Wednesday, 10 September 2008

No.65 : Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie

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‘Anchorman : The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ was an instant favourite of mine so it was a no brainer to buy this straight to DVD partner film which was offered with the American release of the film. It’s no longer widely available, although I think you can find it on YouTube.

The film isn’t a sequel as such, more a film made up from the discarded subplots and scenes from the original movie. It isn’t shy about its lowly origins with the voice over man describing it as “the chaff from the wheat” in the opening sequence.

It does hold up pretty well as a stand alone film, although some incongruous bits are ironed over with some timely voice over work. I wouldn’t be surprised if some new footage was shot to tie the thing together but for the most part the joins are obvious as is the standard of the ‘B’ material.

That said, there is a lot to like and it’s good that some effort was made to marry the scenes together rather than leave them as a pile of deleted scenes on the DVD. The main plot of this film concerns ‘The Alarm Clock’ - hence the title - a radical group whose aims are unknown even to them. They start out robbing banks but in a desperate bid for direction turn on Ron who happens to be on TV at that moment.

Although Rebecca has a lead to catch the gang it’s stolen by Ron and the boys who manage to let them escape and with a Channel 4 news van to boot. The villains then kidnap Rebecca and it’s up to the Channel 4 news team to save the day.

It was clearly a good decision to excise The Alarm Clock from the original feature as their unfocused approach is a bit distracting and none of their characters really work. They do however allow a couple of funny sequences including Ron’s investigative effort to ‘Rip the lid’ off the whole plot. We also get a slightly broader sequence where the guys relive their experiences in ‘Nam under Captain Brick’s command.

Two bits I could have done without were extended scenes where Champ professes his love for Ron and when Ron has to work without a teleprompter. Both go on far too long and are devoid of laughs.

The best of the new scenes were the leachy well wisher asking an amiable Ron about his sex life to Rebecca’s consternation, and Brick having a falafel for lunch which turned out to be a coffee filter full of cigarette butts.

It was also fun to see frat packers Justin Long as Ed Harken’s son and Seth Rogan as a cameraman in blink and you‘ll miss them cameos. You also see Stephen Root as the weekend anchor and Jess Moondragon’s ass, as he gives Ron some uncomfortable wisdom.

If you regard this film as a bonus feature to the original you’re in for a treat. A lot of scenes are crackers and you get loads of funny bits with Wes Mantooth and Ed Harken which would otherwise have been lost on the cutting room floor. It is however a pale vision of the original and if you pick it up thinking it’s a sequel you’ll be disappointed.

Best Bit : News Team Assemble!

‘W’ Rating 16/23

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