With the new trailer released, we air our thoughts on the sequel to the classiest film ever made.
Remember in Lost when Sayid got shot and they brought him back from the dead in that weird pool and he ended up all evil and whatnot? That’s what it’s like sometimes when you go against the natural course of things and reanimate something that’s not supposed to be reanimated. Some things are best just left dead. Firefly before Serenity, or Dalglish before 2011. But then again, some good things die and come back even better, like Gandalf. He was awesome as Grey, but even awesomer as White. The point I’m clumsily trying to make, I guess, is that you should be careful what you wish for; which is why caution should always be exercised when calling for a favourite show or film to be rebooted. And that’s very much the case for Anchorman 2.
The early signs are promising – Brick’s still stupid, Ron still looks good and Baxter is still the cleverest member of the group
With a trident-wielding weatherman and a Baxter-punting biker, Anchorman was a cult classic, a brilliantly juvenile, nonsensical and hilarious film that covered up its makeshift plot with a conveyor belt of ridiculously broad jokes that consistently hit the right mark. It wasn’t a huge hit at the time, but much like a good scotch, The Legend of Ron Burgundy gets better with time, if not more mature, its fanbase ever expanding and its jokes increasingly funny, as copycats try and fail to replicate its madcap humour. It’s doubtful that Anchorman 2 would ever have happened if not for the swelling mob of rabid fans convincing the dreary accountants that they wouldn’t be wasting their money. Whether the fans will be rewarded is another matter.
The early signs from the first few trailers offer a good indication of what’s to come. Brick’s still stupid, Ron still looks good and Baxter is still the cleverest member of the group. It’s heartening that they don’t seem to have lost the same spirit that made the first film so great. Everything we love about the characters is still there – with Ron’s pigheaded stupidity and the whole gang’s general lack of understanding of the world beyond the newsdesk, it’s like they’ve never been gone. But there are perils that lie down this path.
Airplane 2 proved that a sequel to an obviously stand-alone intended comedy is dangerous ground. With no overarching plot to follow and characters that clearly aren’t going to change, there’s not a whole lot of scope for evolution. The worry is of course that Ferrell and co will just do the same thing as before. The same kind of jokes and following the same structure. There are indicators that, whilst this is not a cause to worry excessively, it’s definitely enough to get you a little damp under the armpits.
Judging from the Anchorman 2 trailers, it seems like the news team are once again finding themselves with their backs to the wall, as Veronica Corningstone continues to outperform them. There’s a joke that swaps Brian Fantana’s cologne closet with a condom cupboard and Brick shouts, a lot. That’s not to say it isn’t still funny – it is – but if the whole film follows the same template, it’ll get tired pretty quickly – we want new jokes.
The worry is that Ferrell and co will just do the same as before. Hopefully the repeated jokes are just connecting tissue
The three trailers have also flagged up another worry: too much Brick. With his character taking on a cult status and Steve Carrell’s now-leading man status, there was always a worry that producers would beef up his role in the sequel, something that his love story with Kristen Wiig indicates they have done. But too much of Brick would surely be more of an annoyance than anything. He’s a very shallow and one-trick character – hilarious in small doses, but incredibly irritating with any long exposure.
But I’m hoping all this worrying is just a natural defence mechanism I’ve developed since being kicked in the balls by The Hobbit. Hopefully these repeated jokes are nothing more than connecting tissue, a link from the past to the present and a trademark of the series. There were more laughs in the trailer than in most comedies and Adam McKay has clearly stepped up his game as a director. The story still seems shaky, but then again so was the first’s and you don’t really go to a Will Ferrell film for its hard-hitting storylines anyway. All that you ask for is for it to be funny. And if they resist the pull of its predecessor, Anchorman 2 should be everything we wished it would be.
All images: Paramount