It’s been over nine years since Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team graced the silver screen with their 70’s stereotypes and crazy antics. Many people enjoyed the original film but I don’t think too many were expecting a sequel. Well, we got one and it’s absolutely worth seeing. In fact, I think it’s better than the first one.
Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechnerm, and Baxter return but this time, it’s the 80’s in New York City. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues brings in Meagan Good (Linda Jackson), James Marsden (Jack Lime) and Kristen Wiig (Chani) to join the primary players from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Now, while I love this sequel, it’s probably best to watch the first one again as a refresher. It had been a while for me and I’m very glad I had it fresh in my mind while I sat in the theater this weekend.
Let’s take a look at the film without any spoilers. Oh and with that in mind, if you don’t want to spoil the surprises of fun cameo appearances, don’t look Anchorman 2 up on IMDB, trust me. Anyway, it’s clear that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has a much larger budget than the original. In fact, according to IMDB, the budget is just about double coming in at $50 million compared to $26 million for the first film. So needless to say, the movie just plain looks and sounds good. From a technical perspective, this isn’t a movie that is high on special effects, at least not ones worth mentioning other than a shark attack or two.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has a lot more to say than the first movie. While the original focused on the introduction of women into the news room and the balance of the sexes, the new movie focuses on something a little more present day, 24-hour news networks. Anchorman 2 sets out to talk about what news truly is, about ethics and integrity and what happens when private interest groups own the news networks that should be reporting about those groups. This is certainly a topic that is still fresh in our minds today as many believe the quality of news programs have gone down hill with the slew of 24-hour networks like ABC News, CNN, Fox News, PBS and so forth. The general plot of the movie focuses on Veronica Corningstone, played by Christina Applegate, becoming a legitimate news sensation, killing in the ratings and being lead anchor in one of the most prestigious networks in the country. Meanwhile, Ron Burgunday, played by Will Ferrell, finds himself joining the world’s first 24-hour news network, GNN (Global News Network). This new network format wrestles with the big question, how can 24-hours of news be filled while still pulling in ratings? That begins the battle and begs the question, what is more important, the truth or the ratings? For anyone familiar with the news atmosphere today, we see everything from major news pieces about foreign policy, economics and basic weather updates to feel-good stories about dogs rescuing cats, intense car chases and overwhelming opinions about which celebrity wore it best. Well, according to Anchorman 2, Ron Burgundy had a lot to do with shaping the news world we know today. The story is stronger than the first film in almost every way. There is a bit of a lull a little over halfway through the movie but it picks back up and finishes very strongly.
Overall, the cast is fantastic. Our returning characters are stronger than ever across the board with Brick Tamland, played by Steve Carell, getting a much stronger role with better lines throughout the movie. In fact, he steels the show in many ways with his (no these are not spoilers because they show up in commercials and trailers) funeral and love interest with Chani, played by Kristen Wiig. Will Ferrell easily channels Ron Burgundy again and it really feels like this was the role he is meant to play. Meanwhile, new character Linda Jackson, played by Meagan Good, adds a new dimension to the story. She plays Ron and his team’s boss and she does it well. They leverage her character in many ways including an evolution of the a primary aspect of the first film. While Ron has gotten over working with women, he has never had a female African American boss and he is trying to handle that new experience. As you may have seen in the trailers, Jack Lime, played by James Marsden, acts of Ron’s nemesis in the movie, replacing Vince Vaughn’s character Wes Mantooth from the first film.
The movie is full of ridiculous antics, crud humor, hilariously awkward scenes, lots of Brick, tons of jokes against today’s news media and the most incredible rumble in the park I’ve ever seen. That’s right, another news team rumble with several newcomers who I will not name. I will say this, pay attention to what Brick is holding throughout this scene. There are a few moments from the trailers that don’t show up in the theatrical version of the movie, so I’m assuming their will be an extended, unrated, director’s cut kind of thing on Blu-Ray and DVD down the road.
In the end, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is smarter, funnier, more ridiculous, more exciting and more meaningful than its predecessor. Seeing the movie in a nearly full theater only enhanced the experience as everyone was laughing, chuckling, clapping and enjoying themselves. If you’re a fan of the original in anyway, this is a must see film. Yes, it’s just a comedy about news and no, it’s not groundbreaking or truly deep but it is fun and pleasantly surprising almost all the way around.
Go see Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and stay classy, Planet Earth.