Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Anchorman: The Legend Continues Review

Anchorman: The Legend Continues Review
Sequels in general, are a huge gamble. Sure, it gives audiences something familiar that they really enjoyed, but most sequels merely tread water. They usually don't do anything new or re-inventive with its characters or its themes. That is why so few sequels have been very good. "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" was a movie I really loved from 2004. It was so good, that I always thought a sequel could not do the film justice. Especially a sequel that did not get made until almost ten years later. Could an idea be on the shelf for too long? Could something so good eventually fade away?

I have seen "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" and I enjoyed pretty much the whole way through. I feel Will Ferrell has essentially become Ron Burgundy. I feel he could do the character in his sleep at this point, and bringing back the original Chanel Four News Team was a success. I loved that Brick (Steve Carrell) got his own romance this time out. (Kristen Wiig as Brick's love interest is equally stellar.) I love that it feels like nothing has changed really with these characters. I like the addition of James Marsden, Megan Good and Dylan Baker. They added some much needed flair to the overall canvass. Christina Applegate does very good with her big moments in the film too.

What I was both shocked and pleased to see is how far Adam McKay was going to go with his sequel. First of all, the film takes a daring look at the world of modern media. The film picks up after a bad break-up between Ron and Veronica, when she gets to be lead anchor in New York. This leads to Ron loosing his job.  Later is San Diego, he is approached by Freddie Shapp (Baker) and is offered a spot on the first ever 24-hour news show. Burgundy gets the old band back together and it all seems like a new start. The film may layer its point with jokes, but its hard not to see parallels to our world today, and why so many people in our nation are wary of media. Its not something I'd ever expect to see in a slapstick comedy, and I give McKay big credit for taking such a big stand on a valid point, and still getting his audience to laugh. 

Second of all, this is the weirdest comedy to come out in 2013, bar none. When you have a comedy that includes a Minotaur, a ghost of Stonewall Jackson, an angel, some kind of werewolf monster and a super-powered spirit Panther, its hard to take it all seriously. At surface view, "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" is one wacky movie. Its so wacky that I am surprised that it got green-lit. At the same time though, I am glad that it did. I want more comedies that are ambitious enough to break barriers and show us something we haven't seen yet.

The only thing that holds this sequel back from being on par with its predecessor is something that always nags me about sequels. "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" feels like a sequel. There are so many callbacks to the first film that it seriously became exhausting. There is one scene in particular near the end of the film that feels so intrusive, and almost brings the story to a stop. I feel it was added just so the film crew could say "Hey, remember that part!" all the while shoehorning in as many cameos as possible.  Not to mention that the sequel already worked from the same template as the first film, and I think if you lined first and second Anchorman movies together, they would look identical. That's the tough thing with sequels, balancing the new with the familiar. This time around, it was a lot more annoying. 

No matter what though, I have to say I laughed a lot. I also think McKay is very daring with his jokes and I could not believe what he got away with in his script. I also have to given him props for taking a stab at a real issue in a big comedy. I don't know if this cast and crew will ever return to this property, but I would kind of love to see them try.

FINAL GRADE: B

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