Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie provided an inconsistent 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 acceptably concise and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering popped up, but edge haloes created more than a few distractions. I also noticed occasional small specks and marks; these weren’t a frequent issue, but they appeared more often than I’d like.
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. This wasn’t a bad transfer, but the mix of minor issues left it as a “C+”.
As for the DTS-HD MA 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-“.
How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the 2004 DVD? Both demonstrated pretty similar sound. Though the lossless track might’ve had a little more kick, the mix lacked the involvement to show real differences.
Visuals offered improvements, but it wasn’t as big a step up as it should’ve been. While it boasted greater definition, it also showed more source flaws and more prominent edge haloes. I do prefer the Blu-ray, but it could’ve used greater care.
Only some of the DVD’s extras repeat here. 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.
Note that the Blu-ray allows you to choose between the film’s theatrical and unrated versions. The former runs 94:35, while the latter goes for 97:24. I’ve only ever watched the longer edition, so I can’t comment on the differences. It’s nice that the Blu-ray lets us see both, especially since the DVD editions only ever offered the extended cut.
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.
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.
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.
36 Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 53 minutes, 56 seconds. 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.
This Blu-ray adds about 14 minutes of deleted/extended scenes not found on the DVD, but it drops some of that release’s components. We lose a featurette and some in-character pieces. I believe these can be found on the two-disc Best Buy exclusive Anchorman - along with other pieces – but they’re MIA here.
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 Blu-ray presents decent picture and audio as well as 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.
To rate this film, visit the Unrated review of ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGANDY