Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Across the board, this was a pretty solid transfer.
For the most part, sharpness succeeded. A little softness crept into a few shots, but those instances occurred infrequently. The majority of the flick appeared concise and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering popped up, and I saw only minimal edge enhancement. Source flaws remained absent.
Anchorman went with a garish Seventies-influenced palette. We found loud oranges, greens and browns throughout the movie, all of which looked solid within the design. The colors seemed accurate and pretty bold. Blacks were a little inky but usually fine, and shadows came across as smooth and clear. The transfer offered many more positives than negatives and was consistently good.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Anchorman, it presented a very typical “comedy mix”. The material largely focused on the forward channels. Music showed decent stereo spread, and some general ambience crept up on the sides. Not a lot of activity occurred, so don’t expect much pizzazz from the soundscape. The surrounds remained quite passive. They expanded a bit during a fight segment, and a crowd scene opened things up as well, but otherwise they offered little.
At least audio quality was very good. Music sounded lively and full, while effects followed along the same lines. Those elements seemed accurate and clear. Speech also appeared natural and crisp, though a little edginess marred a few lines. This was a perfectly acceptable track though nothing strong enough to merit a grade above a “B-“.
The disc includes a pretty broad selection of extras. These begin with an audio commentary from director Adam McKay, actors Will Ferrell, Andy Richter, Kyle Gass, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Christina Applegate, and musician Lou Rawls. Only McKay and Ferrell participate for the entire running, screen-specific track; the others come and go along the way.
If you’ve heard the comedic commentaries from Ferrell, McKay, etc. for Talladega Nights, you’ll have an idea what to expect here. At the start, Ferrell and McKay explore the limits of the “unrated” commentary; they discuss what kinds of obscenities they can and cannot use. From there, Richter and Gass pop into the session; they had nothing to do with the film, and they’re “bitter” so they start a fight. Rudd joins on the phone and gets involved in the antagonism. Once they leave, Rawls enters. He also played no part in the flick, but he sounds good, so he chats with McKay and Ferrell. Koechner shows up for a while to complain that he didn’t get enough screentime, and Applegate later phones into to gripe that no one invited her to the recording session.
As with the Talladega tracks, this one can be hit or miss. To be sure, you’ll not learn a damned thing about the movie’s creation. The commentary plays everything strictly for laughs, and it often achieves its goal. Some tedious moments come along the way – the opening discussion of obscenity threatens never to end – but the track is usually fun and reasonably amusing.
Next comes a collection of bloopers. This seven-minute and 45-second compilation offers the usual assortment of goofs and giggles, but it works better than most. It throws in plenty of improv bits and gives us a lot of amusement.
During the nine-minute and 30-second The Making of Anchorman, we find movie clips, behind the scenes materials and comments. We hear from Ferrell, McKay, Rudd, Applegate, producer Judd Apatow, and actor Fred Willard. We get notes about the inspirations for the flick, story and characters, cast and performances, and the atmosphere on the set.
In terms of content, “Making” exists to promote the film. It tells us little about the actual production. However, some outtakes and audition tapes pop up along the way, so those make it worth a look.
The movie’s main characters reunite for an “Afternoon Delight” Music Video. Ferrell and the others perform and create an intentionally – and amusingly – hokey clip for the tune. It’s a fun addition.
A Conversation with Ron Burgundy goes for 10 minutes and 43 seconds. Led by newsman Bill Kurtis in front of a live audience, this puts Ferrell in character for an interview. It follows a predictably goofy course that creates a lot of nice laughs,
Our main character pops up again in Ron Burgundy at the MTV Movie Awards. The three-minute and 39-second snippet features Ron as he interviews Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. As with the other pieces, it tosses out some reasonable entertainment.
Dated “August 24, 1979, Ron Burgundy’s ESPN Audition lasts one minute and 57 seconds. Ferrell throws out a lot of sports related lines and makes a decent show for himself.
22 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 29 minutes. Some of these extend existing scenes; these include a revelation about the Vince Vaughn character. We get a lot more about Baxter’s disappearance, some alternate endings, and a quick turn from Joe Flaherty as Veronica’s prior boss. The “Scenes” include a lot of good material.
Text elements appear next. Cast & Filmmakers presents rudimentary bios for actors Ferrell, Applegate, Koechner, Rudd, Willard, Steve Carell, and Chris Parnell, director McKay, producer Apatow, executive producers David O. Russell and Shauna Robertson, co-producer/unit production manager David Householter, director of photography Thomas Ackerman, production designer Clayton R. Hartley, editor Brent White, costume designer Debra McGuire, and composer Alex Wurman. Some Production Notes give us a lot of good information about the flick’s creation. We learn some of this elsewhere, but the section summarizes things well.
The DVD opens with some ads. We find promos for Collateral, The Terminal, Wimbledon, Freaks and Geeks and The Bourne Supremacy. These also appear in the disc’s trailers area. No promo for Anchorman pops up on the DVD.
A spotty and inconsistent comedy, Anchorman presents a decent number of laughs. The flick never quite connects, though, as it’s too up and down to keep us truly entertained much of the time. The DVD presents very good visuals, decent audio, and a few nice extras. Although I lack enthusiasm for the flick, I’d recommend it to fans of Will Ferrell and his cohorts; it has enough going for it to make those folks like it. They just shouldn’t expect it to be one of Ferrell’s stronger efforts.