Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has a few amusing moments and biting satire on 24-hours news networks, but although the cast seems to work well with one another, I found the movie itself to drag on especially towards the end. As someone who wasn’t a huge fan of the original, I came into this with little expectations and it pretty well met them.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Paramount | PG13/R/Unrated – 118 min. / 122 min. / 143 min. – $39.99 | April 1, 2014
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
After much anticipation, nine years after the comedy hit cult status, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has finally arrived. Now, I have to admit up front, I was never a huge fan of the original though I found most it to be funny if not uneven. This version, which is wilder and zanier, compared to its predecessor but instead of heartfelt laughs, I merely found this outing to be amusing in some scenes, mostly the first half, while other moments couldn’t even elicit a chuckle.
Anchorman 2 picks up in the 1980s with boisterous and arrogant Ron Burgundy (WILL FERRELL) and wife Veronica Corningstone (CHRISTINA APPLEGATE) working the anchor’s desk in New York City when longtime nightly news anchor Mack Tannen (HARRISON FORD) is retiring and has offered the desk to Veronica and fired Ron due to his sloppy on-air performances. At home, where we learn the pair has a 6-year-old son, Ron makes an ultimatum that it was either him or the job followed by a funny title reveal.
Of course, Veronica chooses the job and we next find Ron back in San Diego, drunk and hosting a dolphin show after which he’s fired and fails at a suicide attempt… but it was done with humor. Just after he gets a visit from Freddie Shapp (DYLAN BAKER) who offers Ron an anchor gig for a new 24-hour network, GNN, that is believed to revolutionize news. Ron accepts and gathers his old colleagues to join: Brian Fantana (PAUL RUDD) working as a cat photographer; sports guy Champ Kind (DAVID KOECHNER) owner of a friend chicken joint that doesn’t exactly serve friend chicken; and weatherman Brick Tamland (STEVE CARELL) who was presumed dead but makes an appearance at his own memorial.
Together they go on a road trip out to New York City and upon arrival, and getting in a rollover crash along the way as seen in every trailer, they discover they are not the top cock in the building given the 2-5 am graveyard shift while handsome Jack Lime (JAMES MARSDEN) helming the anchor desk in primetime. He and Ron get into a chatter match when Ron makes the insane bet that he will beat Jack’s ratings and if not, will leave NYC for good. What happens next revolutionizes network television and, in a great bit of satire which rings so true especially with current events (just turn on CNN or Fox News), Ron stumbles onto something extraordinary but at what cost?
The remainder of the movie goes with this line of the plot with a heavy sidetrack when, during a skating “accident”, Ron goes blind and spends the segment floundering during which Veronica returns and he nurses back a beached baby shark to health. Yeah, it’s bizarre but it’s only the beginning with a culmination with one of the more, um, incredible and yet random finales which does mimic the first Anchorman but takes it up a notch to include a ghost, a minotaur and a plethora of famous cameos.
However, one of my problems with Anchorman 2 isn’t that it recycles some of the jokes, and certainly tone, from the first film but I sat there more amused with a few chuckles than outright laughter. Yeah, the satire is great and makes some good points about the 24-hour news and how it’s turned into entertainment than actual news coverage, but for a comedy I never found anything to be hilarious. You have many scenes where characters merely yell and scream and while some might find that hilarious, I thought it was more annoying than anything else. To be fair, this isn’t the worst comedy I’ve come across in 2013 and not nearly drop dead, mouth agape awful like a few turds that came out – Scary Movie 5 and Grown Ups 2 come to mind – so this film does have that going for it, this is something I probably wouldn’t mind revisiting at some point.
On the plus side, the cast does share incredible chemistry and it’s obvious they’re all having a grand time. Will Ferrell once again does an amazing job donning his Ron Burgundy persona and his fellow co-stars including Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner each have some fun scenes with Carell and Kristen Wiig having some of the more strange exchanges, again more amusing than laugh-out-rioting comedy.
The remainder of the supporting cast fills their parts well enough: Christina Applegate doesn’t have a lot to do until the third act; Dylan Baker is wonderful as the network manager; James Marsden is great as Burgundy’s semi-antagonist (it’s dropped early on); and Meagan Good is fantastic in as a boss who really makes Ron uncomfortable, though the two share some steamy scenes.
Co-Written with Ferrell and directed by Adam McKay, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues might not be a movie that needed to exist, and to be honest you can say that about many sequels, and although it doesn’t quite deliver on the laughs compared with its predecessors, or have the catchy quotes, I didn’t hate it at all, just never fell in love with it. There are many scenes I liked which elicited a chuckle; otherwise not many of the jokes hit their marks.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
This release comes with a glossy, title-embossed, slip cover. Inside is an activation code for either the UltraViolet version or standard Digital Copy via iTunes. There is also a DVD Copy containing the theatrical version.
There are a ton of special features that will keep you busy.
This disc contains the PG-13 Theatrical Version and a new Unrated Version containing about 4-minutes of new or alternate material. I decided to watch the unrated one and even not seeing the other, the main difference is cruder humor and language.
Audio Commentary – Available only on the extended (unrated) version, Co-Writer/Producer/Director Adam McKay and Co-Writer/Producer/Actor Will Ferrell provide a fun commentary with Producer Judd Apatow and Actors Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner popping in and out.
Behind-the Scenes: Newsroom (18:50; HD) – This is a BTS look at how Anchorman 2 came to be from the story and the good times the cast have making each other crack up with improvised lines.
Gag Reel (14:50; HD) – There’s so much material with line flubs and crack-ups they split it into two parts with a “Play All” option available.
Line-O-Rama (8:14; HD) is a staple on any Judd Apatow movie (as producer or director) and is a two-part extravaganza of improvised lines.
Welcome to the Dolphin Show (2:03; HD) and Catfight (1:49; HD) are alternate takes, or a Line-O-Ramas, for their respective scenes.
News-O-Rama (2:28; HD) and Kench-O-Rama (1:40; HD) are more alternate lines.
And the Table Read (21:52; HD) allows you to watch the cast go through various scenes.
Super-Sized R-Rated Version (2:23:14; HD) – This version has some alternate and vastly extended scenes and although I only perused it, this is only for hardcore fans I suspect.
Behind-the-Scenes (46:16; HD) looks at four key sequences “Anchorman 2: The Musical”, “RV”, “Baxter & Doby” and “News Fight”.
Deleted Scenes (10:14; HD) – Amazingly enough, between the two versions, there’s STILL extra material left on the cutting room floor. This includes 8 scenes that were removed.
Extended/Alternate Scenes (1:31:01; HD) – Yep, there’s still more scenes, 24 to be exact, that were trimmed.
Previsualizations (8:47; HD) allows you to see the pre-viz on the “RV”, “Shark Attack” and “News Fight” scenes.
Auditions (6:34; HD) are available to view for Meagan Good as well as two from the 2003 vault for Dylan Baker and Amy Poehler auditioning for the roles of Ed Harken and Veronica respectably.
Benefit for 826LA: “Spoiler Alert” (3:36; HD) was some kind of charity concert featuring Jack Black.
Also included are 6 Theatrical Trailers (10:08; HD).
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Anchorman 2 saunters onto Blu-ray, drink in hand, and show it’s in the big time with a 1080p high-definition transfer and presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture isn’t as gorgeous compared with other new releases with a softer tone but detail levels are good and colors do have a certain pop to them and appear evenly spread. There are not much in the way of grain and absolutely no signs of artifacts or pixilation whatsoever; it’s a fine transfer yet hardly anything amazing, just very good.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track on the other hand comes out a tad better and surprisingly has a bite to it with the LFE channel having a slight impact in a few scenes. Otherwise, dialogue sounds clear throughout and the choice music comes across each channel quite well including the great 80s song, “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)” plus even some Neil Diamond was thrown in there!
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has a few amusing moments and biting satire on 24-hours news networks, but although the cast seems to work well with one another, I found the movie itself to drag on especially towards the end. As someone who wasn’t a huge fan of the original, I came into this with little expectations and it pretty well met them. Although the movie isn’t great, the Blu-ray released by Paramount is filled to the brim with amazing features to keep viewers busy.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.