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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy(2004)
Ron Burgundy is San Diego's top-rated news anchorman. While he is outwardly willing to adjust to the idea of females in the workplace -- even outside of secretarial positions -- he certainly doesn't want his own job challenged. Keeping that in mind, it's no wonder that the arrival of Veronica Corningstone, an aspiring newswoman, is, in Ron's eyes, not the studio's most welcome addition. After Veronica pays her dues covering so-called female-oriented fluff pieces (think cat fashion shows and cooking segments), the ambitious Veronica sets her eyes on the news desk; more specifically, on Ron's seat behind it. Not unpredictably, Ron doesn't take the threat lightly, and it isn't long before the rival newscasters are engaged in a very personal battle of the sexes.
For more about Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and the Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray release, see Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 3, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard
Director: Adam McKay
» See full cast & crew
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray Review
'Brick, where did you get a hand grenade?' 'I don't know.'
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 3, 2010
'Diversity' means that times are changing.
Will Ferrell (Blades of Glory) and his fellow "Frat Pack"-ers haven't quite reached the same level of excellence as Comedy's top crop -- including Bill Murray, John Candy, James Belushi, and Chevy Chase -- that graced screens in the 1980s, but Anchorman brings the gang a step closer to solidifying themselves as one of the genre's elite groupings. Raunchy, sexist, and tactless, Anchorman sets its sights on the 1970s newscasting business and proves just how much fun a world free of political correctness can be. Heaven help anyone that tries to pull off these sorts of attitudes in the real world -- then or now -- but as big-screen entertainment, Anchorman is a laugh riot that allows viewers to revel in the sort of environment that just can't, doesn't, and shouldn't exist off-screen. Its men are pigs, its women are hot, its dialogue is chauvinistic, and its plot is absurd, but it all comes together in a seamless and uproariously funny movie that's arguably the best Comedy to come out of 2004 and is already a genre classic.
It is anchor 'man' and not anchor 'lady.'
Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) is the lead anchor at San Diego's Channel 4 News, the highest-rated news program in the city. He's loved by one and all for his steady cadence, smart delivery, and personable demeanor. He's a ladies man and a big hit around town, the center of attention, the winner of multiple Emmy Awards, and best friends with his three fellow newsmen: roaming reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd, Knocked Up), sportscaster 'Champ' Kind (David Koechner, Waiting), and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell, Dan in Real Life). The station's routine is upset when affiliates demand a female be added to its male-dominated lineup. Enter Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate, The Big Hit), an ambitious reporter with her eye on the anchor chair. In Corningstone, Burgundy's finally met his match; she has no interest in the Emmy Winner's pseudo-charms, and she's not fazed by the sexism and distractions that run rampant in the office and on the set during her first broadcasts. As Burgundy and friends outwardly want to get rid of Veronica but inwardly appreciate her good looks and quality work, they must either come to terms with their co-worker's presence or fall apart both personally and professionally because of it.
I will not eat cat poop!
The sign of any great Comedy isn't necessarily how much it makes its viewers laugh -- Anchorman's got that down pat -- but in how well the movie penetrates into popular culture and displays a staying power through the use of lines, phrases, and catchwords that evolve from a scripted and delivered line in a movie into everyday colloquialisms that become a part of the lexicon. Movies like Caddyshack, Major League, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Groundhog Day are classics in part because they've evolved into something greater than a movie, having become synonymous with some facet of life thanks to a key line that often makes for a better descriptor of that moment than everyday language. Anchorman's packed with catch phrases -- "stay classy," "I'm kind of a big deal" -- that not only recall the movie, but have come to replace other, similar words and phrases in everyday language. It's that quotability and the instantly-recognizable dialogue that make movies like Anchorman irreplaceable; those who haven't seen it are left in the dark, but catching up with popular culture is just as good a reason as any to spend 90 minutes with Ferrell and gang; after all, their delivery is just as important to the staying power of a line as what it actually says.
You stay classy, San Diego.
Indeed, Anchorman's cast is rock-solid, with each of the core players falling so completely into character that the movie never once feels like, well, a movie, instead playing as some oddly appealing but still sexist and thematically grotesque behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of local newsmen in some parallel universe. Will Ferrell's performance is unquestionably the finest in the film, as it should be; there's not much to say because his performance is pitch-perfect and arguably the best of his career. He's got Burgundy down so well that his schtick as an overly confident, self-absorbed, center-of-attention slime ball needs no analysis; his is one of the best performances in memory in a raunchy Comedy. Christina Applegate turns in a great performance as the object of the men's affection and derision; they can't take their eyes off of her, but they can't stand that she's a part of the team, either. Applegate understands and embraces that dynamic through a performance that's as sassy as it is sweet, as sexy as it is invigorating. Burgundy's trio of misfits that form his band of supporting newsmen all play their parts like little puppies that can't help but love their master. David Koechner is excellent as a cowboy sportscaster whose potty mouth rivals that of anyone in the gang. If there's an equal to Ferrell and his effort, it's Steve Carell and his performance as an idiot weatherman with a low IQ and no idea what it is he's ever saying, which the perfect portrayal of the seemingly always-wrong weather personalities on the local news. Paul Rudd's character sometimes seems to disappear into the background behind the towering Ferrell, the loud Koechner, and the bumbling Carell, but he's still great as a guy who seems made up of parts of all three of his friends.
Como estan, beetches?
Finally, any Anchorman fan will be hard-pressed to choose a favorite moment; here's a movie that's literally packed with one joke, classic scene, and great performance after another. There's no breathing room, not time to sit back and contemplate the dynamics behind characters or their work environment, and certainly no respite for the funny bone. Aside from its five lead characters, Anchorman enjoys a smattering of fantastic secondary performances and cameos; whether Vince Vaughn's amazing effort as the lead anchor at San Diego's second highest-rated newscast or Luke Wilson's humorous turn as the third-ranked anchor in the city; Fred Willard's excellent portrayal of the aging news director who's forced to bring in a female even if he's a sexist in his own right who wants to be "one of the guys" and still 30 years younger at heart; or the great little efforts turned in by some of the decade's hottest stars like Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Seth Rogen; the film is never absent a familiar face or a great performance on-screen. Altogether, the cast delivers one fantastic moment after another. Arguably the best is the battle royale that plays out between the lead news teams from the market's top three outlets, the newscasters from the publicly-funded station, and the Spanish-language TV news team. The pandemonium and over-the-top violence is played against the backdrop of newsmen who want to bash one another's brains in but agree not to mangle their enemies' most prized possessions -- their faces and hair -- and the scene just says "classic" from the moment Vaughn's news team wanders into the alley on their bicycles and followed by the three other groups. Director Adam McKay (The Other Guys) handles the chaos exceptionally well, making sure that each character keeps on playing themselves and doesn't suddenly turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger during the brawl. Other classic segments include Burgundy and Champ prank calling Corningstone, Burgundy's fall from grace, and Burgundy's playing of the "Yazz" flute.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Paramount brings this Best Buy exclusive release of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy to Blu-ray with a steady and generally strong 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. This high definition image yields impressive detailing across the board, whether in the newscasters' tweed jackets, odds and ends around the station, or close-ups of human faces. Colors are rich and vibrant -- perhaps a bit unnaturally so -- jumping off the screen with regularity in support of the film's 1970s-inspired palette. The image maintains a strong sense of depth and appears very sharp and focused throughout, with no soft spots or otherwise fuzzy or troublesome frames. Whites do tend to bloom here while noise finds its way into the image there. There are also a few intermittent speckles over the image and several thick halos around some objects outlined against brighter backdrops, but neither present much cause of alarm. Anchorman retains a layer of film grain and, despite a few minor issues, Paramount's transfer captures a pleasant film-like texture and, far more often than not, impresses in its Blu-ray debut.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy broadcasts onto Blu-ray with a technically sound but structurally basic DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Typical of a Comedy high definition audio presentation, Anchorman lacks much surround information -- it's mostly comprised of a few basic directional elements and distinctive effects -- but Paramount's track handles all that's asked of it well enough. Music is pleasantly smooth and satisfying as it lingers primarily across the front; it isn't cramped but neither is it as spacious and seamless as the best of lossless presentations. Generally, though, Anchorman is little more than a dialogue-drive Comedy; in that regard, the track is strong with the spoken word focused clearly up the middle. Narration can suffer from some unnatural heft on the low end, but otherwise, this is a quality, if not unassuming and generic-in-structure, presentation. Anchorman won't win any sound design or Blu-ray audio awards, but fans should be satisfied with this clean and effortless mix.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Paramount's "Rich Mahogany Edition" two-disc Blu-ray release of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is bursting at the seams with extra content. Disc one -- which features both the 94-minute theatrical cut and the longer 97 minute extended cut of the film -- begins with an audio commentary track with Director/Writer Adam McKay; Actor/Writer Will Ferrell; Musicians Lou Rawls and Kyle Gass; Entertainer Andy Richter; and Actors Paul Rudd, David Koechner, and Christina Applegate. Comprised primarily by the random musings of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, the track meanders around as the two speak about almost everything but the film, and then they suddenly -- and humorously -- attempt to turn the commentary into a more serious, thoughtful, and generic discussion by speaking facetiously on lenses, test screenings, the performances, and more. It's actually funnier than their random off-the-cuff comments. The other participants come and go at various places in the track. The track for the extended and unrated edition is kicked off by a deluge of cuss words, some of which are bleeped out for humorous effect. It's even more random than the first commentary, not to mention far raunchier. Fans expecting a "real" commentary will be disappointed, but for something completely different, give this one a listen. Also included on disc one is a collection of 36 deleted and extended scenes (480p, 53:56), a blooper reel (480p, 7:46), the "Afternoon Delight" music video (480p, 3:50), and Ron Burgundy's ESPN SportsCenter Audition (480p, 1:55).
Disc two begins with the most impressive extra in the set, the full-length film Wake Up, Ron Burgundy (1080p, DTS-HD MA 5.1, 1:32:55), which is said to be "the chaff from the wheat, the skim from the milk, the pudding from the all-you-can-eat lobster buffet." It's a full-length film assembled form cut scenes and various subplots that didn't make the final cut of Anchorman. The technical quality of the presentation is up to par, with a strong, colorful, and nicely detailed 1080p image and a quality lossless soundtrack that's reflective of that which accompanies the feature film. This film was originally released straight to video in 2004 but is included as a bonus with this set. Will Ferrell and Aaron Zimmerman have also recorded a brief "Intro-Commentary" for Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, which runs just under 13 minutes. Never mind Paramount's quality technical presentation of Anchorman and the massive collection of extras; fans who have yet to see this will want to purchase the "Rich Mahogany Edition" Blu-ray for Wake Up, Ron Burgundy alone.
Additionally, disc two contains a wealth of Anchorman content, beginning with a series of five Ron Burgundy Public Service Announcements (480p, 3:41) and followed by Ron Burgundy's 1970 Emmy Awards speech (480p, 3:12). Raw Footage 'Good Takes' (480p, 39:26) is a collection of 27 alternate takes and improvisations. 'Afternoon Delight' Recording Session (480p, 2:49) features the cast rehearsing for the song that appears in final music video form on disc one. Next up is Happy Birthday AMC Loews (480p, 3:15), a short piece featuring Ron Burgundy's reporting on Loews' 100th birthday. Interviews (480p) at the 2004 MTV Music Awards with Rebecca Romijn (3:37), Jim Caviezel (3:24), and Burt Reynolds (3:12) are next. Specials is a series of three featurettes. Cinemax: The Making of 'Anchorman' (480p, 9:29) takes viewers behind-the-scenes via a rather generic little feature that contains cast and crew discussing the movie, its story, and characters. Comedy Central Reel Comedy: 'Anchorman' (480p, 8:31) features Bill Kurtis looking for the real man behind the anchor desk in an interview with Ron Burgundy. A Conversation With Ron Burgundy (480p, 10:41) again features Kurtis speaking with Burgundy, this time in front of an audience.
Next is a collection of cast auditions (480p, 13:03) featuring Christina Applegate, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Kevin Corrigan, and Justin Long, as well as a series of "alternate universe" takes (480p, 4:38) with David Koechner playing "Brick," Steve Carell playing "Fantana," Fred Armisen playing "Arturo Mendez," and Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler both playing "Veronica." Table Read 6/2/03 (480p) features the cast reading through six different scenes -- Women Don't Belong in the Newsroom (2:29), News Team Confrontation (2:56), News Team Take a Run at Veronica (5:14), The Alarm Clock (1:48), Ron and Veronica Date (3:02), and Ron and Veronica Sleep Together (3:07). Next up is rehearsal footage (480p, 9:09) followed by Playback Video (480p, 5:10), a feature that contains some of the news team's more embarrassing moments. Commercial Break (480p, 2:04) looks at some of the more humorous moments from the Anchorman set. Rounding out the on-disc extras is the film's teaser trailer (1080p, 1:50), theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:32), and "Trounced Spiderman" TV Spot (480p, 0:17). Also included in the oversized box is a pack of 12 Anchorman trading cards and the booklet "The Many Months of Burgundy," a 12-month planner filled with Ron Burgundy's own musings, appointments, drawings, and photographs.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a new Comedy classic that revels in the taboo humor of sexism; the movie's packed with innuendo, crude jokes, and political incorrectness run amok, but it all works thanks to an exceptionally strong cast who all fall into character and stay there for the duration. One of the funniest movies of the decade and one that's heavily influenced the Comedy genre since its release in 2004, Anchorman is a must-see Comedy that gets everything right and never relents or misses an opportunity to remain uproariously funny from start to finish. Paramount stays classy with its Blu-ray release of Anchorman. This "Rich Mahogany" edition is packed with extra content, and the movie sports a good technical presentation. Whether viewers choose to watch the theatrical or extended cut, they'll enjoy the movie all the more thanks to Paramount's strong effort. Anchorman comes very highly recommended.
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