HD DVD Review: Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Unrated)
By Frankie Dees Dec 3, 2007, 17:42 GMT
Will Ferrel (Old School, Elf) is Ron Burgundy, a top-rated 1970\'s San Diego anchorman who believes women have a place in the newsroom - as long as they stick to covering fashion shows or late-breaking cooking stories. So when ron is told he\'ll be working with a bright young newswoman (Christina Applegate) who\'s beautiful, ambitious and smart enough to be more than eye candy, it\'s not just a clash of ...more
A year after ‘Old School’, Will Ferrell takes on his first notable starring role outside the family genre in ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ which establishes a trilogy of sorts that also includes ‘Talladega Nights’ and ‘Blades of Glory’ about cocky man-child’s unaware of their own ridiculousness.
Ferrell now takes on more duties than just running down the road naked and taking a dart to the neck, he also took a hand in the scripting this time around, teaming up with former SNL head writer Adam McKay who also makes his feature debut in addition to co-writing the script with Ferrell. And if Ron Burgundy feels a little too much like a SNL sketch, well, there ya go.
But luckily we don’t get another ‘A Night at the Roxbury’ here with Ferrell and McKay fashioning a character and ensemble more than worthy of having a full 97-minutes to themselves. Smartly, Ferrell is one of those comedians not afraid to be upstaged, and surrounds himself with an equally laugh-out loud cast – with Anchorman sporting one of the best comic ensembles since the days of ‘Caddyshack’.
Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Fred Willard, David Koechner, cameos by Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins – even then unknown Seth Rogen pops up-‘Anchorman’ isn’t short of people trying and succeeding to make you laugh.
A witty script full of inspired madness lampoons an easy target: the big hair and chops, the ridiculous eye-sore clothing and suits, and the chauvinism of the late seventies. Wrapping all of these conceits around a male-dominated news team in San Diego of that era proves a gold mine of ideas.
Ron Burgundy is a God among men, the reigning king of San Diego’s news coverage. With all the wine, women and song he can handle, he and his team – bright as a brick, weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell), field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Sports guru Champ Kind (David Koechner)-are enjoying the high life.
A wrench is thrown in to their comfortable male-dominated careers, however, when Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) shows up not afraid to stand up to the big boys. Its rough going at first with all the guys, including Fred Willard’s producer Ed, publicly and privately mocking her ambitions but Ron and Veronica develop a thing for each other despite all this.
But the romance quickly turns ugly when Ron gets detained and Veronica is forced to fill in for him – a move that makes her an overnight smash and results with Ed installing her as co-anchor much to the disgust of Ron and his pals. . .the behind-the-scenes feuding leads to a slip-up by Ron, an on-air mistake that costs him his job and fame. A mere mortal now, can Ron regain his status as a God and get his job and his woman back?
With all of the cast getting their moments to shine-Carrell as Brick the Weatherman with an I.Q. roughly that of a toddler slays every time as does Rudd’s pompous wannabe ladies’ man who likes to rip out the putrid cologne ‘Panther’ when he’s faced with a real challenge-and Ferrell dropping wacked-out, giddy bon mots at a rat-a-tat pace, the film can be immensely enjoyable when approached in the right mood.
Honestly, I didn’t respond to it as well the first time I checked out in theaters but it seems to be a film that grows funnier over time. This was probably the third time I watched it over the past three and a half years or so and I don’t think I ever laughed harder watching it.
The film is presented in a 1080p widescreen transfer and Dreamworks did a great job with a pic that works really well in high-def. Unlike recent comedy releases ‘Old School’ and ‘Hot Rod’, the over-the-top, loud 70s era colors-the golds, purples, greens-just pop off the screen.
Clarity and detail is top-notch and I couldn’t spot any over-abundant grain or noise. A Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 track is provided and does a commendable job although some may find fault with Dreamworks eschewing lossless audio.
Like ‘Old School’, Dreamworks doesn’t add anything new but does carry over all the ample special features from the SD ‘Unrated, Uncut & Uncalled For’ version. First up is over 35 minutes of hilarious Bloopers and Deleted Scenes that focus on all the riffing and joking.
‘Ron Burgundy’s Unforgettable Interviews at the MTV Movie Awards’ is next along with ‘Ron Burgundy’s ESPN Audition’ and ‘An Interview with Ron Burgundy Courtesy of the Museum of Television and Radio’. If you’re a fan of the character, you’ll get a big laugh out of those. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay give us a fun commentary track and a ‘Making of’, the ‘Afternoon Delight’ Music Video and Trailers round out the package.
While it didn’t prove to be the huge success that everyone thought, particularly after the crazy success of ‘Elf’ the year before, I find ‘Anchorman’ to be his best starring comedic role to date despite ‘Talladega Nights’ and ‘Blades of Glory’ having the better commercial business.
The high-def presentation actually makes quite a difference and with all of the special features carried over (although it would have been nice if they included ‘Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie’, a bonus disc compiled of feature-length left-over footage from ‘Anchorman), I think an HD double-dip would be more than justified for fans.