MOTW: "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues": Will It Match the Original's Greatness?

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
December 16th, 2013

MOTW: "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues": Will It Match the Original's Greatness?

In 2004, "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" was an unexpected hit. Will Ferrell was a big name, but some of his previous films were not big hits. Reviews were generally positive but were not indicative of a smash success. Nearly a decade later, the movie is remembered fondly, and its sequel, "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" is attracting a significant amount of discussion. Will it be able to match the original's greatness?

Will Ferrell has been a bit quieter in recent years, which may help increase interest in the sequel. In 2004, he was a bit overexposed, and some viewers may have suffered from Ferrell fatigue. Lately, his appearances on Conan O'Brien have been less frequent, and his propensity to appear on television unexpectedly seems to have vanished. Because of this, Ferrell is poised for a strong comeback, and a public that has missed him should be glad to see him again.

The other actors in the original film, however, have since become much bigger names. Steve Carell, formerly relegated to occasional appearances on "The Daily Show," is now a household name thanks to his sublime performance as Michael Scott on "The Office." Paul Rudd's career has been solid as well thanks to his regular casting in Judd Apatow movies. Christina Applegate has landed a number of roles in the interim, and Vince Vaughn has become a bit of a star. The large cast of the "Anchorman" spurred interest, and the return of so many popular characters should help make the sequel a hit.

Much like the original, the sequel will also feature a number of notable cameos. Jack Black will return, as will Danny Trejo. Luke Wilson and Ben Stiller will likely help rekindle a small scuffle that stands as one of the most memorable scenes of the original. These cameos helped expand the 1970s-era television news environment of the first film, and this additional depth helped build interest in the characters and their various exploits.

Perhaps most intriguing, however, is the lengthy list of new cameos the sequel will feature. Will Smith, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, and Kirsten Dunst, all A-list celebrities, are scheduled to appear. Liam Neeson will appear as well, perhaps marking a foray into the comedy genre. Music fans will likely have something to appreciate as well. The band Green Day will appear, and Kanye West will have a cameo as well.

While the original was set in San Diego, most of the filming was done in Los Angeles. Non-Californians were unlikely to notice, but Southern California residents did. The sequel is likely to better capture the San Diego vibe. A few intriguing reports leaked out during filming; one involved a scene filmed at St. Simons Island in Georgia and a shark. The first film reveled in its ridiculousness, and early reports indicate that the sequel is likely to do so as well. Such ambition bodes well.

It is clear that Paramount Pictures believes the sequel will be a major hit. Along with Chrysler, the studio has launched a prolific cross-promotion campaign for both the film and the Dodge Durango. This commercial has become a staple, particular during sports broadcasts, which tend to be expensive. In addition, Ferrell has been on a promotional whirlwind and has served as a guest anchor on stations across the country. Others have provided support as well, and fans can expect a musical collaboration between Kayne West and Paul Rudd sometime shortly after release. These efforts show that both the studio and the cast members are preparing for success.

Projecting a sequel's success is always a challenge, and "Anchorman 2" is no exception to this rule. Many predict a smash hit, but a few have been a bit less optimistic. However, it is clear that the cast and studios are preparing for a major success, and early indications show an ambitious effort. In addition, early reviews have been positive, and most who have seen the film believe it captures the humor of the original well. With so much going for this film, the safe bet is a successful release that will surely become of the most quotable movies for months on end. The film, which will have a Christmas release, looks to be set for success.