In Memoriam: Nutty the Squirrel

Anchorman’s joke – singular – is a masterful one: It mocks sexist men by ever so slightly amplifying their outward attitudes to make the gender divide impossible to miss, except probably by the men most at fault.

Set in the ‘70s as a comedic cushion, the joke doesn’t represent just the era, but contemporary attitudes too. The mockery is absolutely sincere, raising the level of absurdity over time. At its best, with rival male news anchors engaging in a parking lot brawl over ratings, two men on horses grab Paul Rudd in a net, mirroring shots in the original Planet of the Apes. That’s masterful and purposeful parody, showing how these men devolved to their primal states over petty disagreements.

Anchorman exists in its own off-kilter reality where a man dies by trident


Not a single male in the cast is more than an utter idiot, consumed by their sex drive and oblivious to their own actions. All of the drinking, partying, and brawling sets Anchorman up to mock the outmoded “boys will be boys” mantra, this coupled with the raunchy discussions of their new woman co-anchor (Christina Applegate).

Much as it mocks men, Anchorman contains scenes that play up the difficult workplace, David Koechner hilariously shouting, “It’s anchorman, not anchorlady!” as if it’s some permanent gender-affirming term. Applegate isn’t pristine either; she’s never in the wrong but naive to a fault as she asks for stories better than a cat fashion show on her first day.

Humor varies from Airplane-like stupidity, random happenstance, ad-lib, and raunch. Anchorman exists in its own off-kilter reality where a man dies by trident but all that matters happens just off-air. Trident murders are just background decoration – and that casualness only adds to the humor.

After 2004’s Anchorman, the American comedy found itself in a bubble, the movie preceding Will Ferrell’s pop culture rise. Judd Apatow fed off the energy, and the 2000s became flush with marvelous R-rated laughs, often uniquely purposeful (e.g. Superbad and its heartfelt tribute to growing up and moving on). Somewhere along the way, the energy was lost, and oddly, Anchorman 2’s release in 2013 signaled the end.

Video

Freshly remastered, and that’s certainly out of necessity given previous Anchorman discs. It’s a completely clean, natural master, with no processing. This leads to detail and texture, whether in close or from afar. San Diego looks spectacular in wide shots. Compression can impact certain imagery, if minimally. Grain thickens and will lead to some roughened shots/scenes; it’s just enough to take off the finest layer of definition.

A sepia tint hangs over the color grading, giving flesh tones warmth. This isn’t unnatural, and other primaries have pop, even the greenery around San Diego. Studio lights pop with various colors. The tan/brown/yellow-ish plaid suits of the era look wonderful.

Dolby Vision brings a definite spark, crisp contrast included. Anchorman keeps things perky, with enough depth from the shadows to deliver dimensionality. The brief Pleasure Town animated sequence shows some spectacular vividness.

Audio

There’s a fight scene and… nothing else. At all. Give the DTS-HD mix credit for pumping up its lone action sequence with clanging swords and tridents, taking advantage of its lone opportunity to impress. Surrounds activate and stereos cling to their moment of life. One brief fling occurs late with a touch of music inside a bar that splits channels and escapes from the center.

Maybe this comes as no surprise to some, but the disc also sounds aged although not in a natural, “2004” way. Anchorman sounds compressed despite the call of DTS-HD and bitrates which show otherwise. Dialog is weakened with a flattened streak and comes through no more substantial than it did on HD DVD with Dolby Digital Plus.

Extras

This 4K release copies the “Rich Mahogany” Blu-ray edition of Anchorman, which was flooded with bonuses (almost too much if that possibility exists). Things kick off on the first Blu-ray disc (note the 4K disc DOES NOT include the extended cut) with an eight-way commentary and one hours worth of 36 deleted/extended scenes following. A fantastic blooper reel is a must, as is a music video for “Afternoon Delight” featuring the cast. This Blu-ray leaves us with Ron Burgundy’s ESPN audition.

Disc three overloads itself with Wake Up Ron Burgundy, in 1080p and DTS-HD. This 90-minute concoction is built from deleted scenes of the main feature. An intro from Ferrell and an assistant Aaron Zimmerman is also offered. Early production items, from casting videos, table reads, and rehearsals are granted their own departments. In-character items include an award speech, reports from the field, interview sessions at the MTV Movie Awards, and mock PSAs. Raw footage runs for 40-minutes, considered good takes with potential for the finished product until something else was chosen. A section for random footage which didn’t belong anywhere else in this mix is offered, plus trailers.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Anchorman
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

An intelligent yet impossibly stupid comedy for the ages, Anchorman excels at mocking ’70s era sexism and bogus masculinity.

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User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 43 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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