Here at A Mind on Fire we like the crazy as much as we like the calm. We like fitting into the mainstream as much as we enjoy walking the fringe. We like to think outside the box. Sometimes though thinking outside of the box blinds us to what is right in front us.
For example, we (and everyone else) missed the fact that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is, in fact, the Fantastic Four movie before there was a Fantastic Four movie.
“The hell?” you say. Yup, before Tim Story dropped a somewhat disappointing Fantastic Four movie onto the public, Adam McKay gave us one with laughs galore.
Let’s look at the evidence.
First, we need to examine is the team. There are four members of the Fantastic Four and there are four members of the Channel Four News Team. Sure, that one is easy to spot. But, let’s move on to the logo.
Both teams use the number four as their team logo. However, take a closer look at the four. It’s almost the same. Of course, the logo had to be worked on for Anchorman. If not, the suits at Marvel would have descended on the production like a horde of interdimensional para-demons. And that was before Disney bought Marvel!
How about the team? “They’re not the same team,” you say. Well, let’s take a look at the team.
Reed Richards: He’s the brains of the outfit. He’s a super-genius scientist. He’s so smart he sent his team into a messed up radiation space storm. Not the best leader, but he leads the Fantastic Four.
Ron Burgundy: The leader of the Channel Four News Team. He thinks he’s a super genius, but no one would confuse him with a genius. He leads his team into a messed up situations too.
The Thing: He’s big, strong and made of rock, but he’s got a heart of gold. He piloted the rocket straight into the messed up radiation storm on Reed Richard’s word. He’s besties with Richards.
Champ Kind: He’s big, thinks he’s strong and tough and has a head made of rock. Champ also blindly follows his team leader with no thought of the consequences. He considers himself Burgundy’s best friend, but the jury is still out on whether or not Ron returns the feeling.
Johnny Storm: He’s a hothead. Men want to be him and women want to be with him. There’s no real explanation why Johnny was on the rocket in the first place. He had zero skills or experience to be on a space mission, but there he was anyway.
Brian Fantana: He can be a hothead too. Men don’t want to be him and women don’t want to be with him. Just like Johnny Storm, Fantana has no real purpose on the team. What did he actually do on the team? Did we see him report on anything?
Susan Storm: The original Susan Storm ( Not the retconned, do over Susan Storm and not the midriff shirt wearing Suse Storm) was nothing more than a cling on. She really has no purpose in the team except to be a female presence and build up Reed Richards.
Brick Tamland: To be politically correct, Tamland is mentally challenged. Brick also serves to build up Ron Burgundy. He’s the most female of the news team.
H.E.R.B.I.E: H.E.R.B.I.E was a super smart robot created by Reed Richards. It was introduced in the Fantastic Four cartoon, but soon made its way into the comic book. H.E.R.B.I.E is arguably the smartest sidekick in the comic books.
Baxter: He may be a dog, but he’s smarter than all the other members of the team. He speaks Spanish and helps the team out in tight situations.
“But what about Veronica Corningstone,” you say. “She should be Sue Storm.” True, Christina Applegate is blonde and she doesn’t need contact lenses to pull off California white girl. However, we all know the movie is never like the comic book. Tim Burton had the Joker kill Bruce Wayne’s parents, Marc Webb made Gwen Stacy a genius teenager who ran a project for a major corporation, and Jon Favreau introduced Agent Phil Coulson. Corningstone is the obligatory addition to the comic book movie.
“Yes, but the Fantastic Four fights evil space empires and Doctor Doom,” you argue. Sure, that’s true. The Fantastic Four was never the team to fight terrestrial based bad guys. However, Ron and company took on their share of evil bad guys.
The Channel News Four Team fought NPR, The Spanish Language News Team, and Wes Mantooth (You know with a name like that it had to be ripped from the pages of a comic book) and came out victorious. Ron saved the girl from the clutches of certain death. What’s more fantastic than that? “Nothing” is the answer.
Ah, but there was a Fantastic Four movie before Story’s Fantastic Four movie. We know and so did the suits at DreamWorks Pictures. Roger Corman had made a Fantastic Four movie years before. It’s been all but forgotten and not seen by the general public (Except for cool liars who want their friends to think they’re cool), but DreamWorks Pictures knew Corman still had the movie rights. So, what to do? The only thing they could do- Made their own Fantastic Four movie to cash in on the growing superhero movie trend.
In a final analysis, it’s plain to see Anchorman is a remake of the Corman’s Fantastic Four. So remember, when you’re watching The Fantastic Four this summer you’re actually watching a reboot of a remake of Anchorman.
Now put your jazz flute away, get yourself a glass of scotch, and watch the greatest remake, pre-reboot ever made.