Insults that would be used for years to follow were crafted in the production, the word ‘diversity’ took on a whole new meaning, and the declaration of ‘an urgent and horrifying news story’ could never be taken seriously again. The coronation of the arbitrary had arrived in style.
It is safe to say however, that while a 2004 audience would have pitched up to meet Ron Burgundy nursing expectations of just another throw-away comedy, crowds queuing up for The Legend Continues were in a position of significantly higher anticipation – something that seems to have largely impacted upon director Adam McKay and co-writer and star Will Ferrell’s sculpting of the work.
Certainly, the film is jam-packed with throwbacks to its predecessor, but the revival of the jazz flute and reappearance of Brian Fantana’s ‘secret cupboard’ only add further additional, unnecessary minutes to a production already almost two hours long.
The presence of Steve Carrell’s Brick Tamland also represents how the previous success of the film has lead to excessive overkill. In the original flick, the challenged Brick was indeed one of the highlights. ‘I love lamp’ became a cult saying heard far too often and the screaming of ‘loud noises’ became a customary call whenever a couple of mates were in a pointless debate.
In the 2004 release though, Brick’s bizarre randomness was used sparingly rather than as an extended plot-line. This time around, the weatherman is brought to the forefront to connect with a female incarnation of his character – Kirsten Wiig’s Chani. The result is an awkward array of pseudo chat-up lines that remove the lovable stupidity of Brick and replace it with a forced, childish dialogue that oozes only apprehension.
Luckily, other call backs to the original go down rather more smoothly. The revamped rival news team fight is brought back on a bigger and better scale – a comment on the nature of sequel society perhaps – with more hilarious developments and big-name cameos than a disgruntled paparazzi snapper could possibly get the time to harass.
The original nature of the film brings back the true feel of unique obscurity that won over fans in the first place too. A sequence involving a lighthouse and a shark seems to parody the entire Hollywood B-movie romance scene in a single segment, the brilliant group dynamic of the news team comes back in a flash and produces some massively quotable, dynamite dialogue, and Ron once again manages to excel in a developing news world in hilarious fashion.
Before, the plot was engulfed in the question of gender equality, now, it glances at the transition of racial awareness that Burgundy progresses through, and as he inadvertently changes the face of news from the hard-hitting tales of Veronica Corningstone to the car-chase obsessed, celebrity nature that dominates modern media, there is an underlying satire pointed straight at the tabloid culture of current news.
At its core though, just like its predecessor, this tale remains an unrealistic adventure of epic proportions. From ‘fried bats’ to Ron’s exclamation regarding ‘the hymen of Olivia Newton-John’, there is much to laugh at and remember in Anchorman 2, and the film takes place at such a quick pace that with the exception of Brick Tamland’s input, there is little time to pick up on failed jokes.
The hair remains perfect, the one-liners remain vivid, and, of course, Burgundy’s voice can still make a wolverine purr.
As published originally at: www.brignewspaper.com