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 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 original 2011 Blu-ray? They were identical – literally. The 2013 release simply repackages the old Blu-ray.
That means this 2-disc “Rich Mahogany Edition” includes all the 2011 set’s extras as well as some others previously exclusive to a Best Buy release. On Disc One, we 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 1:34:06, while the latter goes for 1:37:24. 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 offered the extended cut.
Next comes a collection of bloopers. This seven-minute and 46-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 55 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.
With that, we head to Disc Two, the one that used to be a Best Buy exclusive. The main attraction comes from a “lost movie”: Wake Up, Ron Burgundy. This runs one hour, 32 minutes, 55 seconds and provides a “new” tale made up of excised plot lines, deleted scenes and alternate takes. Mostly it follows the same narrative as the final film – with an emphasis on Ron/Veronica – but we also find a subplot with a radical group called “The Alarm Clock”.
We’re accustomed to collections of deleted scenes, but it’s definitely unusual to find them assembled into an alternate film. I’m not sure Wake Up works as a standalone product; actually, I suspect that if you saw it without having viewed Anchorman, it’d make little sense.
But since virtually no one would do that, it becomes a fun way to watch all that unused footage, even if some elements contradict themselves – or does Ron get fired twice? I’m glad the final film left out the Alarm Clock subplot. It’s amusing and lets us see folks like Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph, but it doesn’t fit well with the rest of the tale. Still, Wake Up is an awfully cool addition to the package.
We can view Wake Up with or without an intro-commentary from Will Ferrell and “Aaron Silverman” – who may or may not be Adam McKay in character. This acts as a commentary that covers only the first 12 minutes, 50 seconds of the film. During that span, Ferrell mostly questions what “Silverman” – who claims to be the “third-credited executive producer” - did on the production. It offers some amusement.
Under PSA, we find five clips that fill a total of three minutes, 41 seconds. These provide “public service announcements” from Ron Burgundy on topics like drugs and hippies. They offer reasonable comedy.
With Award Speech, we get a three-minute, 12-second segment with two versions of the scene in which Ron accepts a prize for his work. Expect the usual goofiness in this enjoyable snippet.
A slew of Raw Footage appears next. Subtitled “Good Takes”, this collects 27 clips for a total of 39 minutes, 26 seconds of material. This area gives us a slew of alternate takes and lines. At times, it veers into blooper reel territory, but it usually offers a cool look at comedic concepts that didn’t make the cut.
Next comes the ”Afternoon Delight” Recording Session. It lasts two minutes, 58 seconds and shows the actors as they tape their vocals for the song. While more about joking around than anything else, it still provides some fun.
Created as an “in-house” piece, Happy Birthday AMC Loews fills three minutes, 15 seconds. Ron congratulates the chain on their 100 years of existence in this entertaining reel that also includes some outtakes.
Three segments show up under Interviews, as we get chats with Rebecca Romijn (3:37), Jim Caviezel (3:24) and Burt Reynolds (3:12). Created for the 2004 MTV Movie Awards, these feature chats between Ron Burgundy and the above-named actors. All offer enjoyment, though the Romijn piece is probably the best of the bunch.
Specials contains three pieces. “Cinemax: The Making of Anchorman” runs nine minutes, 29 seconds and includes comments 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.
With the eight-minute, 31-second “Comedy Central Reel Comedy: Anchorman”, we find journalist Bill Kurtis as he chats with Ron, Brian, and Veronica in separate sessions. All that unique materials makes this a delightful addition to the set.
“A Conversation with Ron Burgundy” goes for 10 minutes and 41 seconds. Led by Kurtis in front of a live audience, this again puts Ferrell in character for an interview. It follows a predictably goofy course that creates a lot of nice laughs.
Within Cast Auditions, we find eight clips for a total of 13 minutes, three seconds. These offer footage of Christina Applegate, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Kevin Corrigan and Justin Long. All are great to see. (Note that the roles portrayed by Long, Rudolph and Corrigan only appear in Wake Up.)
“Alternate Universe” also shows another four minutes, 38 seconds of auditions. The twist comes from the appearance of various actors in roles they didn’t play, so we see Koechner as “Brick”, Carell as “Fantana”, Armisen as “Arturo Mendez”, Rudolph as “Veronica” and Amy Poehler as “Veronica”. These show that the producers cast the film correctly, as most of these performers would’ve been wrong for the parts; only Poehler and Armisen could’ve done fine in the roles.
From June 2, 2003, a Table Read covers six scenes and lasts a total of 18 minutes, 37 seconds. As expected, we see the cast go through the script in a group session. Of particular interest, we hear some lines that aren’t in the film, and we also see different actors as Brian and Brick; it’s unclear if the roles were later recast or if Rudd and Carell simply weren’t able to make the session. In any case, this is a fun addition.
More early footage comes from the nine minutes, nine seconds of Rehearsals. This features Ferrell, Rudd, Carell and Koechner as they go through an alternate cannibalism scene that shows up in Wake Up; we also see that crew plus Applegate and Fred Willard for other material. Once again, we find some good glimpses behind the scenes, especially when the actors engage in improv.
Playback Video goes for five minutes, 10 seconds and shows different remote reports from Brick, Champ and Brian. We check out various location elements around San Diego in these entertaining clips.
In the two-minute, four-second Commercial Break, we get a series of short clips. These give us a mix of little behind the scenes tidbits. They’re not substantial, but they’re interesting curiosities.
Disc Two closes with some ads. We get both teaser and theatrical trailers as well as one TV Spot. Called “Trounced Spider-Man”, the TV promo claims that Anchorman topped Spider-Man 2 even though the former hadn’t opened yet; it‘s the most fun of the bunch.
Finally, the package includes a few non-disc-based materials. We get a pack of 12 collectible trading cards as well as The Many Months of Burgundy, a 32-page “appointment book”. We see all of Ron’s thoughts and important business over the period of a year; it’s pretty amusing.
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 along with a stellar package of bonus materials. Even if you already own the single-disc BD, the hours of entertainment provided by the added supplements makes the “Rich Mahogany Edition” a must-have for Anchorman fans.
To rate this film, visit the Unrated review of ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGANDY