ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY “RICH MAHOGANY” EDITION – Blu-ray review

“Hey! Where did you get those clothes? At the toilet store?”

There are movies out there that I flock to when I need to unwind and separate myself from the world around me. There are films I frequent because they make me think, challenge me with problems and demand that my intrigued mind be attentive. There are titles that inspire me and push me to be better.

And then, there’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” which is splashing its way onto Blu-ray disc in a super nifty ‘Unrated Rich Mahogany Edition’ just weeks prior to the sequel hitting theaters in the United States.

“They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time it works everytime.”

I love “Anchorman” very much. It is among the most quoted films in my day-to-day vocabulary. It makes me laugh, long and hard, each time I watch it. And with a bounty of special features tacked on to enhance the nearly ten year old film (really? has it been that long?) this release is sure to top all those prior.

Will Ferrell has stated that Ron Burgundy is undoubtedly his favorite character to play. I always thought that Ferrell was more or less playing himself throughout “Anchorman,” but while he often grabs a role as tightly as possible and doesn’t let go until it’s truly only his, the Ron Burgundy character could only travel so far independent of support from the sassy and stylish Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), the loyal but not so bright Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and the chauvinistically aggressive Champ Kind (David Koechner). Together, you get a funny foursome that pushes the limits, while occasionally saying that the limits are irrelevant.

The plot bears a level of silliness that warrants describing, if only to reestablish the film’s comic underlay. Ron and his news team offer a bumpy welcome to a brand new female anchor named Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), who eventually earns herself a seat at the main desk during broadcasts. Simultaneously, a giant panda is nearing delivery of a baby, Ron and company must defend their honor from television news competitor Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn), and news director Ed Harken (Fred Willard) works to keep the ship afloat amidst said antics.

“What in the hell’s diversity?”
“Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”

The magic to “Anchorman” is simpler than it seems. Like many things in life, the timing is everything. Director Adam McKay co-wrote the script with Ferrell, ensuring a pointed and well orchestrated delivery of humor on a variety of levels. There’s physical humor, like when Ron and Veronica get into a massive news room wide fight. Situational humor comes up too, with Veronica desperately trying to avoid pointing out Ron’s bulging pleated pants. Insults abound throughout, too, like when Champ tells Wes that he would take his mother out for a nice seafood dinner and then never call her again. If it’s been in a decent comedy in the past fifteen years or so, it probably found its way into “Anchorman,” and it more than likely was better executed with Ferrell and McKay steering the ship.

“Anchorman” came out when I was starting college, and I’ll never forget having to write a biography of myself that would be published in a document given to students and parents attending their summer college orientation. One of my fellow student employees literally wrote (and convinced the boss to publish) he possessed many leather bound books and lived in an apartment that smelled of rich mahogany. I’ll also be open and state that I had more than one night in college where friends and I gathered, drank beer and damn near laughed our sudsy, carbonated heads out the front door watching “Anchorman” for the umpteenth time.

“Mr. Burgundy, you have a massive erection!”

There are a TON of priceless cameos during “Anchorman,” something I’m crossing my fingers for with the sequel. Some are subtle; others blatantly obvious. Tim Robbins plays a public news anchor with a chip on his shoulder, Ben Stiller appears as a Spanish language newsman, Fred Armisen owns a nightclub that Ron frequently visits, and last, but surely not least, is Jack Black riding a motorcycle, getting hit with a burrito Ron tosses out the window and taking out his aggression on Ron’s dog, Baxter, complete with a drop kick to the pup that sends him over a bridge’s rail. If you think Ferrell called in favors to solicit these names and others, you’re probably underestimating his respected position in Hollywood.

“I love carpet. I love desk.”

I won’t go so far as to call “Anchorman” one of the best comedies of all time, but I’ll go out on a limb and argue that for my generation, it’s surely among the most memorable.

“Why don’t you go back to your home on whore island?!”

Video:
The unrated, 98-minute edition is presented in a 1080p High Definition 1.85:1 video transfer. It’s a sharp, clear and colorful image from start to finish. The film is nearly 10 years old, but you’ll never really know it in watching this release. The picture is nearly grain free all the way through, and the film’s conventional cinematography is more than sufficient. I’ve yet to own “Anchorman” on Blu-ray, so this edition surpasses my standard definition copy pretty significantly.

Audio:
You’ll enjoy this uber “Anchorman” Blu-ray set with an English 5.1 DTS-High Definition Master Audio Soundtrack. It’s a very audible and sharp sounding track to work with, allowing the solid one-liners to come through effortlessly, along with the insults, profanity and everything else under the sun. The music selections are also pretty solid (the film is set in the 1970s, after all), and you’ll be able to pick them up sans difficulty. Additional audio choices are French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digitals. Subtitles provided are English, Spanish and French.

Extras:
‘The Rich Mahogany Edition’ is spread out over two discs. Disc 1 offers two HD versions of the film, audio commentary by director McKay, Ferrell, Lou Rawls, Andy Richter, Kyle Gass, Rudd, Koechner and Applegate, a whole blooper reel, 36 deleted and extended scenes, the “Afternoon Delight” music video and Ron Burgundy’s ESPN SportsCenter audition. Disc 2 houses a lost movie titled “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy,” intro commentary with Ferrell and Aaron Zimmerman, cast auditions, raw footage, a table read of the script and a Comedy Central Reel Commedy featurette titled “Anchorman.” Twelve trading cards and a 32-page diary titled “The Many Months of Burgundy” are also neatly packaged with the set.

A Final Word:
“Anchorman” will probably always hold a special place on my movie shelf. It’s fun, silly and hilarious in just the right ways to effectively work together. I only hope the sequel lives up to the original.

Reply