loved it so I probably should have let her review it. I think she's going to break up with me for not liking this or SURVIVING CHRISTMAS. Posted Image

#6 of 81 OFFLINE   MarcusUdeh


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Posted December 29 2004 - 08:59 PM

I doubt the biggest bad of weed would help make this funny.
I am sure "the biggest bad of weed" was meant to be bagPosted Image

#7 of 81 OFFLINE   Ray_Gootz


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Posted December 29 2004 - 09:31 PM


Good review but it really dissapoints me that your misleading potential buyers by telling them that the commentary is just them cursing the entire time. If you had listened to the track you would've seen that stops around the scene where Vince Vaughn shows up in the film and Andy Richter joins the commentary. From then on you have:

-Andy and Wil getting into a fist fight

-Lou Rawlnigs joining the commentary track for no reason whatsoeverand sitting ther confused.

-Paul Rudd calling in making fun of Quintupletes.

-The Director pitching to Will "Eskimo in the city".

-David and The Director getting into a shouting match. Which ends with Dave demanding they recut the film with just his scenes.

-Christina Applegate callnig in and Will ofering for the Director's brother to groom her dog for free as long as she never bothers them again.

-A whole talk about the 5 millon dollar lens that they needed 4 people to smuggle into the country.

Honestly the cursing is a very small part of the track and this has to be one of the funniest commentary tracks ever. By misleading readers into just thinking this is a track filled with sophmoric cursing you may lead people into skipping this track all together and missing out on something they could really enjoy.

#8 of 81 OFFLINE   David Galindo

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Posted December 30 2004 - 01:28 AM

I disagree with every word of this wonderfully written review.

Thanks! Posted Image

#9 of 81 OFFLINE   dan fritzen

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Posted December 30 2004 - 04:24 AM

I wonder what happened to the extra hours of footage rumored to appear on DVD at www.darkhorizons.com
"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how did you enjoy the show?"

#10 of 81 OFFLINE   Kami



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Posted December 30 2004 - 05:08 AM

Thanks for the review but I gotta disagree. The funniest movie I have seen since Old School. Disappointing about the transfer, but I'm too busy wiping tears away to notice.

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#11 of 81 OFFLINE   AnthonyC



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Posted December 30 2004 - 06:02 AM

I wonder what happened to the extra hours of footage rumored to appear on DVD

It appears on the two-disc special edition mentioned at the end of the review.

#12 of 81 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted December 30 2004 - 06:30 AM

Complaining about Anchorman's storytelling flaws is like complaining about the taste of cat litter.


#13 of 81 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 30 2004 - 07:29 AM

Ray, I actually listened to those parts of the commentary track. Right before Applegate called in the director and Ferrell started fighting because Ferrell was talking about how sexy his wife was. Again, middle school humor to me but again, I'm probably going to be in the minority. The fact that the thing is so edited and the fact Dreamwork had to warn people about the track makes me wonder why they even included it.

From listening to the track, it appears the director and Ferrell were going for a Kevin Smith type track but didn't know the difference between adult humor and middle school humor.

#14 of 81 OFFLINE   Josh Sieg

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Posted December 30 2004 - 11:00 AM

Wow, I love these DVDs. Possibly the best comedy of the year.
My favorites:

#15 of 81 OFFLINE   TonyD


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Posted December 30 2004 - 01:24 PM

middle school humor

worked for me.
it was a riot.
when applwgate called in she was great.
she was crying at one point because of what will and adam were saying to her.
gotta listen to the commentary if you have the dvd it just too funny.

plus it's not just all blah, blah blah,... this is how we lit this scene and this is how we set up the framing.

it's a will ferrell movie.
who cares about the technical details of how they made the movie.

#16 of 81 OFFLINE   mike caronia

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Posted December 30 2004 - 03:52 PM

i just watched 'wake up ron burgundy' and loved it.
much more stupid humor for sure. the scene with champ telling ron some things in the car had me in tears.

does anyone know the story behind this film?
is it just 'extra' footage they shot during anchorman?
because it definitely has a plot going on, i can't believe they filmed that much for anchorman and didn't use it..

if anyone who liked anchorman doesn't get the double pack, you're really missing out!

#17 of 81 OFFLINE   jonathan_govols


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Posted December 30 2004 - 03:55 PM

Yes Champ and Ron in the car during "Wake Up Ron Burgundy" was a riot. I think they made a good choice by cutting The Alarm Clock out as well. Just not nearly as good as what was in the film.

The best part of that disc was the remotes the rest of the team had from the beach. The Champ Kind segment was the best.

#18 of 81 OFFLINE   Ray_Gootz


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Posted December 30 2004 - 08:37 PM

The Alarm Clock storyline sucked but if they had released Wake Up Ron Burgundy into Theathers I don't think anyone would have complained. It's easily better than most of the crap movies that have passed for comides the past few years (Sorority Boys, Saving Silverman, American Wedding) In fact I don't know why they didn't just throw this into the Theathers in Febuary...it probably would've made them an easy 50 millon. Sure the critics would've hated it but who gives a rat's ass? They put a ton of work into the Alarm Clock storyine that should be shown to the masses.

Since they aren't really marketing Wake Up as a movie and since it's on the bonus disc I'm gonna say that Wake Up Ron Burgundy is the best extra of 2004. And probably one of the best extras of all time. Also this easily puts Anchorman into one of the best dvd's of the year. It ranks right below Seinfeld, matrix and Return of the King.

#19 of 81 OFFLINE   TonyD


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Posted December 31 2004 - 12:31 AM

The "insert" is also funny on "wake-up".

it's is a replica of an appointment book with 30 pages of bizarre notes from ron to himself.

#20 of 81 OFFLINE   Jesse Blacklow

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Posted December 31 2004 - 12:50 AM

Sweet Grandmother's spatula, is this movie funny! I saw it in the theaters, and just about blew a gasket. So I put it on at my family's house last night, and folks, we have a winner. Almost everyone says it was the funniest movie of the year. The "reporter rumble" scene had everyone in stitches for a good 10 minutes straight. Wonderful film and wonderful DVD. And I still haven't cracked open "Wake Up Ron Burgundy" or taken a look at any of the commentaries or features.

I agree with some of the comments on the transfer not looking as good as it could have, but it was good enough, and in no way did it detract from the film. Skin tones looked off, but since I've been fiddling with levels and colorspaces on my HTPC, it's probably my fault.
"Would I rather be feared or loved? Um...easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me."
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