Friday, December 27, 2013
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Directed by Adam McKay and written by McKay and Will Ferrell, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is the story of a 1970s San Diego news anchor who deals with his new female counterpart. The film explores the world of a man who has a hard time dealing with changing times while is keen on doing things his way as the titular character is played by Will Ferrell. Also starring Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carell, and Fred Willard. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a classy and hilarious film from Adam McKay.
The film is the simple story of an anchorman in Ron Burgundy who always report the news in San Diego with his buddies in field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sports reporter Champ Kind (David Koechner), and the dim-witted weather reporter Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). They’re the number one news team in San Diego until Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) comes in as a news reporter and later becoming the co-anchor much to Burgundy’s dismay as he’s also in love with her. It’s a film that plays into a man who has his ways with the ladies and manages to do whatever he wants while is good at telling the news. Yet, he is unable to deal with the fact that a woman could do what he does only better as he later goes to war with her. Even as it would eventually put him into trouble while is forced to come to terms with the fact that times are changing.
The screenplay that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay creates is very loose though it does utilize a traditional three-act structure where the first act is about Burgundy’s success and his good times with his friends while meeting Veronica who becomes his lover though she wants to make it in the world of news. The film’s second act isn’t just about Veronica finally getting what she wants but also Burgundy trying to come to terms with it. It’s third act isn’t just the escalation of the conflict but its aftermath where Burgundy tries to find redemption. Throughout all of these major plot-points and storylines, Ferrell and McKay bring in a lot of clever dialogue into the mix filled with some funny one-liners while adding some complexities to the many characters in the film like Burgundy, Fantana, Corningstone, Kind, and to a lesser extent, Brick.
McKay’s direction is pretty simple as far as the compositions are concerned in the way he creates 1970s San Diego. Yet, he does manage to create moments that are always fun to watch ranging from an animated sequence where Ron and Veronica are riding on unicorns on a rainbow to their first date at a jazz club where Ron plays the flute. McKay does slow things down in order to focus on the story though he would find ways to use the comedy to advance the story or create something that is off-the-wall such as the anchorman brawl involving rival anchormen and their news team. Add a dog named Baxter, bears, and all sorts of strange things. What McKay creates is a very solid and enjoyable comedy that continuously brings in the laughs and more.
Cinematographer Thomas E. Ackerman does excellent work with the film’s colorful and vibrant cinematography from the way San Diego looks in its exteriors to some of the lighting in the nighttime interior scenes. Editor Brent White does fantastic work with the editing with its use of rhythmic cuts to play into much of the film’s humor and dialogue delivery. Production designer Clayton Hartley, with set decorator Jan Pascale and art directors Gregg Davidson and Virginia L. Randolph, does amazing work with the look of the news station and places that Burgundy and his pals hang out and work at.
Costume designer Debra McGuire does great work with the costumes from the suit that Burgundy and his team wear to the clothes that Veronica wears. Hair stylist Joy Zapata and makeup artist Denise Dellaville do fabulous work with the look of the hair and mustaches the men wear to make them look classy. Sound designer Mark A. Mangini and co-sound editor Scott Millan do terrific work with the film‘s sound to play into the atmosphere of the news offices and the parties that Burgundy holds in his home. The film’s music by Alex Wurman is superb where it‘s mostly low-key with its blaring horn-based orchestra as well as the music for the news while music supervisor Todd Homme creates a delightful soundtrack that includes pieces by Neil Diamond, Blues Image, Kansas, Hall & Oates, Isley Brothers, Bill Withers, and an original flute piece by Ferrell who, along with Rudd, Koechner, and Carell do an amazing cover of Afternoon Delight.
The casting by Juel Bestrop and Jeanne McCarthy is incredible for the ensemble that is created as it includes some notable cameo appearances from Danny Trejo as a bartender, Jack Black as a biker whom Burgundy angers, Fred Armisen as the jazz-club owner Tino, Seth Rogen as a cameraman, Missi Pyle as a zookeeper, and Kathryn Hahn as one of the news station workers Helen who would give Veronica a secret to usurp Burgundy. Other notable cameo appearances include Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Tim Robbins, and Ben Stiller as rival news anchors who want to defeat Ron Burgundy. Chris Parnell is terrific as Ed’s assistant Garth Holliday who sees Ron as his hero while Fred Willard is excellent as the news director Ed Harken who tries to make sure everything goes smoothly while dealing with his son’s antics. The dog Peanut is great as Baxter as this dog that can talk to the bears and is Ron Burgundy’s best friend.
David Koechner is superb as the chauvinistic Champ Kind who likes to say “whammy” while hinting that he might be a closeted homosexual. Steve Carell is hilarious as the dim-witted Brick Tamland who says all sorts of funny things not knowing what he’s talking about due to the fact that he has a very low IQ. Paul Rudd is fantastic as Brian Fantana as a ladies’ man who is often full of himself as well as wanting to use the forbidden cologne known as Sex Panther. Christina Applegate is amazing as Veronica Corningstone as a woman who wants to become an anchor and doesn’t want to be stopped by anyone including Burgundy. Finally, there’s Will Ferrell in a remarkable performance as the titular role as this sexist and fun-loving guy who cannot adjust to the changing times as he is conflicted for his love and hate for Veronica.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a marvelous film from Adam McKay that features a brilliant leading performance from Will Ferrell. The film is truly one of the finest comedies to come out in the 2000s as it is filled with lots of laughs and hijinks that will keep entertaining its audience. In the end, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a phenomenal film from Adam McKay.
Adam McKay Films: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Step Brothers - The Other Guys - Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - The Big Short - (Backseat) - (The Auteurs #63: Adam McKay)
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