Anchorman 2 is a film that was never going to happen. Though Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a nice earner for Paramount (pulling $85MM domestic off a $26MM budget), the studio was long weary of the viability of a sequel. In the ten years since the original film launched, creators Adam McKay (Director/Co-Writer) and Will Ferrell teased fans with their desire to step back into the 70s and 80s, and into the world of absurdist anchormen, but lamented that the stars would be hard pressed to align well enough to pull it off. Co-Stars of the original, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Christina Applegate were all enjoying turns in projects both on the small and big screen, and Paramount simply felt the numbers weren’t there. Yet, interest in the project never faltered and after the cast agreed to smaller than usual paychecks to help bring the budget down enough to Paramount’s comfort level, Anchorman 2 was green lit and became another nice earner for Paramount (hauling $172MM of a $50MM budget).
Was it worth the wait? Absolutely, but the original remains the king.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: Not Rated, PG-13
Run Time: 118mins (Theatrical), 122mins (Unrated), 143mins (Super-sized)
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, UltraVioletStandard case with slipsleeve
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 04/01/2014
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
“It's actually pronounced Sahn Dee-aaahh-go”It’s 1980 and the legendary Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is enjoying life co-anchoring the early evening news with his wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) at WBC in New York City. That is until he’s fired by their boss, Mack Tannen (a staid Harrison Ford in a nice cameo) and his wife promoted to the desired nightly news anchor position. Angered, Ron produces an ultimatum; she must choose him or the job. Six months later, split from his wife and fallen from glory, Ron is approached to help launch a daring evolution in news, a 24-hour news station. He agrees, brings together his old team of Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and sets out to reclaim his status as the best darn anchorman there ever was.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the original film quickly became a love it or leave it comedy. Those who found its humor winning almost certainly extolled its comedic virtues to anyone that would listen. Those who weren’t amused likely still can’t understand out what all the fuss was about. And that’s okay. Nothing is more emblematic of unique taste that humor. Having said that, I proudly fell into the former category. Anchorman’s farcicality, dedication to premise, and absolutely laugh out loud improvisational approach elevated the film into one of the all-time greats. And so it is with some disappointment that The Legend Continues falls quite a bit short of that greatness. That’s not to say Anchorman 2 fails at being funny. Far from it. But the ignited genius of the premise and execution rampant in the original are found only sporadically here.
All of the original main cast – and a good portion of the supporting players – return to their roles largely unchanged by the passage of time. Ron Burgundy is less oblivious to his sexist ways but not cured of them, which gives the sequel its narrative impetus when the mustachioed news anchor cannot accept his co-anchor wife being promoted to the coveted primetime news anchor over him. This sets up the relationship arc. Burgundy’s hiring into the revolutionary, brand new 24-hour news channel (the Global News Network, or GNN) and the rivalry he forms there with the young, handsome and smug Jack Lime (a delightful James Marsdan), sets up the other piece of the plot puzzle.
Anchorman 2 plays more like a set of scenes designed to allow the incredibly funny cast to riff on script ideas hung around the (more developed than the original) plot framework, but quite frankly the results are tickling enough that it doesn’t matter nearly as much as it should. And yet the irreverence that throbbed through the original is oddly tempered for most of the sequel. Some moments don’t connect as cleanly as the circumstance promises (the scene in the RV on ‘cruise control’ as the team heads to New York is emblematic of the film as a whole, fun but missing something).
In many ways, the rise, fall and rise again of Ron Burgundy mirrors the original, but there’s enough new to help keep it fresh. Burgundy’s interactions with the African American (or as Burgundy foolishly believes it to be pronounced, African and American) GNN tough woman Linda Jackson are good. The role of Jackson is played by a serviceable but ultimately out-of-her-league Megan Goode, though there is still funny to be found. The comedic spark that comes from the awkwardness of Burgundy rattling through a litany of black stereotypes and offensive outbursts with his patented oblivion during a dinner with her family, is golden. Kristen Wiig also makes a mark as Chani Lastnamè, a kindred spirit to Carrell’s incredibly dimwitted Brick Tamland, though in the theatrical cut the novelty of her appearance is oddly stifled.
Anchorman 2 also manages to offer some mocking commentary about the perils of a 24 hour news station jettisoning sound investigative journalism for sensationalistic pap, reporting what people want to hear rather than what they need to here. It isn’t deep, just sitting on the table, yet it works all the same as a wink at the manufactured news of which we are expose far too often. Ultimately, however, this film is to be enjoyed for the further adventures of Will Ferrell’s exceedingly memorably news anchor who lands above his station time and again. While the spark is deeply faded from the original, there are laughs aplenty to be found in dialogue riffed by comedic actors who know how to take to up to and over the edge:
“I’m this close to shooting a flare gun at your dick”
-“You rubbed your shin thinking it was your penis?”
It’s hard to image Anchorman 2 looking any better than this. Deep, rich colors that mark the Anchorman view of the late 70s (early 80s) absolutely pop off the screen. The 2.40:1 aspect ratio already gives the film a more epic sense but coupled with a lavish film texture brimming with beautiful detail and incredible textures, the entire affair feels larger. The tone is generally warm, assisted by the bold and brightness of the colors, but still flesh tones are nothing but natural.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
A top-notch transfer.
Comedy films don’t tend to give the full audio spectrum a work out, generally having a concentration in the center channel as the funny dialogue is given space to stretch. And while Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues shines in the clarity of its dialogue, there’s plenty of opportunity to delight in other areas. The soundtrack, featuring some great tunes, rumbles and surrounds and the occasional burst of action (as with the RV crash on the highway), is vigorous and pristinely handled. A top-notch audio to accompany the top-notch video.
Audio Rating: 5/5
Paramount and the filmmakers have outdone themselves with this release. The theatrical version and an unrated version are available on disc one with the super-sized, R rated version (released to theaters for a short, special engagement on February 28) available on disc two. These versions offer different improvised takes – with the 25 minute longer version containing a ruder, cruder version that allot more time to different characters (Megan Goode’s character works a little better here, and Carell’s Brick has more to silliness to offer). Paramount could quite easily have offered up this extended version as an additional release later this year, but instead opted to give it away as an extra feature. Worth the price of admission alone.
Special Features Rating: 5/5
In addition to the three versions of the film, a commentary by writers, producers and stars, is available on the first disc, and gag reels and behind the scenes special features offer more laughs along with extended and deleted scenes and more.
Feature film in high definition (Unrated Version)
Commentary by Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell,
Paul Rudd & David Koechner
Feature film in high definition (Theatrical Version)
Behind-the-Scenes: Newsroom—Inside the making of the film
Gag Reel, Parts 1 & 2
Line-O-Rama, Parts 1 & 2—Non-stop alternate lines from the film
Welcome to the Dolphin Show—Ron Burgundy takes on the crowd
Catfight—Christina Applegate vs. Meagan Good with hilarious one-liners
News-O-Rama—Ron and the News Team bring you the headlines
Kench-O-Rama—Mashup of Kench Allenby’s most Australian moments
Cast Table Read
Feature film in high definition (Super-Sized R-Rated Version)
- Anchorman 2: The Musical—A look at the musical sequel that almost was
- RV—Dissecting the RV tumble
- Baxter & Doby—The lovable animals of Anchorman 2
- News Fight—Inside the biggest, baddest all-star celebrity brawl
Extended & Alternate Scenes
Previsualizations—RV, Shark Attack and News Fight sequences
Auditions—Featuring Meagan Good, Dylan Baker and Amy Poehler
Benefit for 826LA: “Spoiler Alert”—A special tribute to Anchorman 2
DVD version of the film (Theatrical Version)
A Sequel to Anchorman was never going to happen…until it did. This labor of love by the cast and filmmakers to get the old gang back together and have some fun may fall short of its predecessor, but it’s always hard to truly go home again after something as special and unique as Anchorman and thus Anchorman 2 proves a likeable but lesser outing for the gang, falling short of pent up expectations.
Overall Rating: 4/5
As with Anchorman, there is a notable, stand-out scene (the tops the silliness scale) – the news anchor brawl – a shameless opportunity for terrific cameos and absurdist glory that delights. So while Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues may not hit the heights of the original, it is certainly entertaining with fine comedic talent given space to riff and have fun. There’s considerable replay value in this handsome package from Paramount with three different versions of the film.
Overall, a terrific release.
Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss
Support HTF when you buy this title: