Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Blu-ray Review

Super-Sized Blu-ray Review: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

April 2, 2014Ben MK

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Still classy

By Ben Mk

This past December, one film captivated moviegoers, transporting them back to 1970's New York — a time of questionable fashion choices (and questionable perms) — and igniting the box office with sex, scandal and Oscar-worthy performances. That film — was American Hustle. But who needs Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence when your movie has a bottle-fed shark, a were-hyena, Baxter the dog and the ghost of Stonewall Jackson? There's only one film that dares to be that ridiculous, that audacious and that hilarious — and that's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

The title says it all — Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues tells the continuing (and epic) saga of Ron Burgundy, picking up the tale some years after the conclusion of the first film. Things have been looking up for Ron (Will Ferrell) since then. He and his one-time competitor, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), are now married, with a six-year-old son named Walter (Judah Nelson); and together they're making a name for themselves as daytime co-anchors for WBC in New York. But it's not long before Ron is sitting on the bottom rung of the ladder again, when evening news legend Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford, in a cameo role) taps Veronica as his successor, simultaneously booting him to the curb. After issuing a stern ultimatum to his wife — "It's me or the job!" — Ron finds himself back down in the dumps, hosting the dolphin show at Sea World San Diego six months later.

Opportunity soon comes a-knockin' on Ron's door, however, in the form of Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker), who comes bearing a job offer from New York-based media startup GNN — the Global News Network, the world's first and only 24-hour news network. Eager to rekindle his relationship with Veronica and reclaim his rightful spot behind the news desk, Ron signs on. He'll need a news team to back him up, though; and so he and Baxter hop into the RV to reconnect with his old crew — sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Soon, they arrive at the GNN offices in New York, ready to start anew. But Ron and his pals face an uphill battle, with a feisty new boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), to impress, and new rivals to vanquish, including charismatic newsman Jack Lime (James Marsden) and Veronica's new, pony-tail-sporting boyfriend, Gary (Greg Kinnear).

Although it's been nearly a decade since Ferrell, Applegate, Carell, Rudd and Koechner have reprised their roles — and they, writer/director Adam McKay and producer Judd Apatow have since moved on to bigger and better things — they slip back into the Anchorman formula so effortlessly that it's as if they never left these characters. Fans of the original will instantly get onboard with this sequel, which brings back the same sophmoric humor, ridiculous gags and wink-wink-nudge-nudge social commentary — this time, zeroing in on the circus that has become of some network news outlets. It even ups the stakes and goes even further over the top — especially in its third act, abandoning all logic in favor of a free-for-all laugh-riot of epic proportions.

Paramount debuts Anchorman 2 on Blu-ray with a stunning HD transfer — or to be more accurate, transfers. The Blu-ray release includes not one, but three cuts of the film, and whichever you choose to laugh along with — whether it's the original PG-13 theatrical cut, the unrated extended cut or the R-rated Super-Sized version — it's impossible to be disappointed with the A/V presentation. From start to finish, picture quality is as sharp as a tack — as evidenced by the crispness of the news graphics and the delineation of each individual hair in the many manly moustaches — and colors — from the burgundy of Ron's trademark suit to the mustard yellows of Linda Jackson's office and the neon green of Brick's Chroma Key weather segment backdrop — are rich, bold and bolstered by punchy contrast. The sequel also boasts double the budget of its predecessor, and every cent of it is evident in the film's slicker production design and bigger set pieces. The disc's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack makes easy work of the film's dialog-driven comedic elements, and it equally impresses with its smooth handling of the film's more action-oriented sequences — such as the climactic, no-holds-barred news fight — ensuring that the sounds of jets, explosions and motorcycle engines jolt and envelope viewers as they should.

As if three different versions of the film weren't enough, the Blu-ray release also comes loaded with more HD special features than even the most ardent Ron Burgundy fan can enjoy in one sitting — over four hours of it, in fact. A DVD copy of the film and a code redeemable for an iTunes or UltraViolet digital copy are also included in the package, but the sheer quantity of extras is so overwhelming that it takes two Blu-ray discs just to contain it all.

Accompanying the theatrical and extended cuts of the film on Disc 1 are eight special features (nine, if you count the audio commentary on the extended version, featuring McKay, Apatow, Ferrell, Carell, Rudd and Koechner). Judd Apatow fans will recognize the M.O. of most of these extras — such as Gag Reel, Line-O-Rama, Welcome to the Dolphin Show, Catfight, News-O-Rama and Kench-O-Rama — which altogether amount to a 31-minute showcase of the cast's improvisational talent. There's also the 19-minute Behind-the-Scenes: Newsroom — which speaks to the film's inspiration, cast and production design — and the 22-minute Table Read — in which the cast rehearse nine scenes from the film.

But the real meat and potatoes lies on Disc 2, which houses not only the Super-Sized version of the film (which runs 24 minutes longer than the theatrical cut) but also seven more extras. The lion's share of these is comprised of another behind-the-scenes featurette — the 46-minute Behind-The-Scenes, which covers the filming of key scenes, as well as the film's jettisoned musical numbers — and 91 minutes of Extended/Alternate Scenes — encompassing twenty-five scenes, some of which can be found in the extended and Super-Sized versions. There are also 10 minutes of Deleted Scenes (numbering eight in total), nine minutes of Previsualizations (for the RV rollover, shark attack and news fight sequences), seven minutes of Auditions (featuring audition footage from Meagan Good, as well as Dylan Baker and Amy Poehler's auditions for the first film) and Benefit For 826LA: "Spoiler Alert" (which is a 4-minute clip of Jack Black performing on-stage for 826LA, a non-profit writing and tutoring center). 10 minutes of Anchorman 2 trailers cap off the special features on Disc 2, which includes three teaser trailers, two domestic trailers and one international trailer.

As for the Super-Sized version of the film, which saw a limited theatrical release earlier this year and is touted as having 763 new jokes — it's just as entertaining as (and not that dissimilar from) the theatrical cut. Unlike what Wake Up, Ron Burgundy did for the original Anchorman, there are no new subplots added; however, a handful of musical numbers (as mentioned in the special features) have been restored. The alternate jokes are hit-and-miss, compared to the theatrical cut; but otherwise, the thing that stands out the most about the Super-Sized version is that the Doby the shark scenes that bookend the original cut have been excised. However, the Doby scenes in the middle of the third act remain intact, resulting in a joke that doesn't pay off as well as it does in the theatrical version.

It takes a special set of actors with a special chemistry to pull off the brand of humor on display in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Even after nine years, Ferrell and company prove that they still have what it takes to keep audiences rolling in the aisles. And the few obvious jabs at the current (read: ridiculous) state of network news peppered throughout the film give it an extra level of potency, despite the fact that the story completely abandons its slight footing in reality in the third act. Paramount's Blu-ray release features a top-notch A/V presentation, but it's the bounty of hilarious and informative extras that pushes this release over the top, making Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues on Blu-ray very classy indeed.

Disc Breakdown
The Film  —  ★★★½
Audio/Visual Fidelity  —  ★★★★★
Special Features  —  ★★★★

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