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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Seth MacFarlane
Cast:
Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Patrick Stewart, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, Jessica Barth, Norah Jones
Writing Credits:
Seth MacFarlane (and story), Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild

Synopsis:
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of Ted. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish ... and has refused to leave his side ever since.

Box Office:
Budget
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$54.415 million on 3239 screens.
Domestic Gross
$218.628 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 106 min. (Theatrical Edition) / 112 min. (Unrated Cut)
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 12/11/2012

Bonus:
• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts of the Film
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Actor Seth MacFarlane, Writer Alec Sulkin, and Actor Mark Wahlberg
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Takes
• Gag Reel
• “Ted: The Making Of” Featurette
• “Teddy Bear Scuffle” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Ted [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 4, 2012)

Back in 1999, Seth MacFarlane launched his move toward TV animation domination with Family Guy. With 2012’s Ted, he shifted to the big screen with directorial debut – and demonstrated no signs that he couldn’t conquer that domain as well. Ted snagged a solid $218 million to become the year’s biggest comedy.

Ted opens in 1985, where John Bennett (Bretton Manley) gets a teddy bear for Christmas. He makes a wish and it comes true: the toy comes to life to become a talking, sentient being. And a famous one, as Ted turns into a pop culture sensation.

27 years later, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) no longer retains much fame, but he and John (Mark Wahlberg) remain best pals. They live in a Boston neighborhood and essentially do little more than party and get stoned. John undergoes pressure to grow up, though, as his longtime girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) wants him to become an adult. We follow their relationship, how this impacts the John/Ted bond, and some connected subplots.

Going into Ted, I admit I did so with a lot of skepticism. I’ve not watched a ton of MacFarlane’s televised work, but I’ve been less than enthused with what I’ve seen, as I think he tends to go for too many easy, puerile jokes.

Did Ted disavow me of that notion? Not in the least, though that doesn’t mean I took no pleasure from it. At its best, Ted could be pretty funny.

But there’s the rub: MacFarlane sabotages the film to ensure it never stays “at its best” for long. I think MacFarlane has real talent and wit, but he seems to be insecure. Rather than push the audience with intelligent humor, he will sabotage himself. We’ll get strong gags immediately undermined with cheap, easy jokes that make us regret we ever laughed at the smarter stuff.

Though maybe I can’t blame MacFarlane, as cheap ‘n’ tacky seems to sell. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that plays so differently based on the viewer's age. When I viewed Ted theatrically, the under-30s laughed at the puke/fart/etc. jokes but didn't get most of the pop culture references. They clearly had no clue who Tom Skerritt was - even when the movie mentioned Top Gun, they didn't get it. The vast majority of the other references or more subtle jokes landed with a thud - if the movie didn't go broad, the audience didn't laugh.

I don’t want that to sound like some sort of generation gap/get off of my lawn rant, as I’m sure some younger crowds are better in tune with the subtler humor. But that was what I experienced when I viewed the flick on the big screen. I got the impression that MacFarlane fans wanted the aforementioned puke/fart/etc. and little else.

And they found plenty of it here, much to my dissatisfaction. MacFarlane relies too much on bodily function/profanity humor, and he takes too many cheap shots, like a variety of mean, pointless jabs at folks like Brandon Routh.

MacFarlane also tends to hurt jokes via milking or too much self-reference. For instance, I like an understated Ryan Reynolds cameo but hate that Ted then refers to him as that "Van Wilder-looking guy". We know we saw Ryan Reynolds - the added line was stupid. A gag about how Ted sounds like Peter Griffin is also easy - and lame - self-reference.

However, I like a lot of the smaller moments - even things like the quick reference to Tom Brady's super-human abilities worked well. This is the schizophrenia that is Ted: it jumps from clever/smart to idiotic/insulting in no time flat.

This means Ted is better than I anticipated; I went into it with pretty low expectations but got more humor from it than I figured. Still, it disappoints because it’s so scattershot. If MacFarlane reigns in his willingness to make the easy jokes, he'll be funnier. At least Ted gives me a little hope that someday he’ll take advantage of his more clever side and not rely so much on cheap gags.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Ted appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this was a positive image but not a great one.

Only a little softness ever interfered with the presentation. I noticed a few slightly ill-defined shots, but most of the movie displayed decent to good clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.

In terms of palette, Ted leaned toward amber or blue much of the time. Neither overwhelmed, and more natural segments occurred as well, Overall, the hues were fine and full. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted fair clarity. A few of those could be a bit murky, but shadows were usually positive. This was a presentation worthy of a “B”.

Don’t expect much more than a standard comedy mix from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Thunder and fight scenes gave us decent sense of place, but that was about it. The audio tended to be fairly restrained, so we didn’t get a lot of involvement and activity. Music used the five channels in the most active manner, but effects didn’t have a ton to do.

Even when the film involved action elements – such as during a climactic chase – it failed to offer a lot of pizzazz. That was fine, though, as comedies don’t need a lot of sonic sizzle.

Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.

The Blu-ray comes with both the film’s theatrical edition (1:46:09) and its unrated cut (1:52:15). What do we find in those extra six minutes and six seconds? Lots and lots and lots of small additions.

By my count, 17 scenes get extended, and almost all of these occur in the movie’s first 54 minutes; only three changes pop up in the film’s remaining 58 minutes.

Almost none of these could count as substantial, as they tend to simply add a few lines to existing scenes. The movie’s “villain” gets the most substantial growth; we see Donny as a child – to set up his love of Ted – and also find out another dark side to him during the climax. Both scenes are interesting and would’ve worked in the final cut.

Otherwise, the additions account for quick gags. Some of these are decent but I can’t say any lost gold appears here. Expect a lot of short tidbits without much that’d count as memorable.

Alongside the theatrical cut, we find an audio commentary with writer/director/actor Seth MacFarlane, writer Alec Sulkin and actor Mark Wahlberg. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character issues, visual effects, sets and locations, cast and performances, gags and references, music, and a few other areas.

Overall, this seems like a competent but not great commentary. As one might expect, it veers toward a jokey tone, though that doesn’t overwhelm, so we still get a fair amount of information. Though we don’t find a fascinating track, the commentary delivers enough mirth and material to make it worthwhile.

(Note that Wahlberg doesn’t stick around for the entire commentary. Actually, he leaves pretty early; Wahlberg departs at the 25:30 point.)

15 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 14 minutes, 54 seconds. Obviously, these tend to be on the brief side and favor secondary characters. The first three look at the 1985 segments, while a few more focus on John and Lori’s co-workers. Donny gets a little more time, and we see a lot more of the Lori/Rex relationship. Those elements are interesting but definitely not essential to the movie; indeed, if they’d made the flick, they would’ve taken us away from John and/or Ted for too long.

Other than the three Lori/Rex pieces, the most substantial scene with a lead character shows John’s high behavior at Ted’s party. This presents some funny material – more amusing than much of what made the final cut – and also provides a plot point related to John’s job. I’m surprised none of this ended up in the extended version of the film, as it’s pretty good.

Next we find a collection of Alternate Takes. These go for 10 minutes, 32 seconds and show the expected variations of gags. The vast majority of these come from Ted/MacFarlane, though Rex/Joel McHale or John/Wahlberg also get some moments. Expect inconsistent but occasionally amusing material.

Within the Gag Reel, we locate a six-minute, 24-second piece. It delivers many of the usual goofs and giggles, though it also throws in some alternate lines. That makes it more interesting than most of its ilk.

Ted: The Making Of lasts 24 minutes, 42 seconds and features comments from MacFarlane, Wahlberg, producers Jason Clark, John Jacobs and Scott Stuber, animation supervisor James W. Brown, visual effects supervisors Blair Clark and Scott Liedtka, art director Aharon Bourland, visual effects producer Jenny Fulle, editor Jeff Freeman, CG supervisor Avi Goodman, and actors Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, and Jessica Barth. The show looks at Ted’s design and bringing him to life on-screen, character/story issues, cast and performances, and MacFarlane’s impact on the production.

Though it touches on the other topics mentioned, issues related to the creation/execution of Ted dominate. That’s fine with me, as we get a nice hands-on look at the effects/acting processes. MacFarlane touches on these in the commentary, but the addition of visuals adds a lot to our understanding. Expect a fun, informative program.

Under Teddy Bear Scuffle, we view a five-minute, 38-second featurette. It offers notes from MacFarlane, Wahlberg, Liedtka, Brown, Clark, Stuber, and Freeman. “Scuffle” follows the choreography and filming of the Ted/John fight scene. It’s a good extension to “Making of” and provides another nice take on the shoot.

The disc opens with ads for Death Race 3, Dead in Tombstone, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, Hit and Run, The Bourne Legacy, Savages and Bring It On: The Musical. No trailer for Ted pops up here.

A second disc offers a DVD Copy of Ted. This offers a standard retail version of the film, so it comes with both the theatrical and unrated cuts, the commentary, and a few other elements.

Ted comes with a fun premise but inconsistent execution. It mixes clever gags with cheap jokes to offer a tremendously up and down comedic experience. The Blu-ray provides generally good picture and audio along with a fairly useful batch of bonus materials. Ted will probably delight Seth MacFarlane fans but it seems less likely to win over new converts.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5333 Stars Number of Votes: 15
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main